STAND YOUR GROUND… STOP & FRISK… JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE are all moniker-like terms that express an “open season” on Black Males in the USA, cure not unlike the reign of terror during the Jim Crow Era when lynching was a common-place occurrence, viagra and there was no such thing as prosecution of a crime or even an acknowledgement that a crime had been committed. We have seductively been duped into believing that “things have changed” in America because we have a Black man in the White House. If anything, drugs the recalcitrance and outright rebellion in the U.S. Congress should assure everyone that we have not come as far as we may want to believe we have.
The GOP leaders (white males) gathered together in secret clandestine meetings on the night before President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 to collude, conspire, and comply with a plan to destroy his presidency and deny him any type or suggestion of success as the nation’s First Black President, the first non-white President. In fact, many of them did not want to concede that he WAS the President at all. His first term in office was dogged by the incessant noise from the right that he was not even a “real” citizen of the U.S. and, therefore, could not possibly BE its President. To this day, there are those of the birthers’ persuasion that persist in promoting that ideology. The birthers are a movement within the Republican Party itself, and the established leadership of that party have, to date, refused to repudiate their non-stop perpetuation of the mythology of the President’s birth and de-legitimization of his Presidency. Unbelievable and so pathetic, and yet it is the country in which we live. It is the burden we bear as a land where we fight for the very freedom of expression and belief that spawn outrageous and racially-tinged hatred and violence such as the type we see exhibited under the cloak of “politics”, as well as the type we see disguised as Law Enforcement or 2nd Amendment Rights.
This past week’s conviction of Theodore Wafer, who shot and killed 19 year-old Renisha McBride, when she knocked on his door in the middle of the night to ask for help after she was in a car accident, gives us a small ray of hope in what historically has been an imbalanced system of justice. Wafer was found guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter and faces life in prison. We shall see what happens after the sentencing. He will be eligible for parole.
The recent gang attack and slaughter of Eric Gardner by the NYPD was ultimately declared a homicide. Gardner was publicly choked to death in broad daylight in front of a crowd gathered around, not unlike the public lynching that was a common practice throughout U.S. history, particularly escalating post Civil War and during the Jim Crow Era. Gardner was surrounded and rendered defenseless by a gang of police officers when the only threat he was demonstrating was being a large Black man. He was unarmed and never threatened or, in anyway, retaliated against the police. Just like a noose around his neck, the chokehold squeezed the life out of him in the public square as if it was a natural course of action in the eradication of a problem or public nuisance. Even though Gardner’s death has been ruled a homicide, no charges have been filed at this time. #Howmanymore?
Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Ph.D.
Founder and Artistic Director
The Conciliation Project and
Virginia Commonwealth University
Up Next Week: How Crazy Is Fighting for PEACE?