I’m normally not one to post personal thoughts on national or world events. I’m normally not one to be vocal on touchy issues. I rarely engage people with super radical views on life. I’d rather just keep it moving and not cause a ruckus around me.
This way of thinking/life isn’t working much for me anymore.
Today, I learned more information about the Mike Brown tragedy. I am of mixed race – my Mom is Iranian and my Dad is Ethiopian. Outwardly, I look Black. It’s hard to not see myself in those type of situations or feel for Black America at large.
When N.W.A. came onto the rap scene, Hip Hop Nation collectively head-nodded to the protest song “Fuck tha Police.” Of course, police brutality and racial profiling were happening for a long time before the song came out. The kind of inspiration for that song doesn’t come out of thin air. The song hit the nerves of many, including the F.B.I.
Clearly, they were on to something.
“Fuck tha Police” was released in 1988. Twenty-six years later, it has only gotten worse. Travyon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrell, John Crawford, Renisha McBride. And these names are the publicly known names.
When will it stop?
There is a lot to think about here – the militarization of local police forces, race relations between Black people and White people in America (let alone race relations between People of Color and White people), black portrayal in the media, justification of the use of deadly force by police officers. This isn’t a binary issue.
The other part of the thinking equation is to not get distracted by the real issue: the murder of Black people by police (specifically White cops) and having no repercussions. I think Ms. McKenzie does a great job of listing what not to get distracted by.
As for me, I personally think we need major legislation that puts the police force-at-large under some serious accountability. The police can’t properly investigate itself. The police cannot be trusted to take proper action given their track record of incidences. The problem cannot solve itself. We need outside forces to help handle this. I’m conflicted about this issue because on one hand, I believe that a police force can be helpful to society. On the other hand, I wonder if the police can really help me when they have the wherewithal to commit murder and get away with it.
Arthur Chu, former Jeopardy champ, wrote a thought-provoking piece about belonging in America an Asian-American. The idea of this resonated with me. If something like this can happen to an unarmed Black teen (and not someone like James Eagan Holmes), how can I feel like I am a part of this country when my own country sees me as a problem??
I hate to see this as part of my reality. What makes this (unfortunately) worse is that other people are shaping this reality for me. In my eyes, situations like this only contribute to the decline of America. How can it help?
It’s time for me/you/us to speak up. We need to. We have to. We must.
[EDIT 8/14/14: Read this article by the Huffington Post about the arrest of two journalists, one of which comes from HP. Below that is a live timeline of events happening out in Ferguson. A must read to catch a glimpse of the craziness out there.]