Racism in America, not just MS

Racism in America, not just MS

The inspiration for this post started with this article.  A few days ago, a friend of mine from Greenwood texted me to tell me there had been a lynching in her hometown.  A couple of days later, the article came out suggesting it was a suicide.

In the words of Ed Lover, C’MON SON, get the eff outta here with that bs.  Do you seriously want me to believe that?

The other issue I have with this article is that there are NO comments.  Now, I am a dedicated comment reader because comments can really paint the picture of who is living in this country and how they see the world.  I’ve winced a many day at comments that I’ve read on an array of topics, so I was prepared to read some on this one, but… Crickets.  What’s up with that?

Let’s call a spade a spade.  This is yet another example of hatred and racism in this country.  In 2010, the fact that someone could be lynched is a travesty.  And the fact that it hasn’t hit all the major news outlets yet is another.  But, I must admit, a small part of me is glad it hasn’t.  Wanna know why?

I get tired of the perpetuation of the negative stereotype of my home state.  I started this group on Facebook and am very happy to see that there are over 13,000 members in it.  Why?  Because so many people, outside of the state and even in the state, think that MS is the hub of all evil in the country and that nothing good comes from it.  Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, but still.  I’ve heard people from all across the Bible Belt give MS grief as if their states don’t come with their own transgressions.  If you don’t know much about Mississippi and all of its contributions, you should browse this site for a few minutes.

Now, let’s be clear.  I do not for one second believe that Mississippi doesn’t have its problems or that it’s a perfect place.  And I don’t need another lesson on Mississippi history.  I got it along with southern history, American history, and Black history.  I just want to intimate that racism and the brutal killings of our black men is a NATIONAL problem.  Oscar Grant being shot in the back while unarmed is just as horrible as this poor man who was walking through the wrong neighborhood and somehow (since it could be self-inflicted <heavy sarcasm>) ended up hanging from a rope in a tree.  However, no one says that California is a hotbed for racism.  Sean Bell being gunned down by the police before his wedding?  Yep, not cool.  But no one blames it on the fact that he was in New York.

How about the man who was shot in the head and dragged by a car in South Carolina?  Are you getting my drift?

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way.  I want to know who out there cares.  What’s going to happen?  What is the answer?  How can we stop all this violence and hatred?  Will people be marching to the Mississippi Delta?  Or will this slide under the radar like many other issues?  We as Americans really need to address this and while we’re at it address the disproportionate number of black men in prison and what’s wrong with our system.  We can’t just sit around and wonder when the next brutal “accidental” murder will occur.  It’s time out for thinking that if we cover our eyes, not only will we not see it, but it’ll stop happening.  We need to wake up and see that it doesn’t just affect the families of the victims–it affects us all.  So let’s get to work.

Injustice – Once Again

Injustice – Once Again

The verdict of the Johannes Mehserle trial came in.  He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.  Guilty – yes.  Involuntary manslaughter – no.

For those of you who may not know, Johannes Mehserle is a former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer who shot Oscar Grant in the back while lying face-down on the Oakland subway platform.  How is that involuntary?  Where is the justice?  Did the jury really believe this trained police officer’s story that he thought he had pulled his taser?  Even if it was a mistake (which I don’t buy), why would he have even needed a taser?

At some point, police brutality and misconduct needs to be addressed.  I firmly believe that police officers should live in the communities they protect and serve.  They should be community stakeholders and invested in the wellbeing of the communities.  They should not be people who react and respond out of malice or even fear because they aren’t in tune with those areas.

Now I don’t know all the circumstances surrounding Mehserle and his employment with BART.  I do know, however, that it’s a downright shame that a police officer can be caught on video shooting an unarmed man who is lying face-down on the floor in the back and not be charged or convicted of murder. This crime was indeed NOT involuntary.  It was reckless, unnecessary, and senseless.

I hope that in the aftermath of the Mehserle verdict, the riots cease and that community leaders, along with community members, start really considering strategic implementation of efforts to prevent such travesties.  We have to protect, not destroy, our communities. Reactionary, unproductive violence is definitely not the answer.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21