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Est. April 5, 2002
 
           
June 29, 2017 - Issue 705



Angry, Ya’ Think?
 




"A wrongful death at the hands of
law enforcement cements generations
 on the opposite side of police loyalty."


So we’ve now just about reached the mollification point in yet another acquittal of a police officer who has killed a Black man under the cover of law that he feared for his life. That is the most common of defenses for defenseless acts of state-sanctioned violence in America. I’m right in 95% of the cases when I predict that the officer will get off…and you ask, am I angry? I’m angry…ya’ think?

I live and travel in these United States with the constant thought in the back of my mind that no matter how I drive, where I drive or when I drive, I may be the next traffic stop that ends in an invalid (or even valid) traffic stop by a police officer that takes my life. It is a reality that most Black men have, but try to push it as far out of their minds as possible. Who do you know wants to live with the thought of being killed for no good reason? Yet, the appearance of blue lights in the rearview mirror revives the reality of the Black man that, indeed, he could end up on the news.

Such was the case for Philando Castile. This really was a case of “he ain’t even do noufin’!” Officer Yanez tells Mr. Castile his brake light is out, and Mr. Castile hands over his insurance card. During the brief conversation, Mr. Castile calmly tells Officer Yanez, “Sir, I have to tell you I do have a firearm on me.” I can’t think of too many other socially responsible actions one can take in situations like these. For sure, when I was stopped by police and asked if I had a weapon on me, I definitely said “No.” Maybe not socially responsible, but I’m alive today. Funny how that happens?

David A. Klinger, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and a former Los Angeles police officer said, “That’s where the officer has to freeze it and get everything to stop. Oh, there’s a gun involved now. Let’s reframe the situation and make it safe for everybody.”

You know, for some of the most zealous gun enthusiasts in the world, isn’t it funny how a gun in the hand of a Black man changes their state of bravery? It should also be strange that from our youth, we’re tossed on one side of the proverbial Blue Line and held there until the social trauma of these United States changes it, either for better or for worse.

Where we land dictates whether we take law enforcement at their word or whether we’ll hold the eye of a cynic. A wrongful death at the hands of law enforcement cements generations on the opposite side of police loyalty. Human lives are the determinate factor and if people on one side of that Blue Line value humans who aren’t them as “less than,” then animosity is the expected result. I am of the mind that this is just how the dominant class wants it. But we still try to co-exist with devils. Death is one’s only way out.

You go into the head of the driver, and he’s apparently trying to be honest and straightforward. He was probably thinking, ‘I’ll be a good guy and show the officer my carry card, and this will all be over.’ What was happening in the officer’s mind was different. Maybe the officer thought he was going for the gun,” said Geoffrey P. Alpert, professor at the University of South Carolina who studies high-risk police activity and police violence. I ask myself why I have to be the one living on maybes?

I am again incensed about not only the shooting and killing of Philando Castile but the verdict in the trial of the officer who committed the fatal act. There are some out there who pose the questions that ought to make all Americans see why Black Americans cannot trust a white socio-political super-structure to deliver a modicum of justice. Paul Butler, law professor at Georgetown University and former federal prosecutor said this, “The victim did everything right, everything he was supposed to do. The victim was very respectful, very polite, letting the officer know what he was doing. None of that made a difference.”

I wrote a song about this incestuous cycle of injustice three months before Castile was killed. So many Black people have walked into the lyrics of my composition:

(the song opens with the voices of several state prosecutors refusing to bring charges against officers who have shot & killed Black men)


Don’t matter how you plug your ears - you live in a country steeped in fear;

Keepin’ you on the bottom of the ladder - that’s the shit only makes me madder;

Police show up then pull out the mace - and you wonder why I punch cops in the face?

Cops show up all hyped on ‘roids - and you wonder why I roll wit’ my boys?


I’m angry, can’t you tell - my life’s been a livin’ hell;

Growed up in the land o’ the free-All else in America’s free ‘cept me…

My boiling point’s on the brink - I found the food chain’s missing link;

So Imma get mine, don’t ya blink - am I angry…ya think? (Ahh…)


I’ve been accused of playing race - well, I’m guilty, ain’t no debate…

Whether voting, jobs or my choice of a mate - a history of race & gender hate;

prosecutors sabotage a case - All in America involves race!

Whether unemployment or housing - it all is hinged on the color of my face…


I’m angry, can’t you tell - my life’s been a livin’ hell;

Growed up in the land o’ the free-All else in America’s free ‘cept me…

My boiling point’s on the brink - I found the food chain’s missing link;

So Imma get mine, don’t ya blink - am I angry…ya think? (Ahh…)


You talkin’ ‘bout some “Be all you can be” - and you [email protected]#$f%#@”s won’t even hire me!

When you needed soldiers for the game - they came…in my name

And I handed you my baby boys - to play big bank with your military toys

They got shot up & when they came back - they went back to being America’s Black!


I’m angry, can’t you tell - my life’s been a livin’ hell;

Growed up in the land o’ the free-All else in America’s free ‘cept me…

My boiling point’s on the brink - I found the food chain’s missing link;

So Imma get mine, don’t ya blink - am I angry…ya think? (Ahh…)


I’ve said many times that this country plays the same ol’ record when the shooting of a Black man is under close public scrutiny, let alone, when it’s an obvious violation of the Black man’s civil rights. The same ol’ recording looks like the an 8-step program: Shock, outrage, call for calm, investigation to nowhere, failure to indict, the kumbaya moment, amnesia and finally, back to business - as usual.

I’m sick of it. I’m one of the few Black folk who did not and do not begrudge the young folk who rose up in Baltimore after Freddy Gray’s murder, nor in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s. But one thing for sure, I now put my mouth, my mind and my money behind causes that I believe will be the most effective in this movement of not only resistance, but progress. I implore you to do the same. I’m angry, ya think?


BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Perry Redd, longtime activist & organizer, is the Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere
Seven
that currently owns the FCC license for WOOK-LP 103.1FM/ok103.org. His latest book,
Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1, chronicles his ‘behind bars’ activism that extricated him from a 42-year sentence and is now case law. He is also the author of As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression, Mr. Redd also hosts a radio show, Socially Speaking, from his Washington, DC studio. Tweet him @socialspeaks. Contact Mr. Redd and BC.


 
 

 

 

is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Publisher:
Peter Gamble









Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1
As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression
Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers