Police departments all over the country have opened outright war. It hasn’t been declared but that’s the nature of America’s new, improved racism. Back in the day, rabid dogs like George Wallace and Lincoln Rockwell came right out and said ”Ni**er.” They forthrightly stated that Black life wasn’t worth the breath in folks’ bodies.
Today, politicians silently let courts get away with letting cops off the hook for gunning down, choking to death and otherwise viciously violating our humanity. And those politicians conspicuously include that HNIC sitting in the White House. House Negro In Charge, President Barack Obama trotted Michelle out right here in the Twin Cities not all that long ago to help some White Democrat’s election campaign. But has yet to dispatch so much as one of his official flunkies, much less get up off his behind and go himself, to Ferguson (or anyplace else) and act like something should be done to protect and serve the populace that put his sorry asterisk in office.
Think on this. Seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was killed in a SWAT raid in 2010 by Detroit cop Joseph Weekley, who got away scott clean. In July, New York cop Daniel Pantaleo accosted unarmed Eric Garner — whose offense was peddling loose cigarettes — choked him to death and got away scott clean. Cleveland cop Tim Loehmann fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice last month and there’s no reason to believe he won’t get off scott clean.
There’s more, but, let’s confront the flashpoint. In Missouri, unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by Ferguson cop Darren Wilson, who — say it with me — got off scott clean. Throughout these and other tragedies, all Obama has done is get on the air Nov. 25 with some mealy mouthed, shuck-and-jive call for calm to patronizingly mollify Blacks in Ferguson who have rightfully raised pure hell.
In NYC, enraged protest against police gave way to peaceful civil disobedience, which is laudable. The sadly frightening fact, though, is we are re-living the ’60s. For all the peaceful activism Brother Martin led, it was the violence of Malcolm’s grassroots people in response to Martin’s murder that made this country stop, stand still and act like Black lives count.
Dick Gregory, in 1969, flatly stated, ”Until you make [America] peep up through the muzzle of a gun, she gon’ keep you a ni**er.” Somebody else said that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
The vaunted U.S. of A., spreading democracy around the world, is on the verge of learning all over again what it means to deny the rights of its own citizens to be safe from wholesale slaughter by police. And when all hell again breaks loose, it will have no one to blame but itself.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.