We watched our morning newscast the morning after the Ferguson Grand Jury declined to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. We saw what most people expected. During the night, arsonist had set fire to cars and supposedly burned local businesses. One of which was a black woman owned bakery who was burned out. She has since received upwards of 250k in online donations to rebuild her business, proving compassion is alive and well. Others have vowed to rebuild too. As a businessman, I wonder how they will obtain an insurance policy in the same location and how high their premiums will rise. Looters had broken into businesses before they were burned in some cases and carried away much of the stores contents. Network television cameras capture some of the chaos. One black lady remarked in a news conference the next day the sight of her damage done made her cry for the people in the city of Ferguson.
Make no mistake about one fact that is evidently clear whether it’s reported in the news or not. Looters and Arsonist are breaking the law and should be prosecuted for their crimes and specifically for taking advantage of a social calamity and sent to jail. We all know from such past incidents, some of these criminals are just waiting in the wings for any hot spot they can go into, do their thing and get out of town just as fast as they arrived.
It should also be abundantly clear to any person watching who these people represent. Folks should not form an opinion based on any other factors except the incident itself. For your information, as if I had to tell you this, those arsonist and looters are not supporting the struggle of unlawful police actions or any other civil rights issue. I mean…come on…people please? Or as my father would say when he became exasperated with stupidity, Jes…us Christ!
Nevertheless, most conservatives categorize this entire incident in a very few words with their summation being a robber who violently stole from another store was shot by police. Case closed, thug got what was coming to him. How he was shot, witnesses of the same color who say the police officer was wrong don’t matter. They have no credibility when it comes to the word of the police officer, the chief of police, and other so-called witnesses that were not present at the time of the shooting. The fact that there is now a video going around that looks as though Michael may have paid for the cigars doesn’t matter to these people. They have already branded him as a thug. GOP politicians see it as another political wedge issue to deepen the divide in this country.
The case is turned over to the St Louis Prosecutors office. It now becomes his decision to indict or not to indict. Here is a man, who for very obvious reasons that were made public at the time should have recused himself. In order to give himself political cover, he called for a Grand Jury. As predicted, he went into the case not to present a reason to indict but to discourage indictment from start to finish.
Notable personalities in the arts and even the sports broadcasting business have voiced their opinions. People such as ESPN’s Mike Ditka and TNT’s Charles Barkley immediately come to mind. Reporters, editors and news organizations who like to search out opinions similar to their personal beliefs often give these type individuals top billing, print an impressive headline and quote these great philosophers. Not…but they treat them as though they are espousing the gospel.
I don’t know what Charles Barkley is running for in his home state of Phoenix Arizona. Exactly which political office he will run for has been speculated over the last few years. That might explain some of his strange opinions on this and other matters in the national news. This time his fellow analyst, Kenny Smith, also of TNT Basketball Pregame Shows sent an open letter to him posted in the USA today. In short he questions the wisdom of his support for the Ferguson grand jury decision. I take it as Charles just being Charles.
I remember Mike Ditka supported Sara Palin in her brief stint or thought of running for the US presidency in 2012. Speaking of which her comments on the Ferguson issue might be construed as racist or at the very least her chance to take another jab at President Obama. Keep in mind she is also playing to her base of conservative right wingers and those who love Sara Palin. On her website, she posted an image of President Obama she took from Mad World News.com. The posting depicted the presidents picture with a caption as if he is saying, “I will be signing a new executive order replacing the word “Looting” with “undocumented shopping.”
There are some black people, just like any race of people, who stay away from controversy likes it the Ebola plague. They come up with all kinds of reasons why they should not get involved. I had one man tell me that these police know what they are doing and are trained in the right manner. He seemed to think, again like a lot of Americans, these institutions are all working for the good of all Americans. Frankly, I wondered what rock he’d been living under. Then I realized that he didn’t really believe what he was saying, he just didn’t want to become involved. It brought about an excerpt from a Persian Proverb I’d heard. Here, I added its entirety for your perusal. In my view, it is words to live by,
“He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool, shun him; He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child, teach him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep, wake him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise, follow him.”There are more and more people getting involved because as they are saying…”Black lives matter.” Where are the people in the arts? What about the Hip-Hop generation? Surely they have got to see what is going on. And then as if on cue, we heard from P Diddy. A smart and successful businessman, more so than the artist he started out to be, he too has had enough. In a video posted on his Instagram, he stated…
“I can’t take it anymore! It’s Enough, and enough is enough! We as artists, myself included, all have to step up and be better leaders in our communities. It’s a hard burden to bear, but we have been chosen whether we like it or not. We need to do whatever we can in a POSITIVE way, to help unite people of all colors in this injustice! In order to be successful, it is very important that we have a well ORGANIZED, STRATEGIC plan. I truly do not have the right to preach, but I do have the right to speak.” -Excerpt from P Diddy’s comments.
He does so in the aftermath of the New York grand jury who failed to indict the police officer responsible for applying a chokehold on Eric Gardner. The video was clear and at one point you could hear Mr. Gardner pleading to the officers. “I can’t breathe.”
If you are following these recent peaceful demonstrations against these senseless acts against human beings, you will notice the demonstrators represent all colors, creeds and religions of the United States. That alone should tell you all you need to know about this cause.
Some who think that black people are overly sensitive about how whites and others address them may have a point. Just think a moment. You wake up in the morning with a prayer and a thank you to our savior for waking you up. You had a great night with your family and love ones and you are feeling great this morning. You checked your bank balance; your payroll check has been deposited so you have a few errands to run. You get into an over five-year-old auto and it starts up like its saying “where to doc?”
You walk in the grocery store to get a couple of items and you stop off at the Chinese food line. You remember you had problems here so you check to be sure that you are not supposed to be in the line by the deli counter. The clerk assures you that she will wait on you as soon as she helps the next two people in the deli counter line. You are ok with that, at least she told you how it works. So you answer by saying “No problem, I can wait.”
A few minutes later, a white lady appears pushing a cart behind the cooking areas doorway. She turns to tell me and another lady who is also waiting, “I’ll be with you in a moment.” “Okay, I happily replied because I am feeling good and thinking about what I and my wife are going to eat for supper. Haven’t had Chinese in a while.
The little white lady finally returns and begins to wait on me; obviously she knows I was the first in this line. After a little general chit-chat about the weather, she was kind enough to provide a sample of a Chinese breaded style chicken ball. “Okay, I will take that one as an entrée too,” I answered. ”Will that be all Sunshine?” she asked.
Now, I’ve never seen this lady before and she damn well doesn’t know me. For me, as a dark-skinned black man, now I’ve forgotten all those good feelings I had before I arrived at this store. Now I’ve got to deal with this crap. It never fails somebody always remind you of your color when out and about. I heard myself say “ yes.” The lady followed up with by pointing to another lady who had reached the cash register saying “She will ring you up Hon.” I don’t know, maybe the lady was just insensitive to the word. Whichever way she intended it, I let it go. Because I honestly think, she didn’t realize what she said.
My point is that there are certain words you can say to black people that make them question your intention. To be sure, we didn’t make up these trigger words, white folks did. They are words meant to demean, hurt, trivialize and place you in a status that sometimes is one level below one of their pet dogs.
We all know the one word that will make older black folks jump out of their seat trying to hurt the person who used it, especially if it was directed at them. The Hip-Hop generation has tried to make it non-relevant by stating it as a term of endearment. I say it isn’t an endearing term. Unfortunately, you can’t just take a word like that and change its meaning for whatever reason. There is too much history behind that word, and none of it garners good memories.
You can say I am too sensitive and I would agree. I know why. It’s because I live in a country where certain words are used to stereotype me in ways that have nothing to do with who I am. I love being black and the black culture period. I am not ashamed of my heritage, or where my folks originated. I am living in my country and will fight to the death for the same. So don’t come at me yelling go back to Africa, or call me un-American. I have the right to be here just like any man or woman in the history of this country. And my people have the same inalienable rights as anyone standing on American soil yesteryear and today. If we feel, there is an injustice being committed upon our young or anyone that looks like me or any American regardless of race. It is our right and duty to do whatever is necessary to change that pattern to effect change in our system. We can and will do this in order to have a system that treats all Americans equal in the eyes of the law and whatever institution in this country services Americans. As I said at the outset, looters and arsonist is not part of this struggle so don’t get it twisted.
Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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