My initial reaction after seeing the public execution of Oscar Grant was that of disbelief…
Despite all the racism that exists in this great country of ours, I thought we were way past that whole public lynching part, and that racism was simply relegated to private thoughts that were never displayed publicly out of the fear of the repercussions those thoughts may bring…boy was I wrong. Oscar Grant is Sean Bell, he’s Rodney King, he’s Amadou Diallo…the same black man who died at the hands of police, along with the countless others, yet in this age of technological advancement, Oscar Grant stands alone. He stands alone because in one of the aforementioned examples were we allowed to repeatedly view a public execution over and over to our heart’s content via websites like youtube. And with that ability we’re able to witness the sheer brutality used to murder an unarmed man, who was already in a compromising position, hands down, face to the ground, half handcuffed. This is the type of brutality you expect to see in a Middle Eastern country for committing an unforgivable crime, not in our beloved America, and yet it happened right before millions of eyes.
From my viewpoint, it appears that this is an unconscionable act by the police officer who fired the shot. I’ve watched the footage over and over again, searching for answers, only to come to the conclusion that I sincerely don’t believe he fully understood the power of a gun. Its almost as if he was a little kid firing that weapon, and when he realized he had potentially fatally injured another man, he went into some form of withdrawal, some form of disbelief. By no means am I making excuses for this man, I think his actions were cowardly and uncalled for, but I just can’t seem to understand how he couldn’t foresee the impact of his actions before he reacted to whatever forced him to take that action (kinda confusing, lol). There is no justifiable reason that he should’ve been murdered at all, the worst thing that should’ve happened is that these gentlemen should’ve been taken downtown, booked and placed in jail for being ‘vagrants’ as many of the bloggers with no sense of heart seem to be calling them.
I don’t understand how anyone can be so judgmental of another person in death, a wrongful death at that. They’ll justify the criticism by stating that he had a long rap sheet, and committed crimes throughout his life, but does that give a police officer the right to wrongfully murder a father, a son, a brother? So let me guess, if it was Tim Tebow, or some other white man that the media idol worships, and he’s wrongfully murdered by the police, then his family has a right to complain, because he has a squeaky image in the public? That’s complete bullshit. If a prostitute claims that she was raped and she was justifiably raped via evidence, should we not prosecute the individual who raped her just because she had a shady past? This is very unfortunate, because we’re almost conditioned to believe that the term police officer is synonymous with good, and vagrant is synonymous with evil. Therefore in a jury of their peers (surely middle-aged white people) they’ll use that ideology to justify the acquittal of the officer in question.
So what now? Unfortunately, being black in America, I’ve seen this story on repeat, for the duration of my life. Black man in ‘the wrong place at the wrong time’ gets into a confrontation with the police. Police take excessive force and either kill or severely injure black man. Initial outrage by the black media and black people asking for answers. Self investigation by said police department. Police officers acquitted. Do you think this story ends any differently? Perhaps it will, but even live video footage wasn’t enough to indict those officers who brutally beat Rodney King. So the natural reaction as black people is to initially peacefully protest until we hear that these officers are acquitted, we’ll continue to riot, which proves nothing, because most of the time, we’re destroying our own neighborhoods, which just gives the same racist police officers some justification for treating us the way they do, so it’s a lose/lose situation.
Personally, i’m at a loss. This incident, and the Sean Bell incident touched me more than any of the other deaths at the hands of police because i’m actually a fully opinionated adult during the time these incidents occurred, so it allows me to put myself in their shoes. These are black men who were loved by their families, both had young children whom they cared for, defeating the prevalent myth that black males are not providers, and both seemed to be en route to a positive destination in life. Yet, all that was taken away at the hands of men who are supposed to serve and protect. Serve and protect what? Are they protecting their own racist views about the life of a black man not being as valuable as their white counterpart or the fact that its assumed we’ll be dead or in jail, so is this a true societal loss? Granted, there are thousands of great police officers out there, and I apologize because I probably won’t ever highlight the great works that they do, and its because for every five steps you take forward with positive actions, you take ten back with incidents such as this.
Long story short, for those of us who nestled into that crevice of security that we thought we had as a result of having a black president…come out. Shit’s still real out here, a black president will never erase racist beliefs that are instilled since birth and spread throughout the world. As much as I believe in the audacity of hope, and change that Barack promotes, I’m not naive enough to believe that actions such as this won’t continue throughout the duration of his presidency and after his term. By him being black we can put more pressure on him to make these police officers more accountable for their actions, but the election of one man will not change the thoughts and negative stereotypes each officer may carry with him to work each day. As far as what we can do to prevent another innocent life from being lost, I have no clue, if you can’t get justice when you’re unarmed, face down and damn near handcuffed, then when can you get justice? Lady Justice is only blind in one eye, and if you’re a white male police officer who’s murdered a ‘vagrant’ black male, that bitch will tip the scales in your favor.
Please leave your thoughts, I’m more interested in hearing what you have to say about this than any other post.