The not guilty verdict and acquittal of all charges against George Zimmerman in the case of Trayvon Martin, the decision to not indict Cleveland Police Officers-Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for the murder and the cover up shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and the failure to indict ex-police officer Darren Wilson in the case of Mike Brown, along with other similar cases, have angered many people, largely because most people still feel that “justice” was not served in these cases.
Many believe these cases exhibit the state-sanctioned killings of young African-American men. In many ways, those who are offset by the murders are right. What we can all agree on is that the facts overwhelmingly show that all the mentioned cases are tragedies, without question! Many believe that race played a role in most, if not all, of these judgments. So, what does this demonstrate about our country’s ability ― or lack thereof ― to provide justice for all and protect it’s citizens? Let’s discuss these questions.
Let’s be honest, circumstantially most Black people believe they just don’t have the privileges or immunities of citizenship or due process ― of life, liberty or even equal protection of laws granted to other citizens (they are right in many ways). Within the African-American community, most, when asked, will say that they have never stopped being marginalized, criminalized and convicted for their skin color, beginning during slavery, and lasting into the economic and psychological era of slavery that we now call the new Jim Crow.
Strangely enough, there is a similarity between all these cases, but there are some lingering questions we must ask ourselves. We could ask, “Why would any police routinely be allowed take the life of citizens, time after time, and not abide by their public mandate, which is to ‘serve and protect?’” Today, we have questionable cases like Alton Sterling and others. The police murders keep stocking up, and for the most part, the only change around the country is that we are seeing more tragic cases of police murder everyday.
As a nation, did we fail?
Ultimately, some of these more disturbing questions will be answered by police internal affairs investigators, government officials and civic leaders. Other questions — the deeper, subliminal ones that ask about equality and intolerance — must be answered within our classrooms and our courtrooms. These deeper questions have now gone out from our living rooms and onto our televisions in our homes. Their very existence attests that we, as a black nation, have failed our Trayvon Martins, Mike Browns and our Tamir Rices, as well as all young black men.
Before his highly controversial death at the hands of a white police officer, Michael Brown had graduated from Normandy High School – a school whose academic standards and finances were so poor that it had been declared “unaccredited” by Missouri state education authorities.
During the 2011-2012 school year, 829 young black men and women were meted out one out-of-school suspension by Ferguson-Florissant.
- That’s 8.1 percent of the 10,197 black children attending the district’s schools, according to data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.
- A recent study by the Office for Civil Rights shows that the percentage of young black men suspended from school (as Trayvon Martin was) is far greater than that of their peers of other nationalities.
However, Chief Charles Hurley of the Miami-Dade School Police Department (MDSPD) had implemented a policy in 2010 that reduced the number of criminal reports, manipulating statistics to create the appearance of a reduction in crime within the school system.
Less than two weeks before Martin’s death, the school system commended Chief Hurley for “decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011.”
Another study, by The Sentencing Project, examines vastly disproportionate rates of incarceration for African-American Men. We should be asking ourselves, “Why do these disparities exist?”
Deep rooted victim complexes.
Please Note: Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown both were not just victims of their seemingly racist killers alone. They all are victims of the lopsided school systems that failed them. They are victims of a police force that overwhelmingly assumes first that most young black men are criminals, thugs and near animals ― followed by an outright fear of them.
They are a victims of bad legislation, like the Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, that gives anyone who wills the unfettered right to kill blacks and others if they feel threatened in any way.
They are victims of a certain moral blindness – which means every single black person, in the eyes of a racist, symbolizes a terrible crime from their ugly past, a reminder that their life is a fraud. These racists need to simply own up to their ugly past of slavery and make it right by society, instead of denying, shifting blame, lying, twisting the facts and making black people into these ungodly creatures that they look down on, laugh at and yet, oddly, fear.
This is a failed attempt to be at “peace,” with themselves. This must stop.
The truth will eventually surface.
We need more love in our communities! We need to love and accept our children unconditionally. Regardless of our child’s age, we have to instill feelings of acceptance and self-worth. Teach children, by how you treat them, that they are valuable and worthy of love. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with every choice or interest of your child.Tomorrow, look around your community, your home. Do you have any Trayvon Martins? As an educator, you have the power to stave off feelings of emptiness after another young Mike Brown’s death. Talk to your children about racism ― tell them that Tamir Rice was just an innocent child whose death was motivated by racism.
Question any legislation that endorses police vigilantism. Speak up against police inaction. Then, tell your child that he is protected, first by God, and then you. Afterward, we must champion our children’s rights. Then add a training session to the life lesson for your young men and women about the existence of systematic racism and oppression ― be honest with them, tell them the odds are against them, but they can overcome if they have righteous will and fortitude.
Nothing will fully fill the void created in the lost lives of Tamir, Trayvon and Mike for family, friends and teachers. But Tamir, Trayvon and Mike’s empty desks must become symbols of awareness and change — a sign to our society that the current state of affairs is not acceptable, and we won’t let racists, or anyone else, destroy us and our future without a fight!
Gregg L. Greer a Public Speaker, Minister, Social Activist, Journalist and the Editor of the One World internet journal where this article first appeared. Greer founded Civil Rights Organization-Freedom First International in 2009. If you are interested in interviews from his and others of the brightest minds today, you can email him at email@example.com. For more information go to www.gregglgreer.com