James Baldwin once said that to be Black in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.
Right now, I’m in that state of rage as I take off my Trans Pride-colored beret and put my black one on to talk about police brutality.
It’s the reason that Colin Kaepernick took a knee for the National Anthem protests. It’s the reason why, when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I say the words “with liberty and justice for some.”
Now we have the disgusting visual of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the back of the neck of native Houstonian George Floyd, who was heard saying the same final “I can’t breathe” words that Eric Garner said five years ago when he was choked to death by a white NYPD officer.
The 46-year-old Floyd played football at Jack Yates High School in Houston’s Third Ward before he moved to Minneapolis several years ago, with the ironic goal of wanting “to be his best self.”
Ever since that malignant orange pustule desecrated the White House in 2017, he has made it clear that he revels in being on the wrong side of race-relations issues.
He has repeatedly called white supremacists after Charlottesville “very fine people.” He has denigrated a long list of Black women, from reporters to members of Congress.
And yes, he has called NFL players like Kaepernick who protest police violence “sons of bitches.”
Back in June 2017, in a Trump speech to the Suffolk County Police Department that was supposed to be about gangs, he encouraged them to be “rough with prisoners.” Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to spin it as a “joke,” but Black people across the U.S. weren’t laughing.
When you, as a Black American, are three times more likely to be killed by police than your white counterparts, you don’t see a damned thing funny about Trump’s statement.
It’s obvious that the bad cops were listening to that speech, and have taken their cues from Orange Foolius.
The last time I checked, it was not a crime to be Black in America. Neither am I (nor any other Black person living in the U.S.) “three-fifths of a person” as stated in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution. That clause was thankfully eviscerated after the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
But the way Black peeps are being gunned down by the police, whether we’re armed or unarmed, makes us wonder if you even see us as human beings.
In 2017, according to the Mapping Police Violence database, there were 1,127 people killed by the police, and 34 percent of them were Black. In 2019, out of the 1,099 people killed, 24 percent of them were Black.
We are only 13 percent of the U.S. population.
It is so out of control right now that the term “cop killer” now refers to the police who are killing the people they are supposed to protect and serve.
When even Stevie Wonder can see the injustice of killer cops being allowed to walk the streets without punishment, I don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that the Black community will take to the streets and express their rage in what Dr. King described as “the language of the unheard.”
So why is this tsunami of Black people being killed by cops happening?
- The historic devaluing of Black lives because of slavery and Jim Crow segregation.
- White police officers being extremely trigger-happy and violent when it comes to Black people, but being meek and deferential when white-supremacist ammosexuals are in their faces, as seen in all the COVID-19 quarantine protests.
- White supremacists infiltrating the ranks of law enforcement, as the FBI tried to warn peeps about 10 years ago.
If we want to fix the problem, here’s what needs to happen:
- Cops must do time for murdering unarmed civilians. That means electing attorney generals and county prosecutors willing to file charges and convict killer cops.
- More transparency and scrutiny when it comes to disciplining problematic officers.
- Establish civilian review boards with the power to back up their rulings.
- Permanently remove cops who have a history of violence or murdering civilians.
- Establish a national database that prevents fired cops from simply moving to the next town and getting another police job.
We know that ain’t happening while Dolt 45 is desecrating the Oval Office. But those suggestions, and many more, are being offered by civil-rights groups, and they need to be expeditiously implemented.
This article appears in the June 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.