Black Lives Matter! How Did We Get Here? How Do We Move On From Here?
Last week Americans, immigrants, and other residents living within the United States from all works of life celebrated and/or traveled for the July 4th Independence Day holiday. This writer also journeyed to the Great smoky mountain of Tennessee to provide our family with some different dosage of Americana.
Our road trip took us to the home of Westgate cabin resorts, lush mountains, and the lands where Dolly Parton aka Dollywood reigns supreme. As we traveled we disengaged from the mainstream media and social networks but where captivated by the sights of confederate flags on hill tops and open-bed trucks which dotted the Tennessee landscape, though most of the folks we encountered were friendly.
However, as folks were busy going about with their mini vacations and enjoying the fireworks, three incidents occurred that might come to define the United States in the long-term. On Tuesday In Baton Rouge, Louisiana Mr. Alton Sterling was gunned down at pointblank range by police officers who had already subdued him physically; on Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota Mr. Philando Castile was also murder by an overzealous supposedly peace officer in full view of his family; on Thursday in Dallas, Texas Mr. Micah Johnson a Pentagon training soldier decided to take matters into his hands by killing police officers; and on Friday putting his life on the line which the Dallas Police department took with the assistance of a bomb programmed robotic device.
Despite these recent chronologies of events the US mainstream media pretends to be perplexed by the deluge of currencies. They are fascinated by the questions of how did we get here and/or how did this happen. On the other hand, President Barack Obama is trying to find out how we can move on from here. His questions are framed as though he has not had the front seat to these issues since the beginning of his presidency about 8years ago.
Though, President Obama made sure to telegraph his decision to visit Dallas, Texas from Poland and Belgium during his visit to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting and European Union discussions. While espousing for folks to be patient and rational during these difficult times, our Commander in Chief decided to pick sides by his actions. He supported the police and attended the funeral services for the slayed officers in Dallas. Meanwhile there is neither word from the White House about actually mourning with the Mr. Alton Sterling family in Louisiana nor with the Mr. Philando Castile family in Minnesota.
Ironically, Mr. Obama was not in Europe to assure the black players on the Portuguese and French teams that just concluded the European football championships on Sunday June 10th that their lives matter. He was there to use American resources that should be used at home to resolve the economic hardships that have precipitated the gulf between African American and European American to wedge another meaningless gulf in Europe. The administration wants to use American dollars and soldiers just like Mr. Micah Johnson to foster the divide between Russia and the rest of Europe in the renewed cold-war geopolitical ploy.
Hence, a definite and symbolic statement by the Obama administration that Black Lives do not really Matter. The US national mass media and Mr. Obama seem to be under the delusion that the incident in Dallas was worse than those in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights. There is a failure in leadership and denial in the narrative of events. Mr. Micah Johnson a heroic veteran of the Afghanistan war like the US media and government normally brands soldiers would have never shot anyone in Dallas if not for the senseless police murders in Louisiana and Minnesota. The reality is that Mr. Johnson used his government training to act against the tyranny of the state. In his mind, he took the rational decision to attack government sanctioned domestic enemies that have decided to wage open war against African Americans, especially since the beginning of the Obama presidency.
Aside from the bold declaration last week that European Lives do Matter, the first African American president made sure to stress the particularities of the importance of lives in the United Kingdom, especially after their vote to quit the European Union. President Obama showed more concern for the Brits than he has shown for the African Americans that have been systemically murdered throughout the United States by government sanctioned extrajudicial executions. The United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch usually campaign against these types of killings that have been normalized in the United States with no room for adequate justice.
How did we get here is the question that have dominate the US news coverage. We got here because African Americans including Mr. Micah Johnson are fed up with the con and tokenism that have come to exemplify the US government responses to their unique issues. Within the last 4years from Florida with the execution of Trayvon Martin; to Ferguson with the broad day light murder of Michael Brown; and to Ohio with the police lynching of our baby Tamir Rice to mention a few; we find the United States justice system guilty of massacre and gross negligence towards African American Lives. The system is setup to justify the criminality of law enforcement personnel that murder African Americans with reckless impunity.
Interestingly, these situations occurred because conservatives were able to cow President Obama into taciturnity. They were able to define a corporate Democrat like Obama as the progressive love child of Malcolm X and Nina Simone when we all know that it is not the case. We got the situation in Dallas because the political class did not heed the warnings of the Black Live Matter activists. Instead they were arrested and blamed for the same problem of racism that have saddled this nation from the very beginning. Some among us made a determination to cling on to our white privileges and European centered superiority to the detriment of the nation and common good.
Accordingly, the same media types that were hysterical about the amount of weapons that Mr. Micah Johnson possessed were advocates for the second amendment and the possession of arms by mainly white men. They romanticized the National Rifle Association (NRA) and promoted the need for Americans and anybody in the US to abide by the “all you can buy/have” gun actuality. They supported the bombastic police unions and demonized all other unions. The police unions stood tall as the bullhorn to defend all killings of non-Caucasians by police in the guise of fear and insecurity. We got here because so-called reasonable Americans like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani equates the killings within some improvised African American communities to the state sanctioned murders by sworn government officials.
Relatively, we can move forward when the American federal, state, and local governments resolve not to criminalize African bodies whereas making the conscious polity decisions to invest in them. Instead of rushing to spend monies in Europe thereby continuing the perpetuate war policies of the Bush and Obama administrations, America needs to relocate her treasures inward. President Obama needs to explore ways of using his executive powers to ensure that our children and parents are not slaughtered normatively by government agencies such as the police and other law enforcement agencies. When rear incidents then happen that results in the deaths of innocent people, the culprits should be investigate by independent organizations and prosecuted by independent attorneys.
Consequently, the domestic and foreign policies need to be inclined towards positive changes because anything less would be considered pandering. The US needs to stop exporting instruments of wars, repression, and discord around the globe which are having very protracted homeland effects. For example, the founder of Black Water Mr. Erik Prince the notorious warmonger who made multi-millions through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is now causing more mayhem throughout West Africa. Mr. Prince remains under the US payroll while Mr. Micah Johnson an Afghanistan veteran could not find a viable job opportunity even within the various police departments in Texas. Why did it take the bombing of Mr. Johnson and the agitations of the Black Live Matter movement for Mr. David Brown (Dallas police Chief) to put out an open call of employment for African Americans?
We can only overcome when we stop making excuses for corrupt police officers, using best practices to fight against the blue walls of silence, and ending the cavalier killings of so-called minorities by European, African, Asian, and Hispanic police officers in the US. It is irrational to expect citizens to sheepishly respect the authorities who literally have blood on their hands and oversee a legal criminal enterprise that is devoid of justice but insists on peace and our subjugation. The United States government has no moral, legal, and ethical bases to insist on law and order when the society has different justice standards which depend on racism and classism.
Nnamdi F. Akwada, LGSW is a Social Justice Activist