Archive for August, 2014

Before I go into a full rant, let me begin by saying that I am fully aware that dundaheadedness (nimrod in US English) aka mumuishness is not limited to any particular ethnic group or type of person.  After you travel the world enough you just wonder about the human species sometimes.  In addition, oppression of the minority by the majority is not unique to the US, it is the result of obliviousness combined with herd mentality.  In any country, under represented populations face an uphill battle in terms of rights and just treatment.  It is the responsibility of the majority population to take safety precautions that ensure the rights of all are protected and upheld in the same manner as their own rights.

I believe in the 1st amendment and freedom of expression.  However, I do not believe that this equates to a free pass or the ability to justify wrong doing as self-defense and then decry that others have no right to be indignant.  There is no denying that police work is highly stressful and dangerous.  In this country, liberal gun policies exacerbate the risk.  In 2012, in Chicago alone, homicides already exceeded the number of dead troops in Afghanistan meaning it was literally safer to live in a war zone on the other side of the planet.  Police see these statistics on a daily basis and it would be foolish to expect them not to be apprehensive when out on the streets.  HOWEVER, it is also true that there are statistics to show excessive use of police force is not isolated to the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, MO.  By one account, US police have killed over 5,000 civilians since 9/11 and those dead are disproportionately Black and Latino.

Sadly, this is not the only source citing such statistics.  If race were not an issue, one would expect fatalities to mirror the percent distribution of the general population (i.e. if there are more whites, then more whites would be killed).  The opposite has shown to be true.  Black males are killed in the highest numbers. The same is true with victims of police brutality. As a result, it is data, not stereotypes, that lead many of us to outrage in situations like Ferguson.  For the record, people of color are not the only ones aghast with indignation and outrage.  Conscientious Caucasians are raising their voice as well.

With this information, it is absurd to state that the Michael Brown shooting should be examined strictly as a self-defense case and not in the context of racial tension.  This is an attempt at revisionist history and it is unforgivable in this day and age.  The United States may have abolished the legalized genocide commonly known as the slave trade in 1865 (after Cuba, Russia, Moldavia…) but the systemic inequities that flourished under this system have not been abolished.

A story is better than 1,000 words so here is one particularly absurd case:

Black Egyptian, Mustafa Henfy is told he must declare himself white?!?!

So one watches the footage and thinks, come again?  Surely this went by the wayside in the 1960’s.  Think again!  The poor man is fighting this battle in 2012!!!  If racially motivations are never an issue, why would there be a never ending controversy over Egypt’s racial heritage? In a non-biased world, we would just celebrate our unique differences and be thankful we don’t all look or think the same way (plus enjoy each others foods and cultures).  It is an indisputable fact that it is possible to be genetically black AND Egyptian.  It is also a fact that US government data exists proving that race has been used to commit appalling atrocities and is a subject that must be treated with utmost sensitivity.  The fact that Henfy is fighting a battle on this issue is in and of itself evidence of the systemic inequities of oppression that are not buried but rather carried out in thinly veiled misdeeds.

So, for those who say too many of us are are unduly upset, what is most appalling is what has NOT been officially stated by the Ferguson police.  As an example, a proactive and sensitive message after the incident could have looked like this:

A tragedy has just occurred in a police encounter with a young male.  The male is dead and, as police who value human life, we wish to express our deepest and most sincere apologies to the family and friends.  Nothing will bring the young man back.  Rest assured his death is not just a statistic to us.  We have placed the officer involved on desk duty until an internal investigation is complete.  We welcome eyewitness accounts because our goal is to understand the situation in its totality so that we can ensure situations like these do not re-occur.  Again, while sorry is not enough we ask for your patience and temperance.  We remind you that police are humans and not infallible beings.  The officer involved is filled with remorse and regret and will receive counseling.  We will also make community counselors available to the family and community if they so request.  Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Instead, there was riot gear and armed escalation.  How do such actions demonstrate any level of good will?????  Most important, why should such actions be allowed to happen with impunity????


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