In today’s racist America, simply the condition of being black can land you in jail, or worse, get you killed.
Dangerous times for young blacks
If Trayvon Martin had been white and not black he would be with us today. Instead, the mere fact of his skin color got him killed by a racist punk, George Zimmerman. Moreover, in racist Florida, Zimmerman was able to walk free, acquitted of the heinous crime he committed. Conversely, had Zimmerman been black and Martin white, he would not be walking the streets today. He would be in prison for life or sitting on death row.
In this “land of the free,” young African American males between 18 and 34 years old are six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. This is even though the crime rate among blacks and whites is virtually equal.
Brown was just one of three blacks killed by white cops last week
On Wednesday, August 13, 2013, a 22-year old black man, John Crawford, picked up a BB gun from a Wal-Mart toy aisle – a variable pump air rifle made to look like a real gun. Someone called the cops. Johnson was on the phone with his girlfriend at the time, and she heard him being confronted by the cops. She said she heard Johnson say “It’s not real,” and then she heard the police command: “Get on the ground” just before the gunshots. “I could hear him just crying and screaming,” she said. “I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”
Monday night, August 11, 2013, police in Los Angeles shot and killed Ezell Ford, 25, a black man known to have a mental disability. Details are sketchy, except that several dozen witnesses all attest to the fact that Ford was lying on the ground and posing no threat to anyone when he was shot. He died after being transported to a hospital.
An epidemic of cops killing black youths
Outside of the Ku Klux Klan, one can arguably find no other institution rife with as much racism as that which exists within suburban police departments. I happen to live in the Grass Valley – Nevada City area of Nevada County, California. Nevada County is the whitest of all the fifty-eight counties in our state.
Our son John is the lead guitarist for a rock band that is very popular locally. Last year, the members of his band invited another band, from Reno, Nevada, to come and perform along with them at a local venue. All of the members of the band from Reno are Latino, and unfortunately, they were stopped and harassed by the Nevada City police department on their way into town, and they were stopped and harassed again by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department on their way out of town. On both occasions the cops wanted to know what they were doing here, implying that they had no business being in this area.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that young people of color have to deal with regularly in this country.