Cooler heads must prevail

Looking at the news this morning, I felt sick to my stomach.  I was hoping that cooler heads would prevail in Ferguson, MO over the weekend, but my hopes were dashed at 7am this morning while watching ABC News this morning.

I understand the anger and resentment that’s built up in the Black community over these type of incidents.  I also understand the urge to lash out in anger over the killing of another unarmed Black kid.  As a community, we can’t tear down our community any and every time we think we’re wronged.  Instead of fighting the power, we must work to become the power.  Use these instances to form networks to enhance the quality of life in the hood.  Don’t allow anger to tear things down, channel that anger to build things up to keep this from happening again.  Cooler heads must prevail.

I know the NAACP is going to get involved with protesting things, but cool heads need to lead those protests.  Don’t allow anger or angry people to hijack those peaceful protests and give the media and skeptical America something to point at and call us animals.  Don’t give them that victory over us.  If Black America wants to be taken seriously, then we have to act seriously.  That means policing the actions of those within our own community.  One bad apple can spoil the bunch, and we know that when one Black person acts bad, there are some that will use the actions of one to paint us all.  We can’t let that happen anymore.  Cooler heads must prevail.

I know that Al Sharpton will get involved with protests and such, but we have to allow cool heads to handle things.  Brother Al, I love you to death for what you try to do, but sometimes your mere presence is enough to inflame tensions and change the focus of the situation.  I know that’s not your intent or your goal, but that’s just real life America.  There are some who will paint this as something negative simply because you’re involved.  If that becomes the case, as it likely will, my suggestion would be to back away and allow the next generation of fighters to handle this one to gain experience.  If necessary, guide the youth from the background to help ensure justice is served, but don’t get out front if that’s going to keep justice from happening.  Cooler heads must prevail.

Black America, it’s on us to build up our communities and stop these incidents from happening.  Channel your anger, sadness, or whatever feelings you have into something positive.  We can’t allow the killing of innocent people any more than we can allow others to paint our kids as “dangerous thugs”.  I find it sickening in America that a group of people can point loaded weapons at police officers and be considered patriots for doing that while my folks can take a picture throwing up a peace sign, of all things, and be labeled dangerous thugs or gang bangers and shot unarmed while posing no threat.  Cooler heads must prevail.

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5 thoughts on “Cooler heads must prevail

  1. Brosephus, I can’t imagine how you must feel, looking at this. 😦

    I feel that there are probably some Americans — most, if not all of them sharing my skin color — who will *never* look at these sorts of actions as cries of frustration, anger and outrage by wronged people, but instead as *justification* for the kind of outrageous action that sparked the protest in the first place. Those people, I’m afraid, will never be convinced that black Americans have legitimate complaints and grievances.

    And it just tears me up, because as far as I can see, that means one of two things:

    1) Those Americans who won’t accept that black America’s got legitimate complaints have already written off black America in the first place

    or

    2) Those Americans who won’t accept that black America’s got legitimate complaints *just don’t care* about fairness and equality — so long as they’ve got theirs, screw the rest of us.

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    • Joe

      I’m completely torn on this one, and I don’t foresee a positive outcome for all when everything is said and done.

      I know the feeling of anger and resentment that others are feeling. I’ve been stopped for driving while Black. I was even pulled over in a 1977 Ford so the officers could see if it matched a 1983 Ford that was on their stolen car hotlist. Being a car guy, there’s no way I’d confuse any car from the 1970s for one from the 80s, but when a cop walks up on you with his hand on his gun, you don’t question anything if you want to live.

      I also know the use of force and how it applies and changes depending on the situation. Fighting with an officer and reaching for his gun is a great way to get an interview with St. Peter. However, running away unarmed is not a deadly force situation if that person is not a threat to the officer or others.

      What hurts the most, however, is how quickly the invectives are tossed around. There’s nothing like hearing people being referred to as animals. Anytime I read or hear that, my mind jumps back to the time when I would have been killed for just looking at a White person the wrong way. You would think that mindset would have died out by now, but I guess some things live on. The easiest way to absolve guilt over killing someone is to dehumanize them, and I see huge swaths of America being dehumanized.

      There are some legitimate complaints that Black America needs to have heard. At the same time, there are some things that Black America need to address within itself to help our cause. For the time being, it seems as though we’re stuck in this infernal loop of mistrust and anger. Until people decide to end it, things won’t change.

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      • Brosephus —

        Your fourth paragraph really hit home for me, especially the part about dehumanizing people in order to make it easier to dismiss, ignore and kill them. I’m of Eastern European heritage, and my paternal family (though also having roots in Russia, Ukraine and Hungary) mostly identifies as Polish. So when I think of people being dehumanized and labeled animals, I think back to things like the Holocaust and the Warsaw Uprising. But was it *all* Germans who treated Jews, Poles, Roma and other minority groups so badly? Of course not. That said, it was the reticence of good-willed and good-hearted Germans to push back against the racist excesses of the Nazis that helped that monstrous regime to come to power in the first place.

        I’ve told my wife many times over the 20 years we’ve been together: ‘there’s nothing lacking within the German people that somehow made it possible for monsters to come to power there, and there’s nothing so good or magical about the American people that the same thing couldn’t happen to us.’

        All it takes is for enough of us — a critical mass of us — to quietly accept outrageous injustices.

        ***

        Now, then, it’s time for an upbeat anti-racist tale. 🙂

        Back in 2000, my wife and I were vacationing in New England, and we took a day trip to New York City. As we left the Midtown kosher deli where we had lunch, it was starting to rain. We saw a well-dressed young African-American man with a briefcase who was hailing cabs, yet none would stop for him. He looked like a young professional who was either just starting his career or was possibly on his way to a job interview. My wife gestured at the man and gave me a look that said ‘can we help this guy out?’

        So I stepped to the curb and said ‘let me take care of this’ to the young fellow. He obligingly stepped back, whereupon I raised my hand and within 30 seconds a cab screeched to a stop in front of us. So I opened the cab’s door for the fellow and wished him a good day as he thanked me profusely.

        The cab driver gave me a glare that clearly expressed something I shouldn’t repeat. But the young professional fellow got his cab. Hope you aced the job interview, guy. 😀

        Moral of the story: make racism work FOR you.

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        • The dehumanization of people has preceded many mass tragedies throughout history. It happened with First Nation members here in North America. It happened during slavery, and it happened during the Holocaust. Just as you stated, it doesn’t take a lot of people for this to happen, it only takes a critical number of people to remain silent about it.

          I love the cab story. I’ve never experienced that first hand, but I have talked with numerous others who have either witnessed it or was that victim.

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  2. You called it, Bro. The Reverend Al is on it today, demanding the police release the name of the officer.

    Myself, I think they ought to very publicly import a small task force of officers from other cities to conduct the investigation. Fly in one from Seattle, one from Chicago, one from New York, one from Houston, one from Miami, let’s say. Three black, two white. Different ages. Give the city a reason to believe the investigation will be impartial.

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