The Scary Black Man Defense Still Works

I have a black son who is near the age of Michael Brown.

The loss of any life is horrendous and unimaginable for anyone to fully comprehend. I’ve seen and lived through Rodney King. Trayvon Martin. My family before me lived through Medgar Evers. The date on my calendar changes but the story remains the same. A black American is cut down before he is called home by his Creator. It happens time and time again. And I, for one, am more than exhausted and numbed and generally hurt by seeing this. But most of all – I am afraid. I fear that all the hard work that I have done with my greatest partner, my wife, in trying to raise a young black boy towards manhood will be done in by a law enforcers bullet. When I see white laws applied to blacks, I am at least made to pause and wonder if our best efforts are ever going to be enough.

The decision not to indict the policeman on any single charge is more than upsetting. Not because the grand jury found that decision was the only one they could make. But because the law left them no other apparent choice except to release the man back onto the streets with real impunity. Free of any immediate guilt, at least from the law. I am angry that the black brothers and sisters of my nation must once again swallow the bitter pill spilled from a bottle labeled injustice.

As long as any man finds comfort and solace in the law to use the ‘Scary Black Man Defense’, we will never progress as a nation. More will die and none will sleep easy at night

I worry so much that even with the loss of yet another life, we are going to have to hope that the sometimes dysfunctional and often mysterious Federal investigation will bear some fruit that is at least somewhat palatable. It is incomprehensible that a nation built ostensibly on laws would allow any law to put a dead person on trial and allow the killers voice to win the day.

What I’ve Just witnessed is laws born of fear brought to action. I have seen what happens when a police officer is well trained in the culture of fear and he is sent out with fear and loathing in his heart rather than a sense of community policing. Y’know, a fellow I listened to this weekend said said something interesting. He said that he recalls a time when the cop walking his beat was trained to know his community. That the kids in that community knew him and wanted to be like him . That his community that he policed was his own because he lives in it and wanted the best for it. But now, what we see is the police leaving the streets and instead racing by in cars. And after that, they saw fit to place officers in armored vehicles. Then tanks.

Ruby Ridge, anyone?

What I have learned in my short life, is that the farther back you stand from anything, the easier it is to pretend like you are responding appropriately and in an engaged manner. President Bush thought he was doing enough after Katrina in a helicopter fly-over. President Clinton thought the SKUD [sic] missiles were sufficient. That if you stand back far enough from Ferguson MO, close one eye, and squint out of the other, maybe you will talk your way through this and see real change.

Real change never happened except through bloodshed and usually it happens after the victim is bloodied.

Any time you have a world where the law says it is ok for a human being to lay in any street anywhere for any amount of time, there is more than talk that is needed. This dark night is not just wrong, or a tragedy. It is a very real gun shot in the heart of Black America–

and the whole world saw it.

The television has shown me images of what the law will call violence. Violence against police vehicles. Violence against public property. Violence against upturned riot shields. But I know that the real violence was not on display tonight. The real violence was on that terrible day several months ago in a community of Black Americans. The real violence was when the police were taught to use deadly force when an unarmed aggressor is faced.

It truly is time for a change. My President understands why many are angry. How could he not? I certainly do too.

Now what are we going to do about it?

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