No Words

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There are just no words. Do you know how hard that is for a writer to say that? What else is there to say that hasn’t already been said? What other line needs to be drawn that hasn’t already been drawn? What other think pieces need to be written?

We can repost, retweet, or reblog things that we see on the internet. I can say Black Lives Matter all day to our respective audiences and it would be preaching to the choir. I can say Black Lives Matter to the other side of that line and it will be taken as anti-cop rhetoric.

So what happens now? There are no more words. We can protest and march but what will that get us? We see how police react. We see how no one listens to anything that makes sense. We can see how the media deflects with stories about emails and presidential conventions. The narrative has changed from “terrorism” to police shootings.

Some would argue that this is same thing.

I just have no words. People have been blocked and unfriended because these are the times we are living in of social media activism. I have blocked people from all stages of my life, grammar school, high school, college, and professional life. Each time, it is the same thing, a blatant disrespect for someone’s life.

I just have no words.

I can list the names of the Black/Latino men and women that have been killed by police this year, or last year, or the year prior. Would that matter? Would that change the minds of people on the other side of the line? Doubtful. So what words can I choose that help?

What words will help to explain that just because I’m pro black does not mean I’m anti cop? I’ve written two books, 203,615 words, and there no just no words for me right now.

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Not Looking Forward to 2016

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I will not let 2015 end without mentioning that there is no justice. In may respects this was a terrible year. As much as I try to live my life and write as much as I can, there are things happening in this country that trouble me.

Black Lives Matter.

I’m not going to describe once again how important it is to keep this going. At this point, you either get it or you don’t. Tamir Rice was 12 and was killed by  police within 2 seconds of seeing him. He was playing with a toy gun and was considered armed and dangerous.

No indictments.

Sandra Bland was a woman pulled over for changing lanes with no turn signal. She was arrested and died in her jail cell for reason unknown.

No indictments.

Remember Walter Scott? Shot in the back by a police officer, that trial will be in 2016. Laquan McDonald? That trial will also be next year. Let’s also not forget Freddie Gray’s killers face a trial too. While these killings got indictments, there is very little hope for actual convictions.

I’m jotting all this down because I think that the whole idea of celebrating a new year is almost disingenuous considering that nothing really is changing. We can march, protest, and create hashtags but it does nothing in the minds of those who truly believe that “all lives matter.”

We have a problem. A huge problem that the father of Quintonio LeGrier can attest to.  The police have to be held accountable for the things they do. Why is that so hard to understand?

How many killings will we see in 2016? I’m sure we cannot predict that but it will be too many. This is the part of next year that I will not be looking forward to. I will not be happy with the new hashtags and the same narrative of black people being killed by police. I will not look forward to the same story of not guilty verdicts and non indictments.

I will not look forward to, once again, bearing witness to what continues to be a dark part of this country’s color blind legacy of allowing police to get away with murder.

I’m not looking forward to this part 2016.

We Have A Perception Problem

Photo Dec 13, 3 40 50 PMToday is the eve of Christmas Eve and as much as I really want to talk about my book and how you should all buy it because it’s on sale, I feel the need to continue to talk about what is going on around me. I find it fascinating that we’re living in a time of sheer division. Before it was about Obamacare, or gun control, or Ebola, or gay marriage, but now it’s about policing and protesting for accountability.

Once again I look at the media and see the dollar signs that sells papers and web clicks. Although I find it to be really interesting that two policeman are killed during a terrorist drill in Brooklyn, I feel bad that people have to lose their lives in order for a discussion to happen or to continue. What I can’t stand is how predictable people are.

The moment that those two police officers were killed I hoped and prayed that it was not going to “linked” to the peaceful protests of a week ago. But, in my gut, I knew that this was going to add fuel to the fire.

It’s shame those cops were killed. It’s also a shame that everyone who stands to gain political capital has taken advantage of that, which means that the sheep who believe everything they read will follow suit. Blaming the protesters for a crazy man’s deed is just as stupid as any police supporter saying we’re blaming all police for the actions of a few bad cops. Which brings us to the real problem… perception is reality.

There’s a real perception problem that is overplayed by the media. There are people who believe, with good reason, that the gangsta lifestyle has been glorified and that these “thugs” want to live that lifestyle (by the way, thug is the new “n” word, think about the that). Sure, you can point to music, movies, and video games for such attitudes but lets think about this for one second. If you’re perceived as person who wont amount to anything and you live in an area where your life means nothing then would you think you had a future? How would you act?

There are also people who believe, with good reason, that bad cops don’t exist. They’re first responders to danger and are sworn to protect and serve. If there’s an incident they respond to that must mean that thugs and criminals are present, which may be true. However, it’s only in the pages of the Batman or in television shows that police do bad things. After all, if Tamir Rice (12 years) had only listened to the police and put down the toy gun he would be alive today.

Maybe that assessment may seem unfair but bad people exist on both sides. What continues to pop up is absolutism. If you’re not with me than you’re against me. If you support Obamacare you’re anti-American. If you’re protesting police brutality then you’re against cops. Why can’t we live in the grey anymore? Why can’t our interests be mutually exclusive?

I know the answer but if I talk about race then I’m a race-baiter or I’m being divisive. We have a perception problem and it will not be fixed until we place the appropriate value on human lives.

If I talk about Mike Brown, someone will say, “he wasn’t innocent.” My response has always been, it doesn’t matter. We’re suppose to have this glorious justice system that can determine that

“Well, he’s this big guy and the cop was afraid so he had to shoot him.” My response has always been, you mean shoot him after he ran? Couldn’t Wilson shoot him in the leg? “Cops are taught to shoot to kill.” Bingo. That’s the problem. Why have a judicial system if that is truly the case?

Again, we have a perception problem because if anyone of us talk about any of these officers in a bad light in terms of history of police brutality, any guesses on the response?

It doesn’t matter they were a cops.

Perception is reality and we need to fix this.

Protect & Serve? I Have Some Answers.

10599415_10101795369337306_5780719047339870187_nI wrote an article for the Huffington Post asking some questions about Police Brutality in this country. After looking at the events in Ferguson last night. I might have some answers to my own questions.

Are we at war? Yes we are. It is very apparent that the lives of Black people are not valued. We have become targets, actually we always were.

Although the real question is what kind of war is it? Are we talking about the war on guns? Are we talking about the war on crime? Or are we talking about the war on drugs? None of the above. We are talking about a war on Black people. A war on the oppressed. There has been a lot of rhetoric over the past year about people wanting to take back their country. There is no other way to express this and don’t think for a second that because we have a Black President that it changes the status quo in the country. The Civil Rights causes in the 1950/60s never went away.

Did we somehow get transported to District 11? Are we now giving up our youth as tribute so that the rest of the country can feel safe? I was being sarcastic when I asked this but it certainly does not seem far from the truth. I’m tired of seeing lists of all the black people that die unnecessarily in the country. I’m tired of seeing police (or people who think they are above the law) get away with atrocities. I’m tired of our people getting criminalized.

Is it normal for law enforcement in Los Angeles to beat a Black woman on the side of the road? The definition of normal is conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. The sad thing is that none of what we are seeing is all that surprising. It is shocking but almost expected because we are used it.

Are we being dehumanized? Absolutely. It’s like an older version of cops and robbers where you don’t really care about the criminal. As long as we’re viewed as animals then we will subjected to this kind of brutal and unrelenting behavior from police officers who are heavily militarized. There is no way this happens in the streets of Apple Valley or The Hamptons. We are seen as less human which makes us easier to kill.

The motto of many police departments across the United States is “Serve and Protect” right? Who is being served and who is being protected? Someone commented on my article saying: Police are not here to protect you. There is no legal obligation for the police to protect you. Isn’t that the damn truth. I knew this already because we will never see these scenes in suburbia. A man can shoot up a theater in Colorado and be given the chance to live his life in jail where he gets three meals a day and be deemed as having mental issues. I can tell you right now, the police are not here to serve or protect us, or as another commenter would put it: Protect the 1% and their possessions and keep the 99% in line, very simple.

Mike Brown. John Crawford. Eric Garner. Marlene Pinnock. Ezell Ford. Dante Parker. Rosan Miller. Denise Stewart.