Monthly Archives: February 2016

Opinion: Does the phrase “Stop Shooting Us” Equal “Cop Hater”?

 

Beyoncés-Super-BowlRecently, on Don Lemon’s CNN show, a police representative/spokesman  even had a problem with the graffiti in Beyoncé’s video (Formation) – which says: “Stop shooting us.”  That is now being viewed as a “cop-hating comment”.  How? And why? The plea for police officers to stop shooting and/or killing unarmed African-Americans can in no way be misconstrued to  mean anything other than a plea to please stop. It is not a cop hating slogan. So should African-Americans just accept being shot and killed by police? Of course not. Should they ask police to stop? Of course they should.  The fact is that some are seizing upon every iota of African-Americans who are speaking out against these murders, which includes a backlash against Black Lives Matter movement, also calling that cop-hating.  This is right out of the anti-civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and more notably, the covert attack strategy used by J.Edgar Hoover against the Black Panthers in the 1960’s. Speak up for justice – and suddenly – the speaker becomes a threat against the status quo.  Create a slogan – and suddenly it is deemed to be ‘racist hate speech’. Why is it that some have such a problem with African-Americans insisting that their lives do indeed matter and a simple request to “stop shooting us”?

The video of  ‘Formation’ is a celebration of not only African-American history, but Beyoncé’s own personal history, which includes her ties to New Orleans , with obvious references to hurricane Katrina. The song also references her love of her “negro nose”. The end of the video shows the phrase “Stop Killing Us”. You can view it for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTUDy59K9hQ:

No one yet has seemed to have a problem with Bruno Mars doing the same thing – matching her in color and leather – and with his dancers being dressed like the original and militant hip-hop artists. Apparently a man can make a statement via dress, but a woman cannot. Bruno mars Superbowl 16

The firestorm of controversy stems from the Beyoncé’s half-time performance and has become a social media frenzy. The frenzy, however, was created by Rudy Giuliani, ( is he ever going away?), and a police union saying that police will boycott her concert via refusing to provide security for the event. Beyoncé’s tribute to not only 50 year anniversary of the founding of The Black Panthers but also to Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl appearance, seems to have “offended” some people. Some of her now former fans have called the performance “disgusting”.  In fact, even though Beyoncé’s outfit was a direct replica of  the jacket which Michael Jackson wore during his historic Superbowl performance, they are saying that her outfit was a Black Panther uniform.  However – Huffington Post Style posted side-by-side photos and Beyoncé was also a friend of Michael Jackson.- so there’s that to refute and hopefully diffuse the controversy.michael-jackson-superbowl-performance

However, no such luck with the facts quieting things down. And it is getting even louder with groups such as the Bloods, The Crips, The Polynesian Panthers,The White Panthers, and Louis Farrakhan now offering to provide security for her if the police will not.

PBS has recently aired a documentary about The Black Panther Party of the 1960’s , (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution),  it is both enlightening and heart breaking. And what J.Edgar Hoover did , (as now revealed in de-classified documents), is an outrage. These were kids aged 16-23. The truth is that they were never a group that were out to ‘get’ cops. The Black Panthers defended themselves against outrageous conduct – even having members being shot and killed in their sleep – and in their own defense – they defended their thresholds.

Amazingly, juxtaposed with the heated  debate over gun control with the counter-argument being assertive defense of the 2nd amendment – The Black Panther party gained notice for exercising their rights under the then California law, which permitted open-carry – a law just recently passed in Texas. (No recent governmental outrage, as the Black Panthers experienced, however, regarding  those who recently stood with loaded weapons outside of Muslim temples .) But the Black Panthers were, and continue to be, vilified, for asserting their 2nd amendment rights. The complete name was The Black Panther Party for self-defense. That self-defense included not only the right to bear arms, but free breakfast programs for children, and free medical clinics. Before you judge Beyoncé and what she was doing – first watch the PBS documentary – then read the lyrics to “Formation”, at that point, you will be sufficiently informed enough to make an independent opinion based upon your own information and not based upon the spin from the likes of Rudy Giuliani.

 

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Opinion: Should Bernie Sanders Get The ‘Black’ Vote?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

African-Americans, first of all, are not monolithic, and there are numerous issues other than those based upon race which affect African-Americans. Bernie Sanders should not get the votes of African-Americans, due in large part to his view that racism would be solved by economic equality. That is an absurd and ludicrous response.  Tell that to the African-American doctor who gets pulled over by police for no reason or someone like Chris Rock who has taken to Twitter because of being pulled over by police on so many occasions. It is safe to say that affluent African-Americans and professional African-Americans would be hard pressed to understand exactly what he is talking about. After all, they are doing quite well economically. Sandra Bland was on her way to a new job when she was stopped and harassed by an alleged racist cop and later ended up dead in her cell, as have many other African-American women.  Trayvon Martin was about to enter college.  It is clear that Bernie Sanders has no clue and merely parrots what he has been told by staffers. Sanders is a smart man – and apparently a quick study as to statistics, and saying what Hillary Clinton has been saying since day one, but the statistic quotes sound empty – devoid of any real knowledge as to what is going on in America today.

One of his advisers is former Ohio state senator, Nina Turner. Ms. Turner was initially a supporter of Hillary Clinton, but switched to Sanders. One has to wonder if her switch was due to not having a prominent role in the Clinton campaign, or perhaps she saw him flounder on issues of race and truly wanted to help him. However, her rhetoric is recognizable in Bernie’s comments and sudden knowledge as to issues which impact African-Americans. He is still the ‘new kid on the block‘ and having been the senator from a predominately White constituency he cannot possibly know what he needs to know without help. He would be more credible if indeed he had spoken out on these issues over the years while he has been senator. He has not.  As he is learning, it is clear that he cares, but he has zero experience in dealing with these issues, while Hillary Clinton has been outspoken on these issues for as long as he has been in the senate.

To be clear – Bernie is not a racist. Yes he cares about all of these things – but his speeches and comments are basically repeating everything that Hillary has already said.  Repeating statistics are not enough – African-Americans already know the statistics – they live those statistics every single day. The statistics of lives being ruined because of being railroaded into prison has nothing to do with economics at all – because many of the lives that were ruined were of African-Americans who were living decent lives until they were falsely accused and wrongfully convicted and it had nothing to do with economics. One need only read the public files of the Innocence Project regarding those who have been exonerated of the crime for which they were convicted and did not commit.  True – some could not afford the best attorneys – but the issue is that they should never have been charged in the first place – not what happened after that time.  Being shot in the back eight times while running away has nothing to do with income inequality, but more with the hatred and reckless ,immoral disregard for life of the officer holding the gun.  The learning curve for Sanders is pretty high at this point. And he first has to admit that racism will not be resolved and eradicated  upon economic equality.

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