Politics

The Unfortunate Case (or lack thereof) of Eric Garner

This past Wednesday, Dec. 3, a Staten Island Grand Jury decided not to indict a white officer in the killing of an unarmed black man named Eric Garner. The entire confrontation was caught on video and the last moments of Garners life can be seen here (WARNING: Disturbing footage). Garner is being accused of selling single-cigarettes (who knew that was a crime?) he asks the officers to stop harassing him as they do everyday, he’s practically pleading them to “just leave me alone.” They go to grab him, he doesn’t fight back, though because he is a man of considerable size a bunch of officers try to take him down to the ground one comes from behind choking him. As the officer is choking him he exclaims 11 times “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” The officer ignores his cries…Garner dies within minutes.

Again, this is all caught on video. Yet, a grand jury couldn’t find it in themselves to at least say “hey, I think this deserves to go to trial.” They aren’t convicting the officer, they aren’t sentencing him–just agreeing that Garner and his family deserve due process at the very least. The fact that they couldn’t come to that decision is sad.

Unfortunately, extrajudicial killing of unarmed black people is not an uncommon occurrence. When saw it with Mike Brown, then recently a 12 year old child by the name of Tamir Rice (we’ll get to that in another post) and now here with Eric Garner. Those are just the most famous cases within the past 3 months. According to a recent study by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, in the United States a black man is killed extrajudicially by officers every 28 hours. That’s a disturbing trend. To make matters worse with the non-indictment of both Darren Wilson in the Mike Brown case and now Eric Garner’s killer, cops kill unarmed African-Americans with impunity.

I’ll grant that in the Michael Brown case there was conflicting witness reports and a likely struggle between the officer and the victim, however, in the Eric Garner case there are no conflicting witness reports, the medical examiner called it “a homicide” and the entire ordeal is caught on video camera. Still, America continues to teach us from Emmett Till to Eric Garner, from lynchings to mass incarceration…that black lives do not matter. In the words of rapstress Tink, “my people shed blood on these acres you had stole, now my people shedding blood on the gravel left in the cold.” We shall never forget, the revolution will not be televised.

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One of My Literary Inspirations: Blogger Abagond

One blogger on WordPress that has inspired me, specifically the content of my chosen blog, is blogger Abagond. His blog was created as just the ramblings of a white collar professional who always had a passion for writing. His blog’s literal catchphrase is “500 words a day on whatever I want,” talk about a man who has a knack for everything

While he says his content is non-specific one thing that he chooses to specialize on are topics regarding race and white supremacy. Mainly black issues, since he himself is a black man, but he also speaks on Asian issues, Hispanic issues, Native American issues, etc. Basically exposing white supremacy’s effect on these different sub-groups. Again, generally.

I remember I first got into his blog because I decided to google sub-Sahara Africa, which I thought as being a racial/racist term. His blog post on it, titled “Is the term sub-Saharan Africa racist,” was one of the top results. I clicked it and fell in love. I always find it funny how people say “black Africans” and relegate black people to “sub-Sahara Africa” as if we have never existed in other parts of the continent, or currently do not exist in the Northern region. Which is demonstrably false. This is the thing that lead me to googling this in the first place. Then his blog post, complete with facts, addressed my very concern and validated it.

I have literally spent countless hours on his blog just reading his post but most of the time is relegated to the comments on his post, some post have over 1,000 comments. The average ones, that I visited at least, have about 150-250 comments. The commenters are generally regular readers of his blogs and they are by far some of the smartest commenters I have ever encountered.

Very aware of everything and on the specific post on sub-Sahara Africa that initially intrigued me there were over 50 comments between two people discussing the biology and genetics of people. Not in simple terms, but words and phrases I have never even heard of, speaking in-depth and with links to journals and studies/research. I was thoroughly impressed at the knowledge of these two people and having been visiting the blog for the past 2 years now, most of the commenters are extremely educated. Then of course you have the typical white racist who comes in to disturb the peace and the commenters take them down effortlessly, without being nasty or rude, just truth and honest and facts.

All in all, Abagond is one of my literary inspirations. For a man that works as some kind of engineer, which I’d imagine takes up a lot of time, he writes and links some of the most meaningful things I have ever read. He was the catalyst for my pan-africanism views and my awakening into a higher consciousness in regards to race, race relations, and white supremacy perpetrated the world over for the past 600 years from colonialism to imperialism to purported moral superiority. I recommend everyone to check out this amazing man and his amazing content on his blog. Fair warning, he has a huge amount of content so tread carefully and utilize the search bar on his blog for whatever you specifically are curious about. Trust me, he has practically everything and even more than you thought you knew. The best thing, for me at least, is to read something that I find interesting then look at his “See Also” which shows other, similar (vaguely sometimes), posts.

U.S. Congressional Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Discusses Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

Adding Context:

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee started off talking about the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. She saw it as a grave injustice and promises she will convene with Congress to have the federal government charge Wilson in the shooting death of the teenager. This outrage lead her to discuss a recent incident that happened in this predominately minority community of Houston, TX.

An elderly business-owner was attacked by a group of youths after simply telling them not to park in his car wash parking lot, because it deters customers and takes up his space for would-be customers. Now, that man is in the hospital in critical condition, hence why she starts off saying that man deserved to live.

The overview of her statement was the fact that we, as a community, need to support our own businesses at all times and one way of supporting those businesses is speaking up when something horrible happens like the case of the elderly man. We cannot tell other people to respect us when in our own communities there is not respect for one another. Of course, we can. That was just a false-dilemma fallacy, when can indefinitely do both, but it seems to lack legitimacy when you want respect and support on the national level when you don’t have nor fight for respect and support on the local level.

 

 

The Farce of Youth Political Classification

A lot of times the political views of people can tell you exactly what you need to know about a person. So, I tried to find out as much as I can about some people, without them knowing, simply by asking what are their political beliefs. As the self-proclaimed Black Advocate, obviously I’m very liberal and fall on the left almost exclusively, as do many people who advocate for social justice and equality across the spectrum. So, seeing this trend of center-right politics among college students was interesting. Though, having took several psychology classes it was clear why exactly that was…

a) First and foremost, this wasn’t a statistically sound experiment. The people weren’t completely random and the pool was entirely too small to even fathom coming to any kind of conclusion.

b) Most of the people saw “liberal” as a nasty word, as it still has a stigma attached to it which is why many liberals choose to go with the word “progressive” in place of “liberal’

b) Some people just wanted to be contrarians and/or simply regurgitate the views of their friends/family

c) Most didn’t have a clue what they thought, so, in wanting to sound intelligent they choose to claim to be moderates/independents so as to not be deemed partisan

All of those things are what you’d expect among younger people. Sitting down talking with these people from anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes it was clear who knew what they were talking about and who was faking the funk. In any case, the past midterm election had the lowest voter turnout since 1942. 1942! The reason? Voter apathy, lack of knowledge, pure ignorance of the electorate? You decide.

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Youth voting in particular was also extremely low. The youth generally have an ambivalence to politics and, quite frankly, they do not have a dog in the fight of politics majority of the times. The laws do not, generally speaking, have to do with them. So, they are generally uninterested and lack participation in the political process.

At the same time, it is well-documented that college has a liberalizing affect on people. The more education you have, the more liberal, and therefore more democratic, you become. So, given that most of the people I spoke to were Freshmen, it is safe to say the tides could readily change. However, the farce of youth political classification still remains. They largely, do not have an idea what they’re talking about. Generally speaking of course. So, take whatever they say with a grain of salt. I know I did.