As a high school student back in 1999, I made the comment that “if there is ever another Amadou Diallo, then his death would have been in vain”.
In case you have forgotten who Amadou Diallo is, he was a 23-year-old African immigrant who was shot 19 times by plain clothes police officers. Diallo was unarmed at the time of the shooting. All four officers were acquitted after claiming they thought his wallet was actually a gun. However, the family was given a $3 Million dollar wrongful death settlement (but…the officers werent guilty?!) By that I meant that we should be focused on taking real and actionable steps towards bringing a permanent end to both the Police-on-Black violence, and the mindset that allowed 5 armed officers to pump him full of bullets.
That was in 1999.
Then in 2003, Ousmane Zongo was shot in the back. Another unarmed Black man died. Again, NYC awarded $3 million to his family, and the officer that shot him ( Bryan Conroy) did not receive any jail time. That was shortly after Kenneth Walker was shot (unarmed) after Deputy David Glisson stopped him to search for drugs. No drugs were found. Videos show during trial shows “no struggle, just the startling sound of two shots, with surprised officers milling around. Walker lying on the ground unattended for two minutes before officers began first aid attempts.”
Then in 2005, six days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the city’s police department killed two people: seventeen-year-old James Brissette and forty-year-old Ronald Madison. Four other civilians were wounded. All victims were Black and unarmed. Madison, a mentally disabled man, was shot in the back. New Orleans police fabricated a cover-up story for their crime, falsely reporting that seven police officers responded to a police dispatch reporting an officer down, and that at least four people were firing weapons at the officers upon their arrival.
Then in 2006, Sean Bell was killed during his bachelor party. The city settled with Sean Bell’s family for $7 Million. Joe Guzman, one of Sean Bells accomplices, said the settlement did not change the underlying reality that black and Hispanic men’s lives are not worth much in New York and that the incident is bound to be repeated. All officers involved were acquitted.
Also in 2006, Kathryn Johnston, an elderly Atlanta, Georgia woman was shot by undercover police officers in her home where she had lived for 17 years. Three officers had entered her home in what was later described as a ‘botched’ drug raid and broke down her door using a no-knock warrant.
Police said Johnston fired at them and they fired in response; she fired one shot out the door over the officers’ heads and they fired 39 shots, five or six of which hit her. None of the officers were injured by her gunfire, but Johnston was killed by the officers. It was later proved that the old Ms. Johnson didnt have a weapon, and the officer’s injuries came from each other’s weapons (remember Training Day?)
One of the officers planted marijuana in Johnston’s house after the shooting. Later investigations found that the paperwork stating that drugs were present at Johnston’s house, which had been the basis for the raid, had been falsified. The officers later admitted to having lied when they submitted cocaine as evidence claiming that they had bought it at Johnston’s house. Three officers were tried for manslaughter and other charges surrounding falsification and were sentenced to ten, six, and five years respectively.
Then in 2009, Oscar Grant was shot in the back while handcuffed by a transit Rent-A-Cop named Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California on New Years Day. Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to two years, minus time served.
Then in 2010, 7-year-old Aiyana Jones was shot and killed during a raid conducted by the Detroit Police Department. After a one year internal and federal investigation, on October 4, 2011, a grand jury indicted Officer Joseph Weekley on involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment with a gun.
Allison Howard, a producer with A&E who was also present at the raid, was indicted on obstruction of justice and perjury. Federal prosecutors say that Howard had provided false testimony to investigators about the shooting and that Weekley’s action were reckless and he had lied to the police in an effort to blame Jones’s family for her death.
Then in 2011, Troy Davis was wrongly executed. Davis maintained his innocence up to his execution. While strapped to his death chair, Davis beseeched the witnesses to continue to examine the events of the night that preceded his arrest. “All I can ask is that you look deep into this case so you can really find the truth,” he said. Davis then addressed prison officials preparing to inject him with a lethal mix of chemicals. “May God have mercy on your souls,” he said.
Then in 2012, Danroy Thomas Henry Jr was shot three times and killed by police, and a later search of his vehicle turned up only a toothbrush and a can of soda. No police were convicted.
How about Ramarley Graham? Ramarley Graham died on February 2, 2012 after Richard Haste, a New York police officer, entered his grandmother’s apartment and shot Graham in the chest while he attempted to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet. Graham was unarmed and police did not have a warrant to enter the home. Graham’s death has sparked street protests in Wakefield, a low-income neighborhood with a large African-American and Caribbean immigrant population, with many decrying the police actions as brazenly illegal.
Now we have Trayvon Martin.
These are a very few of hundreds of thousands of innocent men and women who have been slaughtered.
When we protest, complain, and march, we do so in vain. Nothing changes. One white man is fired (or given a bullshit sentence), and he is replaced by another white man who operates from a white supremacist mindset. And the cycle repeats itself over and over again.
The Psychology Behind White Supremacy
We live, learn, and work in a system of white supremacy that is meant to destroy everything that challenges the idea that white is right. More Black men and women will be wrongly imprisoned or killed. More Black children will be wrongly diagnosed with being learning disabled or “aggressive”. More of us will die from preventable disease, more of us will be forced into foreclosure and financial default, more of us will be unemployed, disenfranchised, and wrongfully sent to death row.
And heres a secret: its supposed to be that way.
This world is built on a white values system that underlies a psychology of white supremacy. Heres how it works;
White supremacy minimizes other cultures, and dehumanizes non-whites. By dehumanizing an entire group of people, it is easier to mistreat them, kill them, exploit them, or “civilize” them. White supremacy also grants white cultures privilege over other cultures.
In short, White supremacy is the belief that white is right;
- With the assumption that white is right, police will kill Black men, women and children without fear of punishment.
- With the assumption that white is right, Black men and women will choose a relationship with a white man or woman over a black one. (Which is why I wrote White Girl Detox)
- With the assumption that white is right, Black men and women will accept the spiritual teachings given to them by their captives, but will reject any teachings that are based on African spirituality. (Which is why Yonah El wrote What Do We Know About Christianity?)
- With the assumption that white is right, Black men and women will wrongly believe that the white system is the right system, and will go to college, slave for their entire life, and die with little to show for it.
The wrong assumption that white is right leads us to believe that Black is wrong. As a result, lawmakers are able to pass laws reminiscent of Jim Crow era policies that lead to hundreds of thousands of wrongful convictions. School psychologists are able to disenfranchise and mentally enslave Black students with special education diagnoses and mandatory psychotropic drug prescriptions. Politicians are able to persuade Black men and women to side with them en-masse without offering anything in return. Physicians are able to administer inferior services, or life threatening misdiagnosis. Hell, even waiters can refuse to serve a Black table, because “those people dont tip”.
And in the case of Trayvon Martin (and Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, James Brissette, Ronald Madison, Aiyana Jones, Kathryn Johnston, and so many others), police – and neighborhood watchmen – are able to kill with impunity with the assumption that Black life is cheap.
White is Not Right
When we understand and believe that white is NOT superior to Black, we can start to regain control of our right minds. We will start to love who we are, and see other Black men and women as members of our family. We will build and protect our own way of life, with our own laws and our own standards of excellence.
The white race has developed and forced a system of white supremacy on the rest of the world. In doing so, indigenous cultures have been destroyed, entire species of plants and animals have been pushed into extinction, no country is safe from the war that the white supremacist system will bring to them (ask Gaddafi), and the entire globe is at risk of extinction (see
The concept of what it means to be African had to be destroyed on the altar of white supremacy. The Royal Library of Alexandria, the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world, the great scholarly works of Timbuctoo, the artifacts of Great Zimbabwe, and the knowledge of our selves had to all had to be burned so the myth of white supremacy could become a reality.
Today, politics is used as yet another means of ensuring that white supremacy remains unchallenged. For instance, non-white nations are denied atomic weapons, control of their own lands, and the right to participate in the world economy so that white nations can remain in power. Non-white nations that dont play along find themselves under attack, isolated, starved to death, and marginalized. Human rights and national sovereignty do not apply to nations that dont participate in the global system of white supremacy.
Everything about Africa has been demonized, everything about being Black has been demonized, and everything about being revolutionary has been demonized. Even other Black men and women are afraid of meeting to discuss issues of our community in an open forum, lest they be called a revolutionary. When invited to a Pan-African event, mainstream Black men and women respond with “Is that a Black Panther meeting? Nah, I will pass”.
The last thing this system of white supremacy wants to see is the rise of another Black messiah, UNIA, OAU, or Black Panther Party – and by “passing”, you are passively participating in the very same system that exploits us all.
I’m Not Black, I’m Not African, I’m American!
I have heard this said many times. My response is that you are a fool.
Some Black men and women here in America want to integrate and be a part of this diseased system so bad that they are willing to turn their back on the very thought of being African. The problem with this line of thought is that these men and women are confusing their nationality with their race.
Nationality is ones legal status within a jurisdiction. Race is ones genetic identity, and ones link to the cultural history of ones group. In essence, your race is your humanity, and your humanity takes priority over your nationality.
American is your nationality, but Black is your humanity. In trying to deny who you are, and integrate into the very system that seeks your destruction, you are demonstrating that you are just as insane as the rest of the world.
Trayvon was the victim of white supremacy, plain and simple. He is one of hundreds of millions whose blood was spilled as a result of the mental sickness that this country and the world is infected with. Unfortunately, until we stop participating in the system of white supremacy that is destroying us, there will be hundreds more Trayvon
Whether you are a Jew, Christian, Muslim, or whether you live in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, or Africa – remember, that you too could be Trayvon Martin. And until we build, love, unify, and take care of our own, we will continue to see our destruction at the hands of white supremacy.
On the Front Line,