Hey America: Is It Okay To Be Pissed Now?
I am sick and tired of the latest hashtag. I am sick and tired of the latest social media awareness campaigns to highlight the latest casualty of an unarmed Black person. I am sick and tired of having to wear T-shirts and adopt trendy phrases like “Hands up, Don’t shoot” or “I Can’t Breathe” as a symbol and slogan of protest. I am sick and tired of no damn justice for Black people in America. But the question I have for America is, “Is it okay for us to be officially pissed off now, or is there ever a limit or breaking point until we are allowed to be pissed?”
We can’t kneel to protest…according to you.
We can’t gather to protest…according to you.
We can’t use any platform to protest, no matter how big or small…according to you.
Just what in the hell can Black people do to get justice and to get your damn attention, huh?
I want to know. No, no, no…I NEED TO KNOW!
As I said, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
There are no words you can share with me. There are no scriptures you can recite to me. There are no GoFundMe accounts you can create. There are not enough Black Benefit Packages of multimillion dollar settlements that you can provide to us. We are sick and tired, and I really don’t think most of America cares or gives a damn about that quite honestly.
In the popular words, made famous by American hip hop producer DJ Khaled, I have to just go ahead and say it, as it relates to the added stories of injustice against people of color here in the United States, and I hate to use a catchphrase to make my point, but here goes: “Another One”.
That’s right…”Another One” of us has failed to get justice in America.
A 50-year-old Black man, Walter Scott, got stopped in North Charleston, SC, on April 4, 2015, during a routine traffic stop for allegedly having a broken taillight. Nothing wrong with that, huh? Give a brother a ticket and be on your way, right? Wrong!
Officer Michael Slager, who lied and claimed Scott tried to take away his Taser, let off a barrage of bullets directly into Scott’s back, as Scott tried to run away from him. The lying officer filled out a false police report, and a lying Black cop who was on the scene cosigned with this White officer, saying that Scott tried to assault him and take his Taser. Little did Slager know that someone was videotaping the entire incident, and a video surfaced showing Scott running away from Slager, with his back to the officer, as Slager fired those bullets into Scott’s back and murdered him in cold-blood. Slager was subsequently fired and charged with murder, and his trial just concluded. Justice for the family of Walter Scott, right? A clear cut conviction, right?
After 22 hours of deliberations, Judge Clifton B. Newman had no choice but to declare a mistrial after jurors indicated they were within one vote of returning a guilty verdict against Slager, who could have been convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter. This past Monday, in a final note to Judge Newman, jurors said that “despite the best efforts of all members, we are unable to come to a unanimous decision.”
The jurors, who consisted of 11 Whites and one Black, did not reach a consensus, after the judge implored them to go back and deliberate three times, because one juror, in a note, said he could not vote for a conviction and wouldn’t change his mind for anything.
Considering that the jury’s foreman was the only Black member, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know who the lone holdout was – a White male.
Lady Justice is supposed to be the symbol of justice in America. Lady Justice, of course, is based on the Roman goddess of justice named Justitia, who is equipped with three symbols of justice: the double-edged sword symbolizing the court’s coercive power and the power of reason and justice, which may be wielded either for or against any party; scales representing an objective standard by which competing claims are weighed; and a blindfold indicating that justice is, or should be handed out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness. The problem that I, and many others, have with the way Lady Justice is viewed in this country is that Black people are not treated fairly and equitably. If Lady Justice was truly viewed the same as intended, I can promise you that we would not hear the same complaints and concerns that we hear from Black people over and over again.
Black people are constantly getting indicted and arrested on various issues and allegations, while we hear stories about and witness White people walk free for doing the same things. How fair is that? This is such B.S. and I am honestly getting pissed off and upset as I write this.
While people make the argument that the justice system in America is the best in the world, Black people simply want to be a part of an American legal and justice system where they don’t have to continue to ask the question, “How fair is that?”
President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.”
Lady Justice is supposed to be symbolic of an America that should be blind of bias and persuasion. She is to represent an America where it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, what race you are, if you are rich or poor, justice does not see that. She is to represent an America where justice is equal to all.
Unfortunately, Black people have historically and statistically been on the receiving end of a brand of justice that isn’t blind at all as it relates to their color or status. Even when Black folks commit criminal acts, we should be treated equally at every stage of the criminal justice system.
The justice system is currently, and has historically been, set up for us to fail and fall victim to it.
We must wake up and get involved in helping reverse the trend of injustice and putting the right people in place to do what’s best for Black people. Again I ask you America, “Is it okay for us to be officially pissed off now?”
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney, and is a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org