“You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
Anybody who has watched some of these popular TV shows featuring members of law enforcement have heard officers recite these statements to a criminal suspect, known as their Miranda Rights.
Miranda Rights are named after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, in which a suspect named Ernesto Miranda was arrested for stealing $8.00 from an Arizona bank worker. After being questioned by police for two hours, Miranda confessed to the robbery, kidnapping and rape, and was found guilty. Miranda appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court., where the Supreme Court Justices ruled that his confession to the police could not be used as evidence against him because he had not been advised of his Constitutional rights. Since this decision, police have been required to recite the Miranda warning to suspects before any questioning is conducted.
We have some major problems that need solving here in America, and too many of us are remaining silent about those problems, when we should be opening up our mouths to make a straight-forward confession about what’s really wrong with our country.
I am a proud Black male and I love my people deeply. I love being an American also.
I may not know every Black person in America, but there is something inherently spectacular to me about being Black that fills my soul with great pride and dignity.
See, when I think about the fact that our African ancestors were brought over here to America to help build a great nation, which is what America calls itself, I know we are a great and magnificent people.
When those African ancestors were forced into slavery, and they made it across those waters to their final destination, I know they had to be the best of the best that Africa had to offer, because they survived.
And that is who we are as a people – we are uniquely qualified to be the best the world has to offer. In order for our people to have endured what they endured, you know we have to be a strong, wise, resilient, intelligent, resourceful, creative, talented, gifted, loving and caring group of people.
A lot has happened to us along the way.
Black people have had a tough and arduous road that we have had to travel on, yet this seemingly endless journey towards getting some level of calm in the midst of the many storms we’ve had to endure has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, especially while here in America.
I know Black people have issues with intraracial crime and murder, but we don’t need any outside help or influence to add to the problem, such as unarmed killings by police.
When Americans use the “Black-on-Black” crime narrative as a means to ignore Black people, shut down the Black Lives Matter movement and distort the purpose that important movement, it drives a wedge between the Black community and those individuals. Intraracial crimes are not mutually exclusive to the Black community, so the overhyped narrative of “Black-on-Black” crime does absolutely nothing to help move the country forward, nor does it help solve the real problems that the Black community faces. Ignoring the Black Lives Matter movement and seeking to vilify it as a hate group doesn’t help either.
Intraracial murders will always be most common, because most races spend the majority of their time with other members of their own race. If the people who use the “Black-on-Black” crime narrative to criticize and seek to nullify the Black Lives Matter movement, spent any time talking to members of the Black community, they would better understand that there are many community activists and groups within the Black community who are addressing that issue.
Again, it’s no secret that intraracial crime and murders are a huge problem in the Black community, but there are people who are out here fighting to stop it and address it every day. People who are not silent. People who are loud, engaged, and fed up with the crime and murder happening in the Black community. People who are not ignoring the crimes and murders. People who are not running away from it at all.
There are movements in Houston like the No More Bloodshed movement, led by Christian pastor E.A. Deckard and Muslim activist Deric Muhammad, which is holding rallies, marches, forums and meetings to work with other members of the community to stem the violence and actually solve the problem.
These people are not silent and they are not the only ones in this country who are working to make a difference. The question I have is what are you doing to make a difference?
See, whether you are Black or not, you have the right to remain silent about what is happening to and within the Black community, or you can join forces with those working to make a difference in the Black community by helping address these issues, many of which are systemic and passed on generationally.
Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
All over the world, the United States is seemingly viewed by many other countries, as a country operating under the spirit of “insanity,” as the same issues that were thought by many to have been long gone, are getting worse and popping up over and over again like that Whac-A-Mole game you’ve seen at the carnival. Once you pay your money the game starts, and these moles pop up randomly out of these various holes, and the object of the game is to force each mole back into their respective holes by hitting them directly on the head with a hard mallet, which adds to your score. The moles are pretty quick, so the quicker and more consistent you hit the moles, the higher your final score will be.
Well, it seems as if the problems that Black America faces seem to keep popping up like that Whac-A-Mole game, except we aren’t trying to keep dealing with these issues and it is definitely not a game to us.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” is an often used expression we’ve probably heard, but may have never understood in the context of critical and important issues we face in life.
In order for this country to move forward, all Americans have to acknowledge that this country is at a major crossroads and must no longer downplay the issues that have contributed to Black America’s current reality. There are many issues that affect the Black community more than any other group.
Until the American people collectively decide that they are ready to confront the real and systemic root causes of the problems that Blacks face, then there will be no changes and things will get worse.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
My fellow Americans, I do truly hope you decide NOT to remain silent any longer or at all.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and has a daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney. He is a Next Generation Project Fellow, 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