By A. Peter Bailey
I had a recent conversation with a young, intelligent, hardworking African-American during which he expressed deep hostility towards Africans. When asked why he felt that way, he told me of two incidents that occurred when he dated a young African woman from Nigeria and another from Ethiopia.
The Nigerian’s father exploded when she brought the young brother to her home. He demanded that the young man leave immediately since he didn’t want his daughter involved with any African-American.
When the young Ethiopian woman took him to an Ethiopian club, she was angrily pulled aside by an Ethiopian male and asked loudly, “Why you bring him here?” Again, he had to leave immediately.
I told him that I understood his feelings, having myself had several run-ins with Africans who spoke with hostility and contempt about African-Americans. However, I continued, African-American are not innocent when it comes to dealing with Africans. On numerous occasions I have heard some African-Americans speak with contempt about Africans, even going so far as to call them “jungle bunnies.”
The image of Africa for too many African-Americans comes from Hollywood films and from American television, newspapers and magazine reporting. The Hollywood films often depict Africans either as scantily clad villages or providing some kind of service to “superior” White folks. The journalistic reporting much too often can lead readers to believe that one third of Africans are living in dire poverty, another third are sick or dying from AIDS and the final third are killing each other in endless conflicts. I have actually heard some African-Americans wonder if there are cities or universities in the continent.
I told the young man that such attitudes as mentioned above by Africans and African-Americans are among the most unfortunate victories of the proponents of White supremacy. I also told him that when the average person of European descent sees a Black man or woman, he doesn’t care if he or she are from Lagos, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Harlem, USA, Kingston, Jamaica or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All that person sees is a Black person who he has been told is inferior to him or her.
White politicians, educators and business persons also see a Black man, but they are clever enough to know that one of the best ways to keep the upper hand over all Black people is to discourage unity among them by any means necessary. So they use psychological toxins to encourage Africans to believe that they are better than African-Americans and African-Americans to believe that they are more civilized than Africans. Way too many Black people have been infected by these toxins.
It is time for serious Black folks from throughout the the world to develop a psychological inoculation against this insidious, debilitating infection. It can be done, we just have to put our time, energy and resources into it. If we don’t, the temporary success of the proponents of White supremacy will become permanent.
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By Elliot Booker — 1 year ago
Communities of color are actually disproportionately likely to report crimes—it’s police themselves who have maintained a corrosive culture of silence.
IBRAM X KENDI May 14, 2018
A 911 caller living in a nonwhite neighborhood snitches.
A man wearing a black hoodie “busted both my truck windows out,” the caller reported on March 18, “and he’s in people’s backyards right now.” Two officers, Terrence Mercadal, a black man, and Jared Robinet, a white man, arrived on the nighttime scene in South Sacramento. Several minutes later, Mercadal and Robinet were running up a dark driveway, pursuing the suspect, flashlights clearing their sight. “Hey! Show me your hands! Stop! Stop!” one shouted. They turned a corner and through the glare of their flashlights saw a 22-year-old black male in his own backyard.
“Gun, gun, gun!” an officer yelled seconds later. Body-cam footage showed Stephon Clark seemingly abiding by their last order, turning to them to show them his hands, one of which clasped his white iPhone. A belief “the suspect was pointing a firearm at them,” to quote the Sacramento Police Department’s statement, is all police need to become executioners. Police officers do not require certainty to exact the certainty of death.
Both officers unloaded 20 shots into the darkness, at the darkness. “Are you hit?” one officer asked after the 20th shot. “No, I’m good,” the other responded.
Minutes later, a police sergeant arrived. The sergeant escorted Mercadal and Robinet to the street. “Hey mute,” the sergeant said, as he reached for his body camera. The audio of the Mercadal’s and Robinet’s body cameras fell silent, like Clark’s unarmed body nearby. More officers arrived on the scene and muted the audio of their body cameras, as shown in the more than 50 videos and two audio clips that Sacramento Police Department released in April.
Nearly two months have passed and only protesters have been arrested. Was justice muted in those critical moments after the shooting? What were those officers saying that they did not want investigators to hear? Will the Stephon Clark death story begin and end like far too many high-profile officer-involved death stories? A citizen, living apparently in a no-snitch black culture, snitches to police. Officers arrive, use lethal force, claim no misconduct, and every officer on the scene refuses to say otherwise. All too often, police officers appear dead-set on ensuring such incidents do not end how they began—in snitching.
Americans have talked constantly about a no-snitch black culture hampering police investigations, leaving violent criminals on the streets. But what about the no-snitch police culture that has hampered investigations into officer misconduct, leaving violent criminals on the streets?
Police officers should lead the way in fostering an American civic culture of reporting lawbreakers. It is their professional duty to snitch, to enforce the law first and foremost against themselves. How can they expect citizens to snitch to them if they refuse to snitch? How can they expect citizens to trust the criminal-justice system if they don’t trust the criminal-justice system? Snitching on each other remains their only salvation from this hypocrisy, their best tool for building trust with the communities they purport to serve and protect. But first, they’ll have to grapple with an empirical truth: Communities of color are actually disproportionately likely to report crimes—it’s police themselves who have maintained a culture of silence.
That’s not something most law-enforcement leaders seem inclined to acknowledge. “Law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors,” complained Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February. “There is no ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ … meaning no cops are covering for cops in Las Vegas,” an apparently all-knowing Las Vegas real-estate investor and police watchdog claimed in the Las Vegas Sun. “It’s not that we’re all out here covering for one another,” said Sergeant Dan Hils, president of the Cincinnati police union. Loyalty “ends with criminal activity.”
Since the 1980s, police officers have grumbled of a growing no-snitch culture—not within their own ranks, but outside their blue wall in black and Latino neighborhoods. “I have been in hospital rooms, even on the street standing over somebody being loaded into an ambulance, and they refuse to talk, and you think, ‘What in the world are we here for?’” Sergeant Mike Huff said recently in Tulsa. “But you know this violence is going to spread.”
The mix of neighborhood anecdotes, police reports, media stories, no-snitch videos, apparel, television shows, and music lyrics have baked the popular belief in a no-snitch black culture, even among black people. The “no-snitch mentality is killing the black community,” a black prisoner serving a life sentence proclaimed in the Toledo Blade in 2014.
Police defenders like to point to the falling clearance rate for homicides as proof not of the falling clearance rate, but of the no-snitch black culture. In 1965, the rate of homicide cases ending in an arrest was more than 90 percent. By 2015, the rate had fallen to 64.1 percent.
Anecdotal evidence persists about individuals of all races refusing to report crimes. But evidence of uniquely black cultural hostility to snitching does not exist—it is yet another racist idea without any evidentiary standing. But when did Americans ever need evidence to believe something was culturally or behaviorally wrong with black people as a group? Racist ideas are believable, not provable.
The evidence points to black communities perhaps being more likely to snitch than white communities—and Latino communities being the most likely to snitch. The National Crime Victimization Survey compiled each year by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found in 2010 that violence against black people and white people were reported at nearly identical rates (blacks slightly higher), while violence against Latinos was the most likely to be reported. The latest National Crime Victimization Survey in 2016 again found violence against Latinos (52 percent) was more likely to be reported to the police than violence against blacks and whites (40 percent alike). For serious violent crimes, violence against Latinos (65 percent) and blacks (60 percent) was far more likely to be reported to the police than violence against whites (45 percent). But these statistics did not inflame the policing community to start lamenting about a no-snitch white culture.
Black youth are especially branded with a no-snitch culture, without evidence, and in the face of evidence to the contrary. Preliminary data from a survey administered to 1,500 community college students showed that if the perpetrator was a relative or a friend, whites were less likely to snitch than non-whites, despite whites reporting they trust the police far more than blacks, and despite twice as many blacks reporting they listened to music that ridiculed snitching.
Urban, black high-school dropouts may be the most maligned for not reporting crimes to police officers. And yet, police officers, ironically, rely on snitching especially from the hyper-incarcerated population of black high-school dropouts. The staggering volume of arrests of black and Latino youth over the last four decades would have ground the criminal-justice system to a halt if every single case went to trial. Plea agreements—defendants snitching on themselves and often snitching on others in exchange for more lenient sentences—have become as endemic as police informants in black and Latino neighborhoods. Over nine out of 10 federal cases, for example, end in plea agreements.
Police officers, however, do not appear to be commonly snitching on themselves, and accepting plea agreements. There is a no-snitch police culture that may be as widespread and harmful as the myth of a no-snitch black culture. The National Institute of Ethics surveyed 3,714 officers and academic recruits from 42 states in 1999 and 2000. A no-snitching code of silence commonly exists, responded 79 percent of officers. More than half of the officers said this no-snitch code does not bother them. Nearly half of the officers reported witnessing misconduct and not reporting it. That’s probably because 73 percent of responding officers said they’d be fired if they snitched. And 73 percent of the officers said the individuals pressuring them to keep quiet were leaders.
In 2001, a national survey of police attitudes conducted by the Police Foundation found that a majority of officers said turning a “blind eye” to police misconduct was not unusual. Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds reported they “did not always report serious criminal violations” by fellow officers and they’d be given the “cold shoulder” if they did.
In his forward to that report, the Police Foundation’s president, Hubert Williams, wrote, “Most of America’s police officers are honest, dedicated, hard-working public servants, and it is they, as well as the public they serve, who are victims of the ‘bad’ cop.” If most police officers are good, then they are being forced to operate in a bad policing culture where the personal desire to report misconduct is tempered by the top-down forces to remain silent—or, by their own self-interest of keeping their jobs and staying out of prison.
Even when undercover Atlanta officers fired 39 shots at 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in 2006 after busting into the wrong home, they refused to snitch. They planted drugs to cover themselves. Caught in their lies, two officers finally pled guilty and received reduced sentences. Three officers were imprisoned. Two years ago, when San Francisco officers accused a sergeant of making racist and sexist comments, the former head and acting consultant of the city’s police union called them “snitches.”
And then there’s the tragic death of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald in 2014. Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke claimed he opened fire after the teenager lunged at him with a knife, a claim backed up by on-the-scene reports from three other officers. The dashcam video contradicted their claims, sparking protests that compelled Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to acknowledge the “blue wall of silence” in 2015. The Justice Department’s recent investigations of the Chicago and Baltimore police departments discovered broken systems of silence. When officers have stepped forward in Baltimore, the report found, “fellow officers have retaliated against them.”
In 2011, when a Baltimore detective asked a sergeant about reporting two fellow officers who brutally beat a suspect, he says the sergeant replied: “If you are rat, your career is done.” The good cop decided to be a rat. And the good cop’s career in Baltimore is done. The day before Baltimore detective Sean Suiter was scheduled to testify in a grand-jury hearing against fellow officers, he died from a shot by his own handgun. His death in November remains unsolved—one of the only unsolved deaths of a police officer in Baltimore’s history.
When will police departments focus more on rooting out their own no-snitching culture that undermines their job duties than on attacking a no-snitch black culture that does not exist? Not snitching is not a black problem nor a white problem nor a poor problem nor an urban problem nor a youth problem. Not snitching is an American problem—across races and spaces. When will police officers model for Americans the difficult civic duty of snitching against partners, against close friends, against violent neighbors? When will they show us by their actions that legality must trump loyalty and career and fear?
I want police officers to be comfortable snitching and I want to be comfortable snitching to them. Too often the response to the report of a minor crime like breaking car windows—or no crime at all—has ended in a life being lost and an officer back on duty weeks later. Part of me wants to keep police guns as far away from black bodies as I can. Because we fear their guns. They fear our bodies. Why would I want to play Russian roulette by reporting a crime?
It would be much easier for me to snitch if I trusted police officers around black bodies; if police officers always took the time to defuse and save; if black life mattered more than police fear; if arrests actually reduced crime; and if I saw resources going to rehabilitate human beings, rather than to cage human beings like they are animals.
Black people, in other words, have every reason not to snitch. And yet, the evidence shows, we still do—even as we are ridiculed for not doing so. Police officers have every reason to snitch. And yet they still commonly do not—and get praised as if they commonly do.
Stephon Clark’s death story could end differently if a Sacramento police officer steps forward to lead us all to justice. Police-involved death stories could end in justice if police officers everywhere are willing to do what black people do: start snitching.Post Views: 225
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Today’s REVIVE show topic is entitled:
This episode on REVIVE is entitled Wednesday Edition of #REVIVE. We’ll be discussing trending topics, current events, and more! You don’t want to miss this conversation, join in on the fun!
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Written by Amefika D. Geuka
An important occasion; an incident; an activity or one of a series of activities.
A set of actions; a system marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result. Webster’s
A group or arrangement of parts, facts, etc. that relate to or interact with each other; a group of logically related facts, beliefs, etc.; a method of classification, arrangement, etc.
*New International Webster’s Pocket Dictionary
Perhaps my favorite quote from the teachings of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey is: “The greatest weapon used against the Negro is disorganization.” I used to wonder why Mr. Garvey drew this conclusion from all other possibilities. I have come to agree fully with my hero, and am convinced that this too is a result of the conditioning black people were subjected to as part of the diabolical process used to convert us from the African human beings we were prior to the advent of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the slaves we became. The operative word here is process. No “slaves”‘ were ever brought to North America! Human beings were captured and brought here in chains, and through a process of dehumanization spanning nearly a century and several generations, were reduced below the level of beasts. No animals owned by our enslavers were treated so horrifically as the sons and daughters of Africa who were so unfortunate as to have been among those captured and transported here! As a collective group, we still suffer the psychological trauma infused into us as part of that process. Whereas our condition of servility and inferiority is the result of a process, most of our efforts to extricate ourselves from that mental and emotional bondage have consisted of events. If we are to regain our humanity, we must organize ourselves into a force capable of throwing off the shackles placed on our minds, and embark on a process of restoration.
By definition an “event” is an occasion, an incident, an activity, or one of a series of activities. By contrast, a “process” is a set, a system, that brings about gradual changes that lead to a particular result. Events cannot reverse or undo effects brought about by a process! Only through a counter-process can there be any possibility of doing so, and that counter-process must be designed and carried out in such a way as to lead to a particular result! To do this requires, at minimum — vision, organization, structure, resolve, and discipline. Truth be told, blacks in America have shown little if any of these invaluable traits and attributes of late! Not since the days of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) has there been an organized effort with structure designed and intended for the express purpose of restoring people of African descent in America to our African humanity! The challenge for our One Million Conscious Black Voters & Contributors (OMCBV&C) initiative is to pick up where Mr. Garvey left off when he was deported from America, take the baton firmly in hand, and run the next leg of Black Americans’ relay race toward the goal of ascending back to our “…rightful place among the constellation of nations and peoples of the Earth!”
Jim Clingman and I both were fortunate to have attended the Million Man March (MMM) on October 16, 1995 in Washington, DC, though we did not meet each other until 10 years later in 2005 when we both presented a plank in Dr. Claud Anderson’s “Powernomics” platform in Detroit, Michigan. As wonderful and inspiring as the MMM was, it was only an event; it had the potential to inspire attendees to engage in a process to realize the noble goals and objectives mentioned by the series of speakers that day. Unfortunately, the MMM’s convener did not have a plan of action to present to his receptive audience, and the only challenge we were presented with was to “…return to our respective homes and places, and join some organization that is working for the uplift and advancement of black people;” and if no such organization worthy of our support existed in our communities, we were “obliged to create one.” Just how many of the 2.5 million black men in attendance that day heeded Minister Farrakhan’s urging and did as he suggested is a story yet to be told, but we do know two “true believers” who took the Minister’s words to heart, and went back home to Cincinnati, Ohio and West Palm Beach, Florida respectively, and started planting seeds for improvement in the condition of black people. Here we are another 10 years later (2015), and those two (now) “old-geezers” are still in the hunt for solutions to the puzzle of how to get black people back to where our Creator and Ancestors intended us to be!
“Tomorrow is not promised to us;” and if there is to be a future for people of African descent, some element among us will have to step up to the plate and prove themselves capable of conceptualizing (envisioning), planning, organizing, implementing, conducting, evaluating, modifying, and bringing to fruition the particular results sought after! That is referred to as “organizing” brothers and sisters! Jim and I are trying to provide the caliber and quality of experienced leadership needed for this awesome undertaking, but leaders are only as good and effective as those they lead, and it is from among this group that the next cadre of leaders must evolve if there is to be continuity of effort and resolve. Jim is getting old, and I am even older (LOL); we both face health challenges daily. You all will have to pardon us if we appear sometimes to be impatient with the lack of or slow response from our folks to what appears to us to be “as plain as the nose on your face.” We KNOW this stuff ain’t “rocket science,” and it does not take a genius to recognize what we are up against and what would be required to overcome obstructions to our success. WE ARE and of necessity MUST BE the SOLUTION to our own problems; that is the way of life. The only question worth asking and answering is: Are we possessed of the qualities and attributes required to get the job done? If not, we will be forced to admit that as a Race we are, in fact, inferior and should throw ourselves on the mercies of our superiors as some notable blacks advise us to do!
Jim and I have started this process, and are committed to staying the course as long as we are able and have sufficient encouragement from the ranks of our people, but as the “Last Poets” warned us: “Time is running out on bullsh** changes,” so the true Black MEN and WOMEN must rise to the occasion, step to the fore, and captain our ship to safe harbor. This is not the time for fainthearted or halt-stepping negroes. Who amongst you is ready to take on this task? Events-oriented persons need not apply, because it is Nature’s law that only the strong have a right to survive, and that is because the strong are willing to assert their right to survival — and beyond that — to PROSPER!!! Start flexing your muscles people, and determine the place and role you will play in this PROCESSPost Views: 158