Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Real Problem with Don Lemon's Words

Don Lemon has risen as the most high profile CNN anchor of color over the past few years. At times, he has shined in his role but recently, he's been the go-to-anchor when it comes to matter of race. I've personally looked up to him as a journalist for a while and I respect his calm and steady presence behind the anchor desk.

That's why when he said that Bill O'Reilly's criticisms of Black people didn't go far enough, it troubled me. He couched his remarks by describing what he witnessed in his Harlem neighborhood.  I've heard this from folks like Larry Elder, Bill Cosby and others. Black people need to do X-Y-and-Z and if you say this out loud, you get celebrated like a bold witness.

Unfortunately, he missed the mark focusing too hard on the wrong things. And the fact that he's being celebrated highlights a bigger issue when it comes to problem solving.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Uncomfortably Numb (Trayvon Martin and America's Sickness)

James Baldwin once said “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in rage all the time.” For me, my anger is slowly hardening and replaced with numbness as injustice continues in various forms.

Being Black in America means at some point, you’ll go from shock to anger to numbness at how often things happen to people who look like you. No matter how optimistic you want to be, you start losing hope that things will ever change.

What happened Saturday was the justice system reminding us that it’s not fair. George Zimmerman, due to his legal team doing a great job, wasn’t found guilty of killing Trayvon Martin despite initiating the confrontation. A kid is dead because of racial profiling and perhaps winning a fight he didn’t expect to be in and yet his killer walked.

Martin’s reputation became fair game during a trial instead of Zimmerman’s tendencies for violence and other behaviors. Despite a fair trial, all Zimmerman is guilty of being a vigilante who disobeyed orders and started a fight. Manslaughter was an option and yet the jury could not to find him even guilty of that. More or less, Martin is somehow responsible for his own death.

Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant. Two victims of the same killer - American prejudice.
But real question. How is this any different than how I felt about Oscar Grant exactly three years ago? Or Sean Bell? Or little Aiyana Jones? Or Chavis Carter? Or Amadou Diallo? How can I be shocked when this happens like clockwork?  

I’m tired of seeing innocent people killed and nobody answering for it. The fact that Grant’s death saw a police officer get only seven months in jail is mind-blowing. Yet when you consider the killers of Bell, Jones, Diallo and more were exonerated, that’s actually a rare victory.

All I am right now is numb. And frankly, I’m tired of feeling that but it’s reality sinking in about this sick world.