So, to say Obama is [black] progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t.This got me thinking about the common refrain (at least among some people) that blacks don't care about black-on-black crime. Just because you (and some in the media) keep saying so doesn't make it true. In fact, the idea that black people don't care about crime (and its corollary that blacks only care injustice at the hands of police) is so demonstrably false it's almost absurd to even point out instances of blacks caring about black-on-black crime.
The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
But I will.
As this link points out, "You may not have noticed black protests against crime, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t happened." And even better this and this, which shows specific incidents of protest in Chicago, Harlem, Newark, Saginaw, Gary, and Brooklyn. I'll also add Baltimore. Coates concludes:
There is a kind of sincere black person who really would like to see even more outrage about violence in black communities. I don't think outrage will do it at this point, but I respect the sincere feeling.Now there is a caveat. People care less, as is reasonable, when one criminal kills another criminal than when an innocent person is killed. But there are plenty of killings to cover all the bases.
And then there are pundits who write more than they read, and talk more than they listen, and prefer an easy creationism to a Google search.
And this is worth watching, this, if you haven't already:
(And no, that woman does not have flowers growing out of her head. She's just standing in front of it.)
In dealing with black-on-black crime, society has a system to deal with criminals. You kill somebody and (at least in theory) you get found, arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed. That is our justice system at work. It may not be the system, but it's the system we have.
But things are different when killings are sanctioned by the state. That's why so many opponents of the death penalty focus on the fact that we sometimes execute innocent people. Do you think it's never happened... or does it just not bother you?
So people are upset about crime. But they're also upset about justice. The Rodney King riots didn't happen just because Rodney King got his ass beat. The riots started when the police officers got away with it (at least at first). The protests are about the whole damn system being rigged. Of course people were upset when Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. But the real outrage was that Zimmerman got away with it. Justice shouldn't be something only Al Sharpton shouts about. It's a basic American value. Especially, I should add, to a group to which it has been historically denied. (And how did conservatives get away with co-opting "freedom" and liberals with co-opting "justice"? It makes no sense.)
When police officers get away with murder, it's not only about crime. It's about justice. Police officers are backed by the state. Police are the law. So yes, it is worse when a police officer kills an innocent person. (And notice I said "innocent" and not "unarmed.")
You could ask -- especially if you think black people don't care about crime -- why don't white people care about justice? Where was the uproar over the police-involved killing (and judicial exoneration) of the Reverend Jonathan Ayers? And there are countless other questionable police-involved shootings. And I don't mean "countless" figuratively as in "a lot". I mean "countless" literally as in we don't count them! What's up with that?!
All this said, I do think it's a shame that the whole Ferguson uproar seems to involve an incident in which a police officer probably acted correctly. Especially since there are any number of cases to pick from in which police have killed an innocent person. I also think people are misguided when they see bad police-involved shootings only in terms of race. I also know people are simply ignorant if they actually believe that police don't shoot unarmed white people (or give them tickets for seatbelt violations)!
But everybody is upset about crime. Why don't white people care about justice?