Justice is color blind, but injustice can also lack the necessity of color or racism. Eric Garner, the man choked to death by an New York City police officer, is the new race-baiting poster boy. Before we get off on a tangent, and everyone reading presumes this is a racist, white guy rant, it is important to understand that the decision to not file any type of charges against the officer in question was, in fact, wrong.
Another more important, if not the most important, fact is that the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases are different. Though, it may be hard for some to swallow, it is no less true. Unfortunately, certain MSNBC hosts are at it again, stirring up the crowd with a sense of urgency, yet no one offers to talk about the high death rate in Chicago.
Nevertheless, this wave of racial protests are expanding, as big D mayors and congressmen are lining up ways to exploit and benefit from all the anger built up from the Michael Brown and Eric Garner decisions. Sadly, some of the big Rs also make foolish statements, as Mediate reported. We already had a conversation about Michael Brown, but the Eric Garner protests have been thankfully civil, and thus require no discussion.
The problem inherent is the fact the attention on the Eric Garner case is focused in the wrong direction. Why? It is easier to blame it on racism, than it is to blame it on excessive force from what seems to be an overzealous NYC police officer.
Unlike in the Michael Brown case, we can clearly see exactly what happened on video with Mr. Garner. With respect, the protests, outrage, and a grieving family are expected and warranted. However, stoking racial tensions and blaming race, do nothing to advance a legitimate cause.
Racism is not an American trait, Racism is state of mind or thought process. It is embedded in the racist, whether it is toward Africans, Indians, Italians, Irish, or German. Regardless, Black Americans have faced slavery and racial oppression in the past. Despite the fact that we have stamped out racism as a cultural norm, too many are easily dragged along through an outdated, tired narrative that keeps some people elected and others relevant.
These disgusting human beings have, in their minds, stereotypes and caricatures assigned to you that can only change if you personally prove them wrong. We can’t depend on Al Sharpton (oops… I said his name this time), we need to move past it together. Now that we have addressed what they want us to talk about, the real heart of the case of Eric Garner lies in the police response.
Believe it or not, you can mostly agree with the Ferguson verdict, not feel Eric Garner was murdered because he was black, and yet still think the officer should have been indicted. I know I just made your head spin. You might have a serious case of “mixed emotions,” but lets take it slow, we just met.
To jump right in, what should be our next move? More transparency, cops attached to cameras, more filming, and less separation of police and citizen. It is not unlike Washington, D.C. and its disconnect from the rest of the country. It is not a matter of black vs. white, but police force vs. the less fortunate. Is there a disparity? Yes. Is it racial? No.
In Eric Garner’s case, at least one of the supervising officers was another black American. If you are black, white, red, purple, or green, and have the financial means, you will in fact get away with things.
There is corruption in the court systems, and many governmental institutions, but we allow those who stand to gain to keep us in line for their own ends. It is not a matter of money, status, or color, but what we allow them to get away with. Grandfathers are murdered, and babies are burned, but between drug laws, more stupid laws, overzealous police, and a complacent society, why are we surprised?
In an age when petitions are filed to ask the White House to label transparency groups as a terrorists, and most police precincts have paralytic Internal Affairs bureaus (a separate group of officers tasked with investigating police corruption), what chance do the Eric Garners and Gil Collars have?
Now, just because some officers or precincts are bad, does not mean all of them are. Some officers help people, and other precincts try transparency, the Guardian reports. We need the police of 2014 and on to look like 1940s, act like Leave it to Beaver, and address everyone with a modern sense of equality.
A message can be unified, and with the existing numbers, it could have a major historical impact. However, the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases of this country are being distorted and hijacked. If those who protest want their impact and stand to have meaning, the narrative needs to change. Oversight, transparency, and a return to a heartfelt connection to community, can save lives. It can also produce respect.
It needs to be unified, and without the race hustlers, pimps, and the politically connected ruling the roost. Do not allow yourselves to be hijacked.
The Atlantic shamefully produced an article to blend right into the popular narrative that further stokes the flames, it was called “What if Eric Garner Was White?”
If Eric Garner were white, he would still be dead, though it is likely less people would have heard about it. Does this reflect on black Americans? No. If either question was all you gained from the case of Eric Garner, you have missed the point, and the cycle will in fact continue. Again, and again.
[Images Via Creative Commons]