(parody of Charles Barkley as “Steven” in Django Unchained)
We constantly hear about our unjust legal system where black men who can’t afford attorneys are often sent to prison and given harsher sentences for lesser crimes. Our prison’s are overcrowded with black men in disproportion to the US population and other countries denounce us for imprisoning the most people in the world. This is why the OJ Simpson trial was so monumental because it was the first time in recorded history that a rich black man showed how having money and the best legal defense can sway a jury in a defendant’s direction even when he’s black notwithstanding guilt or innocence.
Rodney King was another historic trial because it was the first one where the crime was recorded and unfortunately the same thing that happened then over 20 years ago has happened today in New York.
Just when the black community is trying to heal from Darren Wilson walking free after killing Mike Brown, NY officer Daniel Pantaleo is ON TAPE (as was the Rodney King beating) putting Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold with Garner repeatedly stating “I can’t breathe.” His repeated pleas for air were ignored as Panaleo and other cops continued to put pressure on him, eventually killing him. By the time the ambulance got there is was beyond evident Garner was already dead as officers then made an attempt to resuscitate him looking very worried at the same time. When one bystander asked a cop why they were not giving him CPR the officer responded, “he’s still breathing” but his body lay limp on the ground and by the look of the scene, it was too late. The coroner ruled it as a homicide, there were many witnesses to the event and it was videotaped and shown worldwide to millions online yet the grand jury today didn’t see what the world saw and once again failed justice for a black man whose crime ironically was very similar to Mike Brown’s involving cigarettes.
As if this isn’t enough, it all falls on the heels of Basketball legend Charles Barkely making Samuel Jackson‘s character “Steven” in Django Unchained look diminutive. In the greatest Uncle Tom move of all Barkley took the side of the grand jury in the Mike Brown case. To be honest that is probably what is most upsetting out of all of this. Black privilege is NOT white privilege and for Barkley to call his own people “Scumbags” went too far. No matter how much fame and fortune we attain we are still black. Does Barkely look at statistics when it comes to the prison systems, unemployment, racism, poverty, criminal records, recidivism, disease and many other factors that contribute to Black men being at a tremendous disadvantage in the US? This is absolutely not to say black men are all innocent just like it’s not saying all white cops are guilty but in these cases, it is pretty evident something went terribly awry. Barkley and Blacks like him are annoying in their attempts to scold the black community publicly by taking the side of conservatives, Republicans and others who have absolutely no idea what the life of a black man entails but stand in judgement of him. Every one is not fortunate enough to get breaks in life as Barkley did and he too could have gone in another direction. By calling the looters in St. Louis “Scumbags” AND agreeing with the grand jury in the Mike Brown case he threw the ENTIRE black community under the bus.
To that end, we do indeed have to take responsibility for our own actions too. We must have just as much rage and frustration when crime happens in our OWN community and when you get a jury summons and you throw it away and don’t respond, don’t complain about unbalanced juries because this is the end result. Urban radio, where are you?