I decided to take a moment from working on my next novel to reflect on the Mike Brown decision. I am sure everyone in the United States has an opinion and are currently updating their Twitter and Facebook feeds with memes, rants, and well thought out ideas on the plight of the U.S. Justice system. As black people all across America struggle to wrap their minds around another defeat in the criminal justice system-the same system that is based off a set of laws or creeds that the U.S. forefathers sought to promote justice and equality for all while at the same time promoting slavery, I have to say my piece.
I will not go on a long tirade about the unfair plight that has plagued African Americans since our ancestors first touched the shores of the New World. No. America is capable of change-I have faith in that. What I will say in light of the Mike Brown case is that I do agree that African Americans (especially black men) possess an unfair advantage when it comes to justice in America. Most of us are born into impoverished communities that are burdened with drugs, violence, single parent households, piss poor school systems, and the like… Say what you want but that is the stone cold truth. Most African Americans in this country have felt the shackles of struggle: having to make a meal out of the meager options in the fridge; scrapping up change to buy diapers for an infant that the father refuses to support; having no clue how the light bill is going to get paid or having to simply rely on K-Mart’s layaway program just to make sure your kid has a decent Christmas.
And then, there is that image that American society holds over the heads of blacks; the same image that they use in the court system to determine the fate of a suspected drug dealer or prostitute or gang member…that hostile, violent image of a tall, dark skinned male with an unquenchable desire for evil or that hyper sexual black woman with the large assets and the bad attitude…Yes, you know what I am talking about. Those people. Those are the people that you fear. That you hate. But, you love to hear glamourized in rap songs and music videos and then ultimately defeated in the courtroom. Unfortunately, those are the same people that we (black folk) love to perpetrate; and because we have become that image that is used in the courtroom, that is the image that we are going to have to change.
We have to take responsibility for our own actions. For every action there is a reaction. We cannot always blame “The White Man” for issues that we help create. Instead of destroying our own communities we need to come together and use our own resources to rebuild them. We need to hold more discussions; and petition our government if we want to be heard. We cannot wait for one person or a single group of people to effect change: we as individuals have the power to do it. The power is no longer in the hands of the slave master but in the palms of the descendants of slaves; and we are still confined to the walls of a social slavery due to the constant and continuous division amongst ourselves. So, was justice served for Mike Brown? Yes. Because it is only Just-Us who has been for Mike Brown; it is Just-Us who victimize each other and whose mothers weep for sons who were Mike Brown. We have got to do better people. We have go to do better.