Before the Civil Rights movement, at a time when Jim crow and Black codes laws ruled the South, Black America had no rights that white men were bound to respect. Even though the federal government ratified the 14th and 15th amendments to grant all former former slaves (future Afro-Americans) full constitutional rights, many White Americans used all of their power to prevent these free men from exercising their new rights. This resulted in nearly a century of Black American’s fate being placed in hands of their former masters. Not to long after that, White America went HAM on our people..
A white man had to respect another white man’s right to due process. However, when a white man wanted justice against a black man, they didn’t have to wait on a judge and a jury. All they had to do was kidnap him, hang his body on a tree and call it a day. White folks didn’t care about black folk’s probable cause, right to due process, fair and speedy public trial by jury, ability to confront the accuser and obtain witnesses, retain counsel (lawyer), and equal protection under the law. In other words, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the white man was black folks judge, jury and executioner.
Fortunately for us, all of that changed with the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision and the passing of the Civil Right Act of 1964, which finally upheld the constitutional rights of Afro-Americans. Black folks finally received the legislation that would give them equal protection under the law. This act dismantled all Jim Crow and Black code laws across the South and the White man no longer could be the judge, jury and executioner. For the first time since the Dred Scott Decision, free black men and women had rights that “white men were bound to respect” whether they wanted to or not.
If you want to understand the legal basis of racial segregation, I suggest you start to familiarize yourself with Dred Scott vs Sanford. After the Supreme court made their decision on the fate of Dred Scott, it affected all of Black America. Luckily for us today, when Black folks are dealt with cruel and unusual punishment by Whites or anyone else for that matter, we can now seek justice through the proper channels.
What does this all mean for Afro-Americans today considering that we seem to be facing the same problems that our ancestors faced a few generations ago? With all that is going on today, why should we still care about a piece of paper when the government isn’t upholding their end of the bargain? The difference between today and yesteryear is that, believe it or not, white folks are held much more accountable for their actions towards us. Even if the system is still biased, White America still will not get off as easy as Emmit Till’s murderer. They will at least face the court of law and even receive some punishment. Now, if we feel that their punishment is too light or no punishment is given at all, we can always take matters into our own hands. However, lets stop acting like we are brand new to the injustice of American society.
As many of our people know so well, the government can be cruel and biased and it’s been known to have dropped the ball on many occasions. The Founders understood this when they created the legal framework for this country that all governments are flawed. This is why the checks and balance system law was developed in the first place. They understood that the victim and the criminal equally had rights and that every man is innocent til PROVEN guilty. The problem I have with Black America is that we don’t want to fully accept that.
Yes government has the responsibility to protect everyone’s rights. This doesn’t only apply to Sandra Bland; this also applies Officer Brian Encinia as well as the correctional officers who were responsible her while in their custody. This means- even though we may feel in our bones there was foul play, we have to remember that we live under the rules of law and order. Also, even though the government has an obligation to protect our constitutional rights, the government will not always be able to come through for us. Therefore, there are certain obligations that Black America has in protecting their own well-being.
Every man and women has the right to protect themselves and express their opinions, but a traffic stop isn’t the best time nor place to get militant. I’m not saying that we should bow down to the police, but would rather fight law enforcement alone or with and army of people? In order for us to effectively combat police brutality, we ALL need to be on the same page. Vigilante justice is only for the movies.Therefore, we have to be much smarter, more unified and plan strategically when dealing with the government. The government is too DEEEEEP. We won’t win alone. It took our entire race to collectively fight for Civil Rights, somewhere down the line, we have forgotten that.
Instead, our people resort to race-baiting the government into fighting our battles for us. We do this by jumping to conclusions without looking at the facts first. Then the media pushes the race issue even more and further clouds our judgement. When blacks, such as Ms. Bland, dies while in custody of white law enforcement personnel, we focus too much attention on the fact that Officers are WHITE and Sandra Bland is BLACK. When we start to think like this, we won’t even bother looking at all of the facts. And the media knows it.
Well here are some of the facts. While media has been focused on the Officer Encinia, who pulled Ms. Bland over for failure to properly signal a lane change, it had nothing to do directly with her death. I repeat the Officer Encinia was bogus to arrest Ms. Bland for something petty and lied about it, but he was not directly involved with Ms. Bland’s death. People need to understand that Officer Encinia is a Texas state trooper. Ms. Bland was arrested by him, but she ended up in Waller County Jail, which is an entirely different law enforcement agency. During the time of her death, she was in the custody of Waller county, who was responsible for holding her until she saw the judge.
I doesn’t excuse the behavior of the officer because he did violate Ms. Bland’s constitutional rights. And for that, he should be fired and never allowed to work as an officer again. However, when we throw in racism before we get all of the facts together, we draw people away from the subject matter. Racism is real, but today’s racism isn’t as obvious as it was 50 years ago. Racism is more subtle, covert and way harder to prove in a court of law. What is easy to protest is the officer’s foul play caught on video and the jail not properly monitoring Ms. Bland while in custody. We are better off sticking to the facts now and placing judgement on the officer at a later time. We need to hold back our feelings for a moment and first allow the system to take its course. I understand what white folks did it to us in the past, but they had the system on their side. We are going directly after the system. Do you think it will be 100% on our side? Therefore, we have to be smarter and think more strategically.
First we have to understand the law. Because our people experienced hell, we never understood how the law is supposed to work. We see law and order the way our oppressors treated us versus how they treated themselves. They treated themselves fairly and treated us like shit. However, just because the law only applied to whites along time ago, doesn’t mean that the law itself is bad. At one point, the law didn’t apply to Native Americans, non-landowning whites, the working class, the Irish, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese the disabled, women and children. Once each group secured equal protection under the law, they allowed the law to take it course. Now if the law continued to violated their civil liberties, then that’s when they turn up the heat. On the other hand, our people turn on the heat before the government make their decision. We think that we can highjack the justice system and force them rule in our favor, like our oppressors did. Well, in a real democracy it doesn’t work like that. Hell, it didn’t always work like that back in the day.
Back in the day when lawlessness plagued the South, many court of laws would actually try to do things the right way and give our ancestors a fair and speedy trial. However, the white folks at the time disregarded our constitutional rights and grew angry at the justice department for trying make things fair. Instead of White Southerners allowing the system to take its course, they took matters in their own hands and demand that the jail release the black prisoners at once. If the jail refused to release the black prisoner to them, these White folks would start rallying, marching, protesting and even causing a little mayhem. If that didn’t work, they would use the local media to put even more pressure on the courts to speed up their guilty verdict. If the courts was still taking too long, then White folks would panic and start creating bigger lies and making up conspiracy theories in order to rile up more Whites in the communities. What usually worked the best was conspiracies involving WHITE WOMEN. Nevertheless, if the courts still refused to give up the Black prisoner, the Whites would eventually get completely fed up and start storming the jail. When they finally got a hold of the brother, they will take him to the nearest tree and…well….you know the rest.
What makes our actions any different from those racist White folks? Instead of being satisfied that the media and government is paying more attention to these matters of police brutality, we would rather push them to send the federal cavalry into all police stations and go gangbusters on so called white supremacist cops. Like it or not, we have become the people we despised the most. We have mastered the art of lynching, but instead of using the rope, social media has become our judge, jury and executioner.
We too automatically assume every white cop is racist and guilty. We too start rallying, the picketing, the marching, the protesting and start an occasional rioting in hopes that we put more pressure on the courts to hurry up and find this white cop guilty. When they don’t move fast enough, we then turn to the media who usually don’t mind the ratings boost and start race-baiting the hell out of this story. If the courts still don’t move fast enough and find these white cops guilty, we then turned to social media and post the most asinine memes, corny hashtags, and pointless catchphrases that do nothing but dilute the facts. Resulting in making black folks angrier and creating divisions within the black community. If the courts still don’t find these so-called racist guilty, then we resort to scare-tactics such as posting the most extreme cases of historical racism of the past 500 years that’s not even connected with this case…#RememberBlackWallStreet. If we still don’t get what we want, then we really become desperate and start creating the most ridiculous conspiracy theories imaginable.
The truth is that we have become so used to receiving justice the wrong way that we don’t understand how to go about it the right way. We have been given justice by the wrong people for the wrong reason for so long that we don’t have a clue on how actual due process works. The key word here is PROCESS, which indicates that it may take a certain amount of time. Real justice takes TIME. We push for the government to do their investigation on the Sandra Bland case. Now we are forced to WAIT. Not only do we have to wait on Waller County to finish their investigation (which is already completed as of today), but now we have to wait on the state of Texas, the DOJ, and Sandra Bland family’s independent autopsy.
All of this just for the Texas States Attorney office to summon a grand jury to see if this is even worth taking to trial (which they are not). Even if someone was charged, we still have to wait a few years for the jury to reach their verdict and even that’s 50/50. What I’m saying is that American justice is SLOW. American justice is like heating your food in the oven. If Black America wants MICROWAVE JUSTICE, we have to put the work in ourselves.
Like the White folks who terrorized our communities, Black folks ain’t got not time fo’ this shit. We want justice! When do we want it? NOW!! Then maybe real justice isn’t what we want. Instead of innocent to proven guilty, we want the courts to hurry their asses up and find these officer’s guilty so we can see them hang. Sound familiar? If that’s the case, we don’t want justice at all. WE WANT REVENGE. But unlike those racist white folks, most of us are too pussy to do it ourselves. So you think the government will for us? You think that the US Government will treat their own people like shit for nigga’s sake? Get real people.
Sadly my brothers and sisters, unless your name is Ossama Bin Laden, the government is not in the business of vengeance. If Black America wants revenge for Sandra Bland, Black Americans are going to have to get revenge their damn selves. Don’t expect White America to do it for us. Most of them either don’t care or are only interested in making a name for themselves.
With that said, you can’t expect the United States government to implement Jim Crow-style justice in the Civil Rights age. It just ain’t gonna happen people! We are better off just waiting thing out and plan our next move (https://instagram.com/p/5hYHeclaGI/). Meanwhile, we need to find realistic ways to better prepare our people for the world that we actually live in and not the world that we dream of. Otherwise, the more we keep running to incident after tragic incident, our struggle is only going get worse and worse.
With that said, her death was unfortunate and unnecessary. Rest in peace Ms. Sandra Bland. Your death will not be in vein. It has definitely sparked something in this country.