Friday, January 9, 2009

Upcoming Cheney interiew - more racial symbolism over substance

I saw a clip of Wolf Blitzer's upcoming interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney to air Sunday at 11 a.m. In it, Mr. Cheney spoke about how much we've progressed racially since he came to Washington in the 60s.

He said, "When I came to Washington, we'd had Kennedy assassinated, Martin Luther King assassinated and riots in the streets. Things have changed so dramatically that now, we're preparing to swear in Barack Obama as President of the United States. " (emphasis mine)

Let's be clear, I agree with him - things have changed racially in this country. But I'm not lying to myself that Obama's selection is a reflection of that. If you want to feel that way, go right ahead. But rather than showing how far we've come, I think the former Vice President's statement does more to starkly point out how far we still have to go.

The tragic irony of his statement is that, as I sit in Washington:
  • It seems 22 year-old, Adolph Grimes III was assassinated on January 1, 2009 - shot by police, twice from the front and 12 times from the back (a total of 48 bullets were fired according to CNN). Grimes did have a gun - with a legal permit to carry. Now you have to ask yourself, what you would do if you're sitting in your car in New Orleans right after the New Year rolled in and plainclothes policemen pulled up in unmarked vehicles and surround your car with guns drawn - and you have a weapon with a permit to carry. Details are sketchy because the NOPD's not answering a lot of questions right now. Good idea since they've given two versions of what happened.

  • It seems 22 year-old, Oscar Grant was assassinated on January 1, 2009 - shot by a Bay Area Transportation police officer in the back.

  • Witnesses say police handcuffed Grant after he'd been shot, but removed the cuffs right before news reporters arrived. The officer has resigned, is at home and will speak to no one on advice of legal counsel. And there was rioting in the streets.

No, neither of these men were political or spiritual leaders, but their lives mattered - to someone.
UPDATE: I just had to say this. Sitting here watching Don Lemon on CNN as they "focus" on these shootings (and that of Bobby Tolan) in their Special Investigations series. He starts out by saying, "What is going on with all these police shootings!" (emphasis his) as if they just started happening. It took his white guest, B.J. Bernstein (she was Genarlow Wilson's defense attorney), to say, "This is not new, it happens to 1 in 4 African-American males all the time." Then he switches to the Grimes shooting and asks her if given all the crime in New Orleans after Katrina, are the police a little touchy or are the shootings warranted! I guess he realized what he said, because then he added, "not that anybody's death is warranted." Christ!!! Just because CNN just started "focusing" on young Black men being gunned down by police, doesn't mean it just started happening. It's times like these that I just have to holler Zora's words: "All my skinfolks, ain't my kinfolks!!"


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately in the case of Grimes there was no video and the police have had plenty of time to taint the evidence by firing the gun to show they where fired at first, black people of New Orleans, California and everywhere else need to get serious about knowing that they are the target of the police, perhaps they need to target the police, that is the only way that police will know that they can't shoot unarmed handcuffed blacks while they lay face down on the ground.

Deb said...

Anonymous...I feel you, I really, really do. But before I say anything, let me say that targeting the police will only get us all killed.

They out-gun us, they have our very broken judicial system on their side and they have a bed already reserved for us in the prison industrial complex, based on 3rd grade standardized test scores, if we so much as sneeze. We will not win that way.

You mention the lack of video in the Grimes case. That is definitely an easy weapon to use - everybody got a cell phone right? I'm sure he had one too. Something I'm always sure to do is to hit the "record memo" or the camera button on my phone and sit it in my lap if I'm pulled over. Some record of any confrontation is beter than no record at all.

What we need to do, as you said, is realize where we still are - as a people - in relation to police, becoming our own agents of change.

We must target ourselves - by not voting for local, state and federal candidates with no proven record of looking out for our interests, who have stood by - time after time - and done nothing. Stop supporting people who do not support you - even if they look like you.

We need to target ourselves - knowing the law and using it against them when they abuse their power (kind of like Blagojevich appointing Burris!). Here's a great site started by Genarlow Wilson and his attorney:

We need to target ourselves - realizing we are worthy of better treatment and demanding it.

We need to target ourselves - not throwing away our own so easily because they don't fit into the box the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy has drawn for them, letting them know we will stand with them as they try to figure it all out.

We don't need any of the publicity pimps speaking for us. We can speak for ourselves. The internet is a revolutionary tool. We need to galvanize and use it (computers are free at the library).

I don't have all the answers - maybe none. But one thing I know for sure, we have got to do something differently. Let's keep in touch. Maybe we can come up with something.

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

Don't forget this one, althought Tolan is not dead yet, he is lying in the hospital with a bullet in his liver.

Deb said...

Kitty...I decided not to include him in this post, because he wasn't dead. But you're right - same shit, different day.

ea said...

Stop supporting people who do not support you - even if they look like you.

A perfect statement. The other side:

Support people who support you -- even if they don't look like you.

Deb said...

ea...You are absolutely right!

Anonymous said...

ea and Deb ... I'm with you.

Deb said...

Anonymous...Welcome and come back anytime! Glad to hear some of us are on the same page!

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