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.
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!!"