Category Archives: Crime

What Black America should do about the Acquittal of Betty Shelby

Although I am certainly not desensitized to this predictable pattern of unarmed black men having their lives extinguished by white law enforcement officer’s who are then exonerated by a jury; however, if I were a betting man, I do know where I would place my bet when such cases occur. Desensitized I am not, cynical about the entire process, most certainly.

The recent acquittal of Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer Betty Shelby for the shooting of unarmed Terence Crutcher is unsurprising. I, along with the vast majority of black America, long ago abandoned any faith in this nation’s criminal justice system. If nothing else, the repetitious nature of these cases proves that African-American lives are in peril by a tyrannical white majority encamped around them. Put simply, from the moment of their arrival under the control of Europeans, persons of African descent have always existed under a unique set of rules and regulations. Although they have consciously chosen to avoid the obvious solution to their unique problems, the truth behind African-American liberation is relatively simple; unless they do something definitive, their position as second-class citizens will never come to an end.

Let’s be honest; we have seen this traveling play of a white officer using lethal violence against an unarmed black man so often that the script has become formulaic. Consider the following order of events and see if it does not reflect the sordid tale behind the killings of a host of black men,

  • African-American male has a random encounter with a white officer.
  • For the white officer, the conflict with this unknown African-American male began long before this encounter as the law enforcement officer’s socialization and training have preloaded him with copious amounts of prejudicial thoughts and stereotypical views.
  • White law enforcement officers pre-existing thoughts facilitate an uncontrollable fear that leads to their adoption of a “shoot first and ask questions later.”
  • White officer kills unarmed and defenseless black male
  • The criminal investigation leads to the officer being charged by a District Attorney whose actions are strategic maneuvers not to secure a conviction, rather appease an angered black populace whose only means of responding to injustice is burning down their community.
  • The White officer is acquitted of the crime.
  • The victim remains dead.
  • The family and loved one’s, along with notable black celebrities, oops I meant leaders, crying foul on CNN and MSNBC.
  • Black activists aspiring to displace national level leaders on CNN and MSNBC lead their community in unproductive protests that allow them to achieve little more than blowing off steam, talk tough to whites who are not present to hear their rhythmic lamentations, and then allow their followers to return to mundane lives that are heavily monitored by the same law enforcement authorities that caused the problem in the first place.
  • African-American male has a random encounter with a white officer; I am sure that you recognize the cycle.

In many ways, the pattern of black men being murdered by white officers has proven to be a reoccurring situation that neither national level black leaders nor grassroots oriented protest movements have been able to ameliorate. The alluded to ineffectiveness guarantees that black men will continue to be murdered in American streets by white law enforcement authorities. If nothing else, one would expect for black activists to abandon failed strategies and move toward the formulation of new strategy.

Obviously, there is no other path forward than the abandonment of an activist tradition of black leaders’ behaving as ambulance chasing lawyers seeking clients. As has been mentioned before in this space, but also from Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington, Minister Farrakhan, and a host of other thinkers across the past two centuries, African-Americans must cease “traditional” activist pursuits and turn their attention toward the organization of disorganized and dormant political currency.

The alluded to path forward must include:

  • An unparalleled dedication to destroying the following illiteracies within our community.
    • Political
    • Cultural
    • Historical
    • Economic
  • The development of unprecedented group solidarity in regards to politics and economics.
  • A significant increase in the black community’s financial support of independent black schools.
  • The development of understanding between the need to support black businesses and the responsibilities of black business owners to support the community.
  • An abandonment of reactionary politics.

There is quite simply no other path forward for African-Americans. The time for serious definitive action passed long ago; it is time that we forge a new reality in the present as preparation for a glorious future.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

Steven Stephens: A 20th Century Bigger Thomas? (Black America’s Native Son)

Experience has taught me to expect the inquiry regardless of the venue or situation. Whether while being interviewed or in the aftermath of an exhilarating lecture regarding the dilemmas facing African-American males, someone will ask “What is the greatest issue confronting the black male today?” To the chagrin of interviewers and audience members, my answer to this poignant query is never singular as the foremost problems facing African-American males revolves around mutually reinforcing issues of mental illness and their adoption, due to both socialization and their environs, of what can only be termed a toxic manhood that possesses the ability destroy all that they contact.

The wicked cocktail of mental illness and toxic manhood is the only explanation for the actions of Steven Stephens, the African-American male who not only murdered Robert Goodwin Sr. (74), a defenseless elderly black male on a Cleveland, Ohio, street, but also uploaded his heinous crime onto Facebook. Although Black America reacted with horror to Stephens’ diabolical actions, the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of us know several black males whose existence mirrors that of Steven Stephens; a personable individual, who on the surface fails to exhibit the wear-and-tear of being black in America publicly, yet is privately straining under the weight of being a have not in the land of plenty. The alluded to frustrations feeds directly into the dawning of a daunting query of “Is life worth living?” Such internal strife has reverberating repercussions for all around them. Unfortunately, it appears that the appropriate motto for disassembled black communities in every inner-city may very well be “A place where life is not worth living.”

Considering the mantra that “you cannot change what you do not acknowledge,” it is past time Black America shed their thread-bare lie of being shocked by regarding the actions and activities of the Steven Stephens found within their environs. If we were serious about improving our community, we would stop feigning ignorance and acknowledge that we have normalized public indecency and uncivilized behavior toward within the black community. It is not accidental that Steven Stephens murdered another black man as a means of expressing his frustrations at the two black women to whom he was closest, his mother and a former fiancé.

It is imperative that we not miss this opportunity to at least examine, if not address the cause of the development of angry, brash, illogical, directionless, socially inappropriate African-American males whose moral compass is a toxic manhood possessing more power to destroy themselves and their community than Hurricane Katrina. We must face facts that figures such as Steven Stephens are a reflection of who we have become as a community; cold, distant, foreign to one another, combustible, and dangerous to ourselves. When considered in this light, it is clear that today’s troubled African-American male is a modern-day Bigger Thomas, meaning Black America’s Native Son. Such individuals reflect the frustrations, contradictions, and sadness that has been comfortably situated in our hearts for so long that we no longer notice its presence. For better or for worse, it is who we have become to each other.

And for that reason, we should all weep.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017.

WHAT BLACK AMERICA SHOULD DO ABOUT THE 2 LITTLE BLACK GIRLS RECENTLY SHOT IN THE HEAD IN CHICAGO

As you well know, I have used this space to offer what I presume to be intelligent commentary regarding issues facing the African-American community. Although I would like to say that I rarely come across problems that infuriate me to the point that I have to tell many of my contemporaries to “shut the hell up!” The truth of the matter is that I frequently have such confrontations with other African-Americans who seek to offer excuses that explain away the deplorable behavior of many within our community that has consciously chosen to act uncivilized.

It saddens me to know that the plentiful reasons that seemingly sensible law-abiding African-Americans employ to excuse a lawless and immoral “ends justify the means” culture that has made many African-American communities analogous to war zones are omnipresent. Although the alluded to individuals may be well-meaning in their efforts to defend the criminal-minded in our midst, the truth of the matter is that their inability to stand on the side of righteousness reeks of cowardice.

It is the weakness mentioned above that serves as a crucial part of the wicked formula that led to the shooting of Takiya Holmes and Kanari Bowers, ages 11 and 12, in the head this past weekend in Chicago. Bowers was struck by a bullet while playing with friends at a playground, while a shot hit Holmes while riding in the backseat of a vehicle; law enforcement authorities attribute both shootings to stray bullets. Recent medical reports state that both of these children are in area hospitals in critical condition. Police report that there are no suspects in either of the shootings.

I long ago concluded that it was the time for African-Americans to realize that there are several different types of persons of African descent living in our communities. There are law-abiding, progressive African-Americans who are seeking to improve not only their lives but also those of others in their community ‘by any reasonable, honest means necessary.’ In many ways, the aspirations of this segment of Black America are indistinguishable from their counterparts of other races and ethnicities. They are in many ways pursuing the American dream via hard work and commitment to excellence within the confines of a beloved community. Unfortunately for Black America, the population mentioned above is not the only community found in our midst.

There is another sizable population within our midst that is not only hyper-aggressive but also determined to gain possession of material goods ‘by any means necessary.’ Trust me when I say that such people are devoid of a moral compass, a sense of decency, or any consideration for their fellow man, even if they share the same racial classification. It is a person from this segment of Black America that is responsible for not only the shootings of the two children in Chicago this weekend but also the vast majority of the carnage and criminality that occurs within our so-called community on a minute-by-minute basis.

As I have repeatedly stated in this space, it is the time for this cancerous element that no one on the face of the planet Earth desires to associate with is separated from our midst ‘by any means necessary.’ I pray that those within our community who exerted their energy and time protesting the latest Presidential election would turn their attention to removing what can only be termed a scourge from the black community. Trust me when I say to you that the disappearance of a population that can only be termed black barbarians would have a much more significant impact than any other occurrence.

In the words of Marcus Garvey, “Up You Mighty Race Achieve What You Will!!!!!” Even if it means cleaning up your communities “By Any Means Necessary.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017.