Tag Archives: Michael Slager

IF ONLY BLACK MEN COULD BECOME WHITE WOMEN, THEIR ALLEGATIONS REGARDING POLICE MISCONDUCT WOULD SURELY BE BELIEVED

One of the more amazing issues revolving around the numerous women who have publicly charged a series of powerful men with diabolical acts of sexual violence is the willingness of a sympathetic public to lean toward believing the shocking, almost incredulous allegations. Although you can most certainly count me in that number that believes the alluded to allegations that reveal the horrors these women have experienced at the hand of powerful men, it is somewhat frightening that such allegations are akin to unflappable evidence that is not to be questioned.

Oh, how I wish that African-American men had it so easy.

Although the above assertion flows from a host of events, at this present moment the recent conviction and sentencing of Michael Slager, a disgraced North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer who a federal judge sentenced to 20 years in prison for a crime committed on April 4, 2015 is most prominently on my mind.

In the alluded to case, Judge David Norton ultimately considered Slager’s shooting of an unarmed fleeing Walter Scott a case of second-degree murder, not a lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter. Evidence presented at the trial proved that Slager fired his weapon 8 times at the fleeing and defenseless Scott, 5 of those salvos entered the victim’s body. During the sentencing, Judge Norton related that his sentencing was partially driven by the fact that Slager obstructed justice by issuing inaccurate statements to fellow law enforcement officers regarding the murder.

One is hard-pressed to find any reasonable defense for Slager whose interactions with the now deceased Scott began with him pulling the victim’s vehicle over for a broken rear brake light. If the threshold for proving one’s case were the same for African-American men as it is for the series of women who have come forth and issued shocking sexual allegations, the killing of Walter Scott would have been an open and shut case. However, as any member of Black America will tell you, things are never that easy when it comes to America and black men. Hence, I was not surprised when those who prosecuted the case related that if there had been no video evidence of the murder, charges would have never been filed against the now disgraced officer.

Unlike the series of women who have emerged and had their allegations of sexual impropriety against powerful men believed prior to verification, the threshold African-Americans in general, black males in particular, must meet when issuing any charges against “law enforcement officers” is unconscionably high. In fact, there have been many occasions where the presence of video footage of officers shooting down an unarmed and defenseless black man failed to meet that threshold.

Although it could be argued that the conviction of Michael Slager for 2nd Degree Murder is a step in the right direction, in actuality this conviction brings neither justice nor solace for Walter Scott’s loved ones. Justice would only begin at the moment that Walter Scott emerges from the grave and Slager takes his place, anything short of that is a far-cry from justice.

Unfortunately for black men, they remain the prey of rogue law enforcement officers and undervalued by an American populace who discount even video evidence regarding the misconduct of law enforcement officers. One would be hard-pressed to find a single African-American man who believes that such maligning and mistrust of the American public regarding black men is a fixture of this nation that has no expiration date. That’s just the way that it is in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

How Silence in the face of Racial Injustice Makes the Entire White Race Guilty of the Crime in Black Minds

I am quite certain that the family of Walter Scott, the African-American man who was shot in the back while fleeing from former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager, walter-scott-1realized that the struggle to get some level of ‘justice’ through the American criminal justice system would be nearly impossible. They not only engaged this system that has historically proven to be non-responsive to the needs and issues of Black America, especially where it involves white law enforcement officers, but also have emerged with their pride and dignity in the face of what can only be considered an unconscionable defeat.

After nearly a full week of deliberating this matter, the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision. Making the jury’s failure incredulous is that the April 4th, 2015, murder was captured on video; leaving no doubt that Michael Slager needlessly fired several bullets into Walter Scott as he attempted to flee.

Sadly, I do not think that any American, regardless of their racial or ethnic identity is shocked that a jury with eleven whites failed to return with a guilty verdict. I am quite confident that the verdict was less of a shock to whites than their African-American counterparts. I assert this for one simple reason; there is no doubt that whites know their people at a level that African-Americans will never come close to understanding, after all, we are not present to hear the real contents of their hearts when they are speaking behind closed doors.

If African-Americans would only take a moment to reflect upon the frequently closed door conversations that we have regarding American racial matters, it would make sense that whites have similar conversations. Dare I say that these conversations regarding race issues occur far more frequently among that community than they do among an African-American populace that often dismissively sums up their view of their racial opponents with short quips such as “that’s white folk for you.”

To be honest, one of my greatest frustrations regarding ‘good white folk’ michael-slageris that they frequently display an extraordinary patience with the worst elements of their populace for the sake of decorum and respectability. It is this tendency to “stay above board” and not get into the gutter with a vocal minority that provides African-Americans with the evidence needed to characterize white folks as monolithic on Race matters. Anger and disappointment frequently prevent African-Americans from differentiating ‘good white folk’ from those other segments of their community.

Although it may be difficult for you to believe, I do not think that all white folk is involved in either a conspiracy or a hunt to hurt, harm, and malign African-Americans. Life has taught me that there is significant diversity to be found among the white community in regards to racial matters; I know of a white colleague who has displayed the courage to publicly state that the source of racism is the white community.

It is that courage ‘to speak truth to power’ that is often missing from the white community. In those moments when a vocal minority is expressing disagreeable views and concepts into public spaces, they remain silent and thereby open themselves up to being guilty by association.

I hope that you agree that it is time for ‘good white folk’ to be as public and forthright in their denouncement of prejudice and discrimination as their misguided brethren are committed to doing the opposite.

Good white folk needs to heed the advice of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass who advised his fellow countrymen “For it’s not light that is needed, but fire; it’s not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind and the earthquake in our hearts.”

Roll, Thunder, Roll.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016

#BlackLivesMatter……Sometimes

Nigga feelin’ hopeless

Starin’ at the idiot box, riddle me this

If a killer was a nigga would niggas still really care?

Cause niggas worser than Zimmerman livin’ life everywhere

-Wale

These lyrics are from Washington, D.C.,  based hip hop artist Wale’s song “The Pessimist” . This song tackles a few of the most pressing issues threatening African-American’s existence. The song’s most thought provoking moment occurs when Wale openly questions the actions of his indigenous community. Wale inquires if some even care about the pressing issue of murder as they only react when a Black Life is lost at the hands of whites. Considering the consistent occurrence of black-on-black violence, I believe this to be a particularly notable query.

With the recent murder of unarmed  Walter Scott Jr., at the hands of white police officer Michael Slager, the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been Black 4reinvigorated. While the African American community is well within its right to express righteous indignation when Black life falls unjustifiably at the hands of a white police officer, however, what bothers me is the reality that during the same weekend that Mr. Scott was murdered by a white police officer, there were 5 Blacks in Chicago who fell at the hand of a fellow African-American; bringing the Windy City’s 2015 murder count to 99.  Last year, 420 murders occurred in Chicago, the vast majority of the victims, and perpetrators were African-American. Unfortunately for Black Chicagoan’s, there was no national outcry. Most troubling is the reality that indifference to black-on-black homicide is relatively standard for today’s African-American community.

According to the FBI, over 90 percent of African-American homicides were committed by black offenders. In contrast, only 6 percent of black murder victims were slain by Whites. It is perfectly reasonable, understandable, and justified for the  African American community to rally against white officers senselessly murdering black citizens behind the banner of Black Lives Matter. However, it is unconscionably hypocritical for the same individuals to ignore much more frequent occurrences of black-on-black homicides.

Black activists and community leaders appear foolish when they express unfiltered outrage at the death’s of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown, Black 2while remaining silent in regards to the murder of Black men, women, and children by African-American offenders at a rate that would make George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn, and Darren Wilson shake their heads in disbelief. If the African-American community is not careful, it runs the risk of endorsing the belief that Black Lives ONLY Matter when they are extinguished by whites.

Put simply, African Americans lackadaisical  reaction to  black-on-black crime must cease immediately. I am of the opinion that we should oppose all crime regardless of the perpetrators race/ethnicity. In the end, unnecessary death is unnecessary death, regardless of the culprit’s race/ethnicity. It is only by vigilantly opposing every manifestation of murder that I will ever be convinced that Black Lives Matter. Until that occurs, I will hold fast to my fervent belief that Black Lives Matter, Sometimes.

Alexander Goodwin

#ManhoodRaceCulture

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015.

CHRISTMAS IN APRIL: WHY I AM MAILING OUT THE ‘PERFECT GIFT’ THIS WEEK

It is only by living life that we truly understand the phenomenal influence that our loved ones who have gone onto glory have had upon us; an influence that undoubtedly continues until our transition into another life. The influence that I am referring to in this piece is undoubtedly my beloved mother, Kathryn V. Jones. I am continually amazed at how she has influenced me in every aspect of my life from my worldview to my commitment of ‘paying forward’ countless opportunities and acts of kindness. Oftentimes, my mother’s influence appears in some of the most unexpected ways; such as my shopping for Christmas gifts throughout the year for those that I consider worthy of a gift; and believe me, that list changes on a moment-by-moment basis. One misstep and your name will be removed from the list.

Experience has taught me that finding the perfect gift is an arduous task as everyone has different wants, needs, desires, etc. I have also learned that when an idea for the ‘perfect gift’ appears I should act swiftly and decisively. Strangely the inspiration for the ‘perfect gift’ often comes from unexpected places. For example, this year I have been inspired for the first time ever to purchase all of my loved ones the exact same gift; and if you are so lucky to be on that list this is your notification that I will be mailing these gifts out ASAP. Not because I am seeking to break any longstanding traditions, rather, I have very real concerns that this gift could very well prove to be lifesaving.

Now I hope that your interest is piqued regarding what the gift is. However, I would first like to reveal the inspiration for this ‘perfect gift’. The inspiration for the gift is none other than the roguish law enforcement agencies and officers that patrol America’s streets in a manner that is eerily similar to an out of control street gang. So with that in mind, this year’s ‘perfect gift’ for all of the men, women, teenagers, children, and infants that I love, will be a bullet proof vest and two body cameras, one for the front and one for the rear.

Although I was on the fence regarding what this year’s ‘perfect gift’ would be, the murder of Walter Scott Jr., a 50-year-old South Carolinian, as he tried to escape Police Officer Fatal Shootingwhat he appropriately deemed certain death at the hands of officer Michael Slager. Slager alleges that he stopped Scott because of a broken brake light. By the time this minor traffic stop concluded, Slager was seen discharging his weapon at the fleeing Scott. Slager alleges that he feared that the fleeing Scott, who had taken his stun gun away from him, would somehow manage to kill him. However, one of the two videos that have surfaced of the incident show Scott fleeing for his life, Slager aiming and firing his weapon eight times, than handcuffing the fallen victim before returning to retrieve what appears to be a stun gun and throwing it next to the murder victim. Had it not been for the video tape, Slager’s account, the only account as Scott was killed during the incident, would have undoubtedly led to his being cleared by Internal Affairs.

I hope that all of those who will soon receive their ‘perfect gift’ of bullet proof vests and two body cameras in the mail from me as early Christmas gifts will understand my thinking. Put simply, I am sending this early Christmas gift immediately because if you are Black in America you need these things with you at all times. Otherwise, you may not be around to celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, or any other religious/cultural celebration. And I would hate to have that occur, because I do love you.

James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race & Culture, 2015