Open Season…


Dec. 3, 2014 (San Diego) The Grand Jury in New York came with a no indicting ove the Eric Garner death. Unlike Ferguson, Missouri, this case had video. There was no doubt in anybody’s mind that the officer did strangle Eric Garner, who did gasp for air and said he could not breath. The DA in this case will also release the Grand Jury documents, which will give the rest of us insight into what was going through their mind.

There is one word that comes to mind. One word that has become a constant in Mexico after the Ayotzinapa events, but applies to the United States as well. This is the word impunity. It seems that there is nothing that can be said, or done, that will lead to the conviction of a white officer when a person of color dies.

This has to stop. Stopping people becuase they happen to have a higher melanin content and they are driving in the “wrong neighborhood” has to stop. Mothers and fathers having to have the talk, with their children, because they risk death when they keep their hands in their pockets when it is cold.  This has to stop. The impunity of the system that allows this to continue to happen needs to become unacceptable.

Some of this will be helped with body cameras, and dash cams. This will bring some accountability to officers who feel they can do whatever they want because the courts have sent a clear message: If you are a white police officer and you kill a person of color, you will be ok. Some of this is technological, but technology does not deal with the cultural underlying aspects of this  The cameras do not deal with the fear of the black man, or the latino man in our society. It does not deal at all with the fears of miscegenation as old as the rise of slavery as a permanent institution in the United States.

Impunity needs to become the word of the day. The racial prejudice that taints every contact between law enforcement, at also with the wider white community.

White privilege is very real. It is obvious when you look at cases like this. If the person under the police officer who died, had been white, I am willing to bet that the contact would not have happened to begin with. The fact is, that I don’t have to have that conversation with my nephews. I do not have to tell them to walk with their hands outside their pockets, becuase in their pockets they might scare people I do not have to fear youth going to the corner store for skittles and tea and be gunned down, and a jury trying the victim, not the perpetrator.

I also do not have to worry about them, they are at that prime age when people who are of color are stopped more often than not, that they will not come home. The only crime people of color have committed is a genetic lottery. Our society has not become post racial, as some would like it to be. Children the age of my nephews who live in minority communities aso attend substandard schools, and are harassed by police.

It is not that the police are doing this because they are mean. (Ok there is some of that), They are doing this as a reflection of the values of the wider society that still fears people of color. So it is time for people who are chiefly white to confront history, and how people of color have been seen as objects since the dawn of slavery.

So what should we expect? Politicians are calling for the Department of Justice to be involved. Yes that is very good and well. What we should all expect is for this new civil rights movement to take once against to the streets. Yes, more civil disobedience is coming your way. If  you thought this was going to stop, it won’t, not until we take real steps.

Black and brown lives matter. All lives matter. The word of the day is impunity, and it needs to stop.

Twitter: @nadinbrzezinski

Facebook: Reporting San Diego

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Categories: analysis, civil rights, Eric Garner, Ferguson

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