“I don’t want you to get ‘shooted.’”
That’s what a four-year-old Black child on July 6, 2016 at 9:20 p.m. told her handcuffed mother- the courageous and composed Diamond Reynolds- while they were seated in the rear of a patrol car after a Minnesota police officer had fired seven shots into a vehicle wherein Philando Castile was the driver as the three of them were on a summertime family outing. Despite Castile’s total compliance with the law and with the cop’s orders, the cop killed him anyway. And he did it with that child in Castile’s back seat. In fact, one of his seven fired bullets passed through the driver’s seat and nearly hit the child, coming just a few inches from where she was seated. Stop and think about that for a minute.
Because The Philadelphia Tribune is a reputable and respected newspaper, I’m not going to say what I’m thinking. If I did, it would demean this dignified and historic Black publication by being full of unrestrained profanity. Not only did the cop kill an innocent Black man with an innocent Black woman present- but more important- he did it with a defenseless child present. Once again, stop and think about that for a minute.
After Castile was victimized by that cop’s inhuman and murderous callousness, he was killed a second time- with his family being traumatized a second time- when a jury of ten racist whites and two traitorous Blacks on June 16 incredibly and outrageously acquitted the cop of all charges, which included one count of manslaughter and two counts of intentionally discharging a firearm that endangers safety.
James Baldwin once said, “To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” I am Black and I am conscious. That’s why I’m enraged. And that rage has caused me to justifiably hate America. Although I have literally hundreds of reasons for hating this country, I’ll list just 25 right now:
1. The killing of Castile, the endangerment of his family, and the verdict of the jury
2. The 571 persons killed by police in 2017 so far (with many more to come within the next six months), the 1,161 in 2016, the 1,216 in 2015, and the several thousands of others during the past ten years and earlier
3. The invasion by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and the resulting genocide- including the Trail of Tears from 1830 through 1839- of more than 100 million Red men, women, and children through the early 1900s
4. Slavery from 1619-1865
5. The 27 slave-holding/slave-shipping/slave-investing Founding Fathers among the 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776
6. July Fourth from 1776-1865
7. The Naturalization Act of 1790 that restricted immigration to “white persons” and excluded people of color
8. The pro-slavery Star-Spangled Banner written in 1814 by slaveholder Francis Scott Key and adopted as the national anthem in 1931
9. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that “Blacks have no rights that whites are bound to respect” in the 1857 Dred Scott case
10. The clause in the 13th Amendment of 1865 that legalized the unjust imprisonment of formerly enslaved Blacks and also led to today’s mass incarceration
11. The Black Codes, sharecropping, and convict leasing, all beginning in 1865
12. The Jim Crow era from 1877-1954 (and later)
13. The 4,743 documented lynchings from 1882-1968 and many more that remain undocumented
14. The fact that more Blacks are being killed each week by police (about 2.0) than were lynched each week by mobs (about 1.25) from 1882-1890
15. The U.S. government’s redlining from 1934-1962 when it authorized $120 billion in federal home loans exclusively to whites in order to create good neighborhoods for them, while creating ghettos for Blacks
16. And the substandard education resulting from the aforementioned redlining since property taxes fund local schools
17. And the high unemployment resulting from the aforesaid substandard education since bad schools result in rejected job applications
18. The internment of nearly 130,000 Japanese Americans in ten concentration camps from 1942-1946
19. California’s Mulford Act of 1967 that was designed to ban the Black Panthers from publicly carrying arms to defend themselves and their communities
20. Stop & Frisk
21. Hurricane Katrina and defective levees in New Orleans resulting in nearly 2,000 deaths in 2005
22. The ongoing Flint, Michigan poison water crisis since 2014
23. This racist, sexist, misogynistic, classist, Islamophobic, and homophobic country’s election of a racist, sexist, misogynistic, classist, Islamophobic, and homophobic fake president in 2016
24. This country’s warmongering for 224 years since it was founded 241 years ago in 1776, which equals 93 percent of its existence up to and including 2017
25. Still no reparations as of 2017
I know that many racist whites will say, “America- love it or leave it.” In response, I’ll say, “I will leave it. But first, pay Black folks the $59.2 trillion you owe us for the forced labor of our enslaved ancestors. Second, return the 2.3 billion acres of land you stole from the indigenous people. And three, go back to Europe since you were never invited here anyway.”
For the 25 reasons I listed, as well as many more, I hate America. But I love that little four-year-old Black girl. And I will fight- by any means necessary- to make sure that she and all Black children (as well as Black adults) “don’t get ‘shooted’” by racist cops who are acquitted by racist juries and protected by racist judges in this racist country.