FinalCall.com News Editorial
(FinalCall.com) – Sharply drawn racial lines in America have clearly marked the different worlds and shaped the experiences and expectations of Blacks and Whites in the United States.
The suffering inflicted on Blacks started with our capture in Africa and continued through the horror of the Middle Passage and our arrival on land soaked with the blood of the Indigenous people. The oppression, mistreatment and murder of Blacks was codified under law–the Constitution, the founding document of the country, injected the subhuman status of Blacks in the political lifeblood of the nation. Black people were declared three-fifths of a human being and that was only in relation to the political power and advantages to be given to their slave masters.
With the Dred Scott decision of 1857, it was emphatically declared a Black man had no rights a White man was bound to respect. Once again the courts and the legal system upheld and ensured the second-class status of Black people with Jim Crow laws, housing contracts, country club rules and local ordinances.
But beyond reinforcement of a view and an attitude was law enforcement, local police and sheriff’s departments, who overtly and covertly kept Blacks in their place and asserted the power and authority of Whites in society.
The legally sanctioned abuse of Blacks didn’t happen over a single decade or a century but over several centuries, embedding a disrespect for Black lives and rights into the very fabric of the so-called legal system and its guardians. As was so aptly stated on a sign during protests against the Los Angeles Police Department following the riots after the beating of Rodney King by police officers: The job of the force was to serve, protect and “break a brother’s neck.”
The use of domestic law enforcement as goon squads is nothing new for Black people, who were terrorized by sheriffs in the South and brutalized on the watch of police chiefs in the North. Stories of beatings, shakedowns, rapes and robberies are common in major cities. Accounts of police scandals and crooked cops that took over drug rings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit and elsewhere bear witness to the problems of racism, corruption and injustice.
If a society despises and hates a people is it surprising that those with the literal power of life and death and control of entry into the criminal justice system would not reflect that hatred? In a society where any n—-r will do when a price must be paid for a violation of law or tradition that offends Whites, is it any surprise that the children of America’s slaves–like their foreparents–would be subjected to torture by those with badges and uniforms?
Lawyers and Black men in Chicago say there is a legacy of torture under former police Commander Jon Burge, which went on for 20 years. Victims say they were beaten, suffocated, choked, punched, had weapons pointed at their heads and stuffed in their mouths to extract confessions. Cattle prods were used to shock them and assault their private parts. They suffered in prison for decades for crimes they say they did not commit and are haunted by the terror of their tormentors and life lost behind bars.
All of this in the land that touts human rights protections for others and demands that other nations in the world respect the rights of minorities and end oppression. The hypocrisy of American society knows no limit. The constant desire to look outside of herself for leaders and nations to demonize only blinds the country to her own sorry moral state.
Blacks have suffered every rights violation that the United States would punish other nations for–from discrimination in hiring and jobs, deprivation of health care and denial of education, genocidal policies designed to control an unwanted population and torture at the hands of those charged with the responsibility to give justice.
Justice has been and remains far off and in the ghettos of America, Blacks and Latinos are often terrorized by police officers whose mindset reflects the society that indoctrinated them–this is the real hate that hate produced. How else would one justify torturing another human being, delighting in their pain and extracting a confession for a crime as opposed to finding out the truth of a crime?
“For 400 years, we have served you with our labor, sweat and blood, the lash of your whip, your killings, lynching and burning of our innocent Black flesh, without even a hearing in a court of justice, nor even our murderers being punished. Although we are marched before your enemies, and there we pour out our lives for the freedom of your wives, children and your country, we return home to meet an even worse enemy. We are hated and kicked out in certain places like an ‘unwanted dog’ who has caught the game but was not given a taste of it (only that which the hunter could not and should not eat himself). The dog, being too ignorant to recognize the injustice done to him by his master, will jump to his feet again at the call of his master to offer his life for his master’s life,” wrote the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in his landmark book, “The Fall of America.”
America’s record against Black people should lead to a logical conclusion: Unity in the face of this onslaught of death and destruction is what we need. We must first unify among ourselves and then coalesce with likeminded people regardless of class, creed or color. The budding movement for justice for Cortez Brown and work against police torture is a multi-racial effort committed to righting wrongs and obtaining justice for those who have suffered horribly. That movement must be supported, strengthened and spread across the country.