As much as things change, they stay the same. No matter how many anti-diarrheal pills new wave Black leaders try to give Rev. Jesse Jackson, he will continue to just let it flow. Although I haven’t agreed with many things that he has said recently I respect the fact that he has focused less on castrating Presidents and focused more on fighting the plantation mentality in sports. Although many people are claiming that Reverend Jackson hyperbolized the situation, I believe that behind every exaggerated metaphor is some grain of truth. Look (in my best Obama voice), Lebron James is a mega star, with a fat bank account (barring any Pac Man Jones incidents) and has more endorsements than I have shoes. Yet, even with this, he, like most professional athletes perform in highly regulated industries. David Stern basically outlawed Sean John, Rocawear, Ecko, and Timbaland boots with a stroke of a pen. Allen Iverson had to buy a whole new wardrobe! While these measures may still seem minor, they do show that professional athletes are under constant surveillance on and off the field.
Back to Kunta Kinte Lebron James. When Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers owner, issued a polemic directed at Lebron, it seemed a little overboard. Yes, Lebron brought a lot of money to Cleveland businesses. Yes, Lebron brought excitement to his fans night in and night out on the court. Yes, he gave many Clevelanders something to be proud of. But even all those yeses didn’t make Lebron obligated to stay. As much as we forget, Lebron James is a person not a product. He is a gifted athlete who has the right to pick up and take his talents elsewhere if he pleases. If his career goes downhill the next few seasons from now Gilbert will probably gloat about his wise business decision. Lebron might not be a runaway slave and Gilbert might not be a disgruntled master, but Jesse Jackson was not completely off base.
As much as things change, they stay the same. Only July 8, 2010 Oscar Grant was posthumously denied justice. On this day Johaness Mehserle got away with murder literally (well at least involuntarily speaking). Regardless of race, class, or gender, the law should strictly and equally be applied barring any extenuating circumstances. The verdict that was rendered did not go far enough to punish the inappropriate action of Johannes Mehserle, the police officer that killed the unarmed Oscar Grant. After excessive force had been applied and Oscar Grant was contained, the officer step backed and shot him.
The defense’s argument was that he mistook his handgun for his taser gun. Neither weapon needed to be used in a situation where the person was clearly constrained. The video used as evidence by the prosecution clearly shows this. Moreover, the police officer should not have been so flustered that he couldn’t differentiate between a taser gun and handgun. A taser gun weighs about half as much as a handgun. I don’t know what police academy teaches their students to shoot suspects after they are incapacitated.
The legal definition of involuntary manslaughter is: an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as DUI). The usual distinction from voluntary manslaughter is that involuntary manslaughter (sometimes called “criminally negligent homicide”) is a crime in which the victim’s death is unintended. As much as the officer may have not intended to kill Grant, his gun shot was deliberate.
The debate shouldn’t be about whether the law was equally applied to the cop because he was White, the debate should be about the unfair sentencing based on a case where the evidence overwhelmingly showed a trigger happy cop killing a non-threatening young man.
As much as things change, they stay the same. If you want to remain free in 2010, it is at your behest to steer clear of NBA contracts and Bay Area Rapid Rapid Transit cops.