I’m just returning from 2 powerful conferences that dealt with the issues of race and privilege in America. The first was NCORE (The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity) which provided a opportunity to talk about racism and how it impacts the lives of people of color on a daily basis in institutions of higher learning. Some will have you believe that the mere existence of President Barak Obama means racism has ended, but every day we get more reminders of the ever-present existence of white supremacy.
In a story that will make you question whether or not this is 2014, a Black cotton gin worker recorded his supervisor telling him that the water fountain and microwave were for “whites only”. When the worker asked what would happen if he drank from the fountain, his supervisor said, “that’s when we hang you.” The video and audio are below.
At the Left Forum, I was honored to moderate a panel featuring Ron Davis, the father of Jordan Davis, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, and Kenneth Chamberlin Jr., the son of Kenneth Chamberlin Sr. All spoke very passionately about the difficulty they had with the court system in getting justice for their slain family members. This past Friday, 6 police officers in Cleveland were indicted in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. One officer, Michael Brelo fired over 49 shots including at least 15 while standing on the hood of the car. Driver Timothy Russell was shot 23 times. Passenger Malissa Williams was shot 24 times. No gun was found on them or in the vehicle.
At that same panel, Hip-Hop artist/activist Hakim Green informed me about the recent beating of 69 year old activist Dhoruba Bin Wahad by Clayton County sheriffs. Bin Wahad was moving into his new home when the sheriffs approached him with their guns drawn. Even though he showed them the keys to the home and offered to get his ID from his car, he was slammed on the ground and handcuffed. Thankfully a neighbor recored the entire incident.
Ignoring the elephant in the room won’t make it go away. In fact, if that elephant gets angry enough, he could end up destroying the entire house.