Saturday, November 29, 2014

Two Words. . .

Well Hello Glorious Readers!  I certainly hope you and your families had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with all the trimmings, and now it's time to get down to slimming after all that food.  Oh, but wait, Christmas is our next stop, so more good food is headed our way. That's what the holidays are all about--good food, family and friends, togetherness.  

Wow, quite a bit of stuff happened during the week of Thanksgiving.  It almost made me wonder just what type of Thanksgiving this was actually going to turn out to be.  Before I delve in my personal thoughts for this post, I have to tell you, when I mentioned a few posts back how I know people. . .well, let's just say, you didn't let me down.

I received one comment regarding my Down for the Cos post of last week.  This, by any means, didn't surprise me at all.  I did, however, receive several emails from readers who secretly agreed with my assessment of sorts, but didn't want to actually come out and admit their feelings on the blog.  Again, I always know when I hit the nail on the head by the lack of comments or participation.  When you're guilty of something, that's when you'll find people will hide from their truth.  I love to play the Devil's Advocate and talk about subjects that many will find unpleasant and distasteful, but my point has been made and got many of you talking, which is what I want.  I love people who are thinkers and not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.  However, having said that, there's a real fine line in standing up for what you believe in and taking those feelings to a whole other level!

Oh yeah, you see where I'm headed with this post.  Let me tell you a short story.  There are two words that have stuck with me ever since what I'm about to talk about ever occurred. Those two words are 'Rodney King!'  Hmm, what does Rodney King have to do with this? Everything! I remember the first time I saw that horrible video on the news.  A man being brutally beaten by a bunch of police officers.  I was in a state of shock, outrage and sadness all rolled up into one.  My emotions were running at an all-time high, and I couldn't figure out what to do with what I was visually seeing and trying to process it and make sense out something that totally made no sense at all.

At that time I said, you know, finally, there's going to be some justice.  Many times when my people have been the subject of police brutality, there's never any visual evidence to support what the witnesses saw.  It's always our word against theirs, and at the end of the day, we usually lose.  I put faith in Lady Justice.  Yes, oh yes, this time we had Lady Justice by the hair.  There wasn't any way we'd lose this battle--for WE have video!  Thank God for video, right?!

How could my people lose this case?  I mean, I saw the tape, you saw the tape, the jury saw the tape, and there was only one conclusion to draw from it, in my naive mind.  Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!  I remember the day the verdict was read, just like it was yesterday.  When I heard the prosecutor tell the world that the defense's lawyers stated what WE saw wasn't what we saw.  The man being beat was on PCP, crazy out of his mind.  He was attacking the police officers several minutes before the video started, and although what I saw was a defenseless man, lying helplessly on the ground being beat with police batons and feet stomping and kicking, what I saw wasn't what I saw.  There were a few seconds before the infamous video started, that none of the world got to see.  The part where this man allegedly attacked the police officers first, which, in essence, prompted Mr. King's beating.  Hmm, really?

When I heard the words "Not Guilty" for any of the police officers involved, something broke within me that day.  I felt rage like I had never felt it before in my life.  Sure, I've been good and damn mad before, but this wasn't just madness, this was pure hot rage.  My heart truly ached, and I cried to release my anger as much as I could.  I couldn't believe Lady Justice stuck her claws out and scratched our eyeballs right out of the sockets.  She had beat us all over again!  I suppose the joke was on us.

Ever since that horrible day I watched, along with the rest of the world, that Rodney King wasn't going to get the justice he so rightfully deserved, changed my view of the justice system and all that it stands for.  I never trusted or believe in Lady Justice quite the same after the Rodney King trial.  In fact, after that trial, I became hardened to the justice system, especially when high profile cases involving my people are concerned.  I immediately think the worst.  I instantly begin getting my feelings in check and I do not allow myself to go there because, unfortunately, I already know what the outcome is going to be.  And let's fast forward to present day.

I don't know why anyone was surprised that Officer Darren Wilson will not be held for trial in the execution of Michael Brown.  Oooh yeah, I knew when the media began putting little pieces of information out about how Ferguson was calling in the National Guard.  How the governor and other public figures want to keep the peace and have positive protests.  How the school districts were closing the schools, etc., something smelled very wrong and I braced myself because I knew damn well what was coming.  Again, I ask, why were YOU surprised?  There were so many things wrong with this case from the onset that let me know what the result was going to be, and sad to say, I knew why it was going to be too!

I'm not going to rehash the facts in the case, because you already know just like I do.  There was one powerful moment that put me right back in the hot seat just like the Rodney King trial that made me turn the TV off. When I saw the evidence that the prosecutor released to the media, I sat there stunned.  Here I was thinking when it was reported that Michael Brown punched Officer Wilson twice in the face, I was expecting to see someone who looked as if he were in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson, but what I saw was a plain white faced man, with what appeared to be a red blotch on his lower jaw on the right hand side, and I kept searching for any clues of a fist punch to the face, but found absolutely nothing, and yet the Grand Jury said what evidence that came before them they couldn't find anything to support an indictment.  It was at that moment, I had to turn the TV off.  I could feel my old Rodney King wounds resurfacing again, and I couldn't take it.

Again, I ask you readers, why were YOU surprised?  I knew immediately following that 45 minute speech from the prosecutor that things were most definitely going to take a turn for the worst, and once again, my people certainly didn't let me down in that respect.  We live in a violent society.  Hell, Americans are violent people and they don't need much prodding to get them going.  I knew there wasn't going to be an indictment just as sure as my birth name is Kimberly.  We were given clues early on that this case wasn't going to go where most wanted it too, but many chose to ignore the signs.  I refused to let myself go to that dark place again.

If YOU thought that racism was over, YOU thought very wrong!  Race relations are running at an all-time high and I certainly don't see it stopping anytime soon.  I've heard some white people stating that there have been black cops who have killed their people and we don't see them taking to the streets to riot.  They're absolutely right, and you know why?  Because the end result will never quite turn out the same as it does when a white officer kills one of my people!  Lady Justice usually doesn't rule on my people's side in these type of high profile cases.

Now, do my people bear some of the responsibility for having been put in these situations in the first place?  In some of the cases, yes they do!  Let's be perfectly clear and real here.  I'm a woman of color who has never been harassed by the police and you want to know why that is--simply because I try very hard to never put myself in a position where I have to be the subject of something that goes horribly wrong.  If you do what you're supposed to do, in most cases, the police don't bother you.  I realize that doesn't always hold true, but for the most part, if you live your life right, follow the rules and obey the law, usually, you'll live a full life without any drama coming from the boys in blue.  Again, I've read about innocent people who got caught up for no apparent reason, but like I said, usually, and in most cases, if you're doing right, the police have no real reason to bother with you.  

My heart goes out to the Brown family.  I feel so sorry for their loss, but certain protesters taking to the street with criminal activity in their hearts to destroy others' personal property isn't going to bring Michael Brown back.  Looting and acting a complete damn fool isn't going to change the "No Indictment" ruling on this case.  In case you haven't noticed in any of the other high profile cases similar to this one, what did all that violence and self-destruction do for any of us?  Why destroy other Black people's businesses because you're pissed with a ruling?  What did those people do to you to deserve that?  If you were so down with Black people, why destroy their hard earned work?  What does that have to do with anything?  Why put yourself in harm's way?  Why risk getting yourself killed for a ruling that will never change?  What does any of that solve?

This is why when these types of cases come before me on my TV set and/or via the Internet or any way I receive my world news, I don't get up-in-arms about it--for there are two words that bring me back to reality and that's simply, Rodney King.  If you remember what happened in his trial, you won't allow yourself to be taken there.  I wasn't happy with that verdict, and I'm not pleased with the lack of indictment in the Brown ruling.  I damn sure wasn't enthused with the "Not Guilty" verdict in the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial either.  As I told you at the top of the post, the Rodney King trial broke my spirit and trust in our justice system, therefore, I don't allow myself to get too emotionally attached to other cases that come along through the years.  I was never the same after that, and I never will be. It doesn't minimize or change how upsetting these rulings are, but I've learned to keep a level head about it.  

Just as I told you in a past post about how my people will sleep outside in the cold for materialistic things, but won't take that same passion to vote, perhaps now my point will hit even closer to home for you.  You should take that anger and rage you have and use it in ways that can help get some of these state legislature and laws to change.  Use your voice in positive ways that may possibly yield better results for our well being.  But many don't see that.  In fact, President Obama was scrutinized for his speech immediately following the ruling in the Brown case.  What did my people expect for him to say?  What exactly did YOU expect him to do?  You made it perfectly clear to him on Tues., Nov. 4, 2014 what you thought about him, but somehow now, you feel he should do more.  What can he do?  You didn't send much aid to him to help you.  And once again, people proved my point.  You're the first to holler about everything, and yet, the proper forum YOU should have used to get the positive change you seek, YOU sat back and did nothing, now you want the President to do something!  Are you serious?

There are plenty of protesters who were very positive and trying to do the right things here. Unfortunately, a handful of evildoers decided to use the no indictment ruling to commit illegal activity.  That was just a piss poor excuse to do what you've always wanted to do in the first place and what better way to do it than to use someone else's pain for your own greedy needs.  Stealing weave, busting up citizens' cars and setting fires to businesses had absolutely nothing to do with the Brown ruling.  Many said he didn't die in vain, well what the hell do you suppose you call all that destruction?  The Brown family didn't want any of this and look at what you did in their son's honor.  What kind of message does that send?

So the next time, and unfortunately, there will be a next time, another high profile case comes before us, perhaps you'll give some thought to two words that keep me grounded, Rodney King!  YOU should never forget!

Until next time, Keep It Movin'!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

If these Young Men Didn't Die in Vain,
Stop using their tragic deaths as Excuses
for Illegal Activity!