• author
    • Terri Connett

      Columnist
    • June 23, 2017 in Columnists

    Will black lives ever matter?

    When the Philando Castile manslaughter verdict came back “not guilty” something changed in me. I didn’t expect Officer Jeronimo Yanez to be found guilty. That practically never happens. But I didn’t believe he would just walk away either. He did slaughter a man, in front of his girlfriend and four-year-old future stepdaughter, for simply following the officer’s orders.

    We now know this, because the dashcam video was just released. The same video the jury reviewed. Six white men, four white women, a black man and a black woman who emigrated here from Ethiopia. Twelve people saw that video and ultimately decided Officer Pee Pants was justified because he feared for his life.

    What was so scary?

    Yanez’ defense was that Castile and Reynolds resembled robbery suspects.

    No, Philandro and Diamond were black.

    I am in no mood for the Blue Lives Matter or All Lives Matter bullshit. There’s absolutely no fucking equivalency. If your instinct is to “go there” you are part of the problem.

    The other heartbreaking video — showed a handcuffed (really?) Diamond Reynolds in the back of the squad car, being consoled by her four-year-old daughter who pleads with her distraught mommy to stop yelling and cussing. She tells her mother, “I don’t want you to get shooted.”

    Sorry, little wise one, but black men and women will continue to get shot in America without any justification.

    I loved how Trevor Noah handled the seriousness of this. He said it “broke him.” Me too, Trevor. The Daily Show host hit the nail on the head, “They keep changing the rules,” observed Noah. “He wore a hoodie. He ran away from the police. He ran towards the police.”

    Seriously, how many times have we seen a black man shot with his hands up? Or heard the suspect put his hand in his waistband? The suspect made eye contact. The suspect wouldn’t make eye contact.

    We have to face it. Systemic racism isn’t going anywhere. If you’re black in America, justice is not on your side.

    I was 10-years-old when the Civil Rights Act passed. As I got older, I assumed when all the bigots of my grandfather’s generation died, racism would be buried alongside them. But we all know that never happened. Is racism ignorance? Is it fear? Is it inherited? What caused a 21-year-old, confederate-flag-waving, white supremacist monster to murder nine kindhearted black worshipers during a prayer service in the year 2015?

    President Barack Obama brought dignity, honor and intelligence to the office. Did he change any racist minds? I hope so. But for every convert, I’m afraid he stirred up the innards of closet racists from sea to murky sea. You-know-who added gasoline to that fire with the whole birther nonsense. And now that Trump is currently in the White House, he’s opened the floodgates for racists across this land.

    Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but I am convinced racism will not be resolved in my lifetime.

    I know. That’s a terrible outlook. So last night I decided to take a break, get my mind off the verdict. I looked to my guilty pleasure, “The Bachelorette.” I taped Monday’s episode and so I slipped into my jammies and settled in for my two-hour escape.

    Oh for the love of Jesus, who in the hell is this crazy ass Southern cracker, Lee, and why is he vying for Rachel, the franchise’s first black lead? Lee is picking fights with Eric (black) and Kenny (also black). Lee, whose dipstick doesn’t quite reach the oil, actually admitted on camera that he likes to egg these guys on just to make them mad. Cerebral Eric and teddy bear Kenny calmly confront Lee on his bullshit. But Lee, whiny little bitch that he is, runs to Rachel and complains the guys were “aggressive” and were “yelling.” I googled it today and discovered I’m not the only one who heard a dog whistle. It seems good ole’ boy Lee has posted negative tweets in the past about the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter movement. Why wouldn’t ABC do their homework and review a prospective contestant’s social media footprint like any company would in their hiring process? Or maybe they did and thought this might be fun for the ratings.

    Either way, poor Rachel has found herself in a real pickle. What if she ends up with a white guy? Because the odds are she will. In previous seasons the contestants have been 90-95 percent the same white race as the bachelor or bachelorette. They always threw in a couple people of color for posterity. Rachel made it the farthest of any non-white when she was a contestant last season.

    But for her season, she started out with only 11 black men and 20 (mostly white) non-black men. That doesn’t seem fair.

    Hmm…

    I’ve written 12 columns about racism. This one makes it a baker’s dozen. And I’m done with this subject.

    What I will continue to do is something Professor Michael Eric Dyson suggests in his book “Tears We Cannot Stop.” I didn’t know there was a name for it, but Dyson calls it “IRA — Individual Reparations Account.” He suggests white people can do something by giving back to the black community in volunteerism or donations or just in kind deeds. I’ve been on that path as long as I can remember, maybe because I was a child of the Civil Rights Movement. But most likely because my mother raised me right.

    Philando joins Trayvon, Michael, Eric G., Dontre, John, Ezell, Tanisha, Akai, Tamir, Rumain, Jeramie, Tony, Phillip, Eric H., Walter, Freddie, Laquan, Sandra, and God only knows the names of all the others, as victims in a shameful chapter of our country’s history.

    I can only hope the historians don’t whitewash the truth.



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