Freddie Gray's Rough Ride
To The Black Lives Matter Movement
His extremities are restrained. He is placed in the back of a police patty wagon and taken for a rough ride. The ride, to no one's surprise, proved to be quite uncomfortable. Let's face it, that was its intent. But on this ride, Gray received more than just an uncomfortable transport. He sustained major injuries which ultimately led to his death. The judicial system reached the conclusion that no one is at fault! Gray, we are left to believe, should have held on more tightly. But how could he? He was shackled down.
What's The Problem
White Americans appear to be baffled. They contend that they do not understand what motivates young Black Americans to take to the streets and proclaim that "Black Lives Matter." Perhaps they don't understand. Seldom do they have the opportunity to witness their love ones being taken for a rough ride or being violently apprehended without provocation or fatally wounded during a routine traffic stop. But those of us who wear this Black skin and who have matured enough to gather a little age under our belts and who have vicariously obtained a certain amount of wisdom; find it hard to rationalize the repeated injustices that society expects for us to absorb. What are the young Blacks suppose to do?
They don't have the purported wisdom that age brings. Very few of them have a historical reference point to assure them that in the long run the blinded eyes of justice will stay close and true justice will prevail. This generation expects for the law of the land to protect them and to protect their fellowman. More importantly, this generation knows that if they violate the law; they will be swiftly apprehended and subsequently punished by the law.
Instead of wisdom, what young Black Americans do possess is a collection of visual evidence.This evidence validates the generational premise that the life of a Black man is negotiable. They saw it in Baltimore. They saw it in Missouri. They saw it in Florida. They saw it in Baton Rouge. They saw it in South Carolina. They saw it in New York. They saw it in Minnesota. They saw it in Texas. How does America change visual evidence into judicial justice?
The Starting Point
First, there must be an open admittance that America continues to discriminate against its Black citizenry. Secondly, there must be the acknowledgment that the concerns of Black Americans are genuine. Thirdly, there must be a federal mandate that every law enforcement agent receives proper race relation training prior to putting on a badge and before being issued a gun. Lastly, the judicial system cannot continue to exonerate members of law enforcement who are clearly guilty of not respecting the sanctity of Black lives.
A Stray Bullet
Case in point, the officer who fired into Philando Castile's car displayed no regard for the safety of Castile's passengers. Suppose his bullets had went astray like the bullets fired from the gun of the officer in Florida. This officer is on record as stating that he fired at the autistic young White male but missed his intended target and instead hit the behavioral therapist; who coincidentally, is a Black man.
Black Lives Matter
We know that fear in proper proportion is a good thing but when the emotion is out of control it causes great harm. The Black Lives Matter Movement is on point. Those individuals who sought to enact their own brand of independent justice were acting emotionally to a perceived injustice. The choices that they made required the forfeiture of their lives. The termination of their lives ends the discussion about the merit of their violent actions. But the conversation about the sanctity of Black Lives needs to continue.
Dr. King's Philosophy
When the election is over, the dust has settled down, and a certain amount of calmness returns; Americans need to take a long hard look at how it protects and treats its Black citizens. Everyone likes to quote Dr. King, and rightly so, but oftentimes we forget that Dr. King said "A man can't ride your back unless it's bent." So I stand for Black Lives Matter. I stand for Freddy Gray who took a rough ride and never recovered.