By The Prophet of Life
Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Trayvon Martin three names that are lightning rods for race relations in America. These three, African American young men and countless others who are not as well known, have something in common. They were shot by people with guns while they were unarmed.
These young men were all walking on public streets when they were stopped by people in authority, Brown and Ford by police officers and Martin by a Neighborhood Watch Captain. All three were accused of “scuffling” with the authority figures, literally grabbing for their guns in some cases. All three were shot to death by the person with the gun.
Why is this a familiar scenario for African American Males? Are African American Males so aggressive that when they are unarmed they will try to take a gun away from someone who has one? Is that just a convenient excuse for people trying to cover up homicides under the color of authority? Or, is there a racist perception of African American Males having superior strength and being aggressive that plays into people in authority, most of them non African American, over reacting and using deadly force?
When compared to their white counterparts, African American males in America are less likely to go to and / or finish college. They are more likely to be unemployed. They are more likely to be stopped by police, more likely to be arrested when stopped and more likely to lose when tried for any crime. They are also more likely to serve longer sentences in prison. With all of this is it any wonder that the average life expectancy for African American males in the U.S. is five years less than their white counterparts (70 vs 75 years)?
There are consistent stories in the press about African American Males resisting arrest. It seems unreal that African American Males would always resist arrest but it does seem plausible once you consider the statistics that African American Males are stopped by the police more often, convicted for crimes more often and draw prison more often and draw longer prison sentences more often than their white counterparts. It does follow logic that anyone who is targeted more often would tend to resist, knowing that once stopped they would be more likely to be arrested and once arrested, more likely to be convicted and more harshly punished.
My best friend is an attorney who also happens to be African American. He works providing the poor with free legal aid services. He commutes a lot between home and work and sometimes works long hours, getting off of work late at night. Although he has never been arrested and has always fully cooperated with the police he has been stopped a lot. We’re talking about a middle aged man driving a mini van. He believes he is stopped because he is black. Knowing him and knowing how law abiding he is and what a careful driver he is, I agree with him.
So, to answer the question posed at the beginning of this writing, Is it a crime to be an African American Male in America? The answer is technically no. African American Males, while not technically criminal are more likely to be treated like criminals and that speaks directly towards the racism of the American Justice System and the people involved in it.
In True Faith,
The Prophet of Life
Trayvon Martin: The Value of A Human Life
Nelson Mandela, How One Life Can Change The World
A Soul In Pain
Copyright 2014 Love Force International Publishing Company