J’Accuse – In the 21st Century

If your memory stirs a little at the words J’Accuse, then it’s likely that you know that their affiliation is standing up for gross injustice.

For those unfamiliar, Emile Zola, a celebrated French author and journalist, published the editorial under this name in relation to the infamous case of Alfred Dreyfus, a French army captain who stood accused of treason he did not commit. Zola leapt to Dreyfus’s defense, and wrote one of the most scathing editorials of the last century, thus ensuring that J’Accuse is a synonym for standing up for injustice.

I may not be the late and great Emile Zola. I’m certainly not as educated, nor as eloquent, but I have had enough of the injustice we have seen in regards to police brutality, and the general attitudes towards young black men as a whole.

And I. Am. Furious.

Cut for length. I’m disabling comments on this. I’m not interested in discussion.

How have we, the supposed “land of the free”, have such a gross disparity in how such a significant portion of our population is addressed, both in the court of law and in the court of social perception and public opinion? How is it that it took the coming of one black man, President B. Obama, to show the absolutely disgusting depth of racism in this country, which has neither evolved nor dissipated in the past 150 years since the Civil War? How is it possible that we, the supposed land of “every man created equal”, still have a perception towards men of color that is anything but equal?

Have you so easily forgotten the history of violence towards people of color? That was perpetrated by the white man. The white man “discovered” America, and brought genocide, pestilence, and death in his wake. The white man has enslaved the people of Africa and Caribbean to help them build the “land of the free” where they still treated fellow human beings as property because of their skin color. The white man fought for the right to own people on the side of the Confederacy. The white man founded the Ku Klux Klan. The white man razed and raided black neighborhoods and businesses to “run them out of town”. The white man put up the “colored entrance” sign. The white man instituted the Jim Crow laws to keep the black population from voting. The white man rioted when the order came to integrate schools, because heaven forfend their children would have to sit next to black children! The white man screamed out against the Loving v. Virginia decision, which meant that blacks and whites could intermarry. The white man screamed out when Barack Obama became president.

It has been over three hundred years since European settlers have brought the black man to these shores, and not once in the past three hundred years has the white man actually acknowledged the black man as his equal, in spite of the constitution that he himself had written. Never has it been more evident than in the “Well, that was long ago, they need to get over it” attitude that people have when someone brings up the long history of racism in this country. No. Don’t tell the black man to get over three hundred years of injustice, especially if said injustice is still being perpetrated to this very day. Instead, the white man needs to acknowledge his part in contributing to the current situation, to the current tension, and the long history of passing down racism as the ugly generational gift that keeps on giving.

Don’t tell us that before Obama became president, no one noticed skin color. That’s false. Before Obama got elected, white people were very comfortable with their superiority as the Ones In Charge, because they knew full well that no matter how high a black man got in his position, he was still below any real position of power. They spoke of reaching for the stars and the sky being the limit, but they didn’t realize that the black kid was listening too, and he did, in fact, reach the position of power. And that shook the three-hundred-year-old racial establishment of this country, whether or not you like to admit it.

Never has there been an uglier explosion of racism in this country than when Obama first got elected, and the past six years only served as testament to the fact that yes, it’s completely about race.

Why else have the Republicans fought so much to make him a “one-term President”? Why else have they opposed bills that they themselves have brought to the table? Why else do they hate him so much if not because he broke their comfortable, cushioned, white-supremacy-over-generations mold? The only thing that Barack Obama has done wrong was have the wrong color of skin for the Congress to accept him and his agenda; had a white President done everything else he’s been doing, there would be wine poured in the streets to celebrate.

Racism in America: the real tradition. It’s ugly. It’s disgusting. And it has been so deeply ingrained in its history that right now, if you compare what people are protesting today versus the first Civil Rights movement, you will find no difference. The white man still wants to be comfortable in his position of power, even though there is a black man in the White House, who is one of the most successful presidents to date. Don’t bullshit about it: your own stock portfolio is proof that his methods worked. The black man has done what white man could not. And white man is not comfortable with that because, for over three hundred years, he couldn’t accept the idea of the black man as a human being.

We now see a stream of the worst nightmares for any family to endure. A young man gets shot. Either by a vigilante or a cop. A young man dies of excessive force. A little girl dies in her bed by a cop’s hand. And the killer walks free, why? Because he was “in fear of his life”.

A twelve-year-old boy. A seventeen-year-old buying Skittles. A young woman seeking help after a car accident. A young man leaving the store. A man selling loose cigarettes, unarmed. A girl in her bed.

That is all it takes to put a big burly police officer armed to the teeth thanks to the militarization of police to be “in fear of their lives”. Someone walking while black. Buying something wearing a hoodie while black. Having a home while black. That’s what terrifies the police force nowadays.

And it. is. disgusting. that the police be allowed to abuse their power, and ride the high horse of their ingrained racism while supposedly “protecting” and “serving”.

And enough of that, citizens of the United States.

ENOUGH.

How have we stooped so low as a society that we cannot even bring a killer cop to justice? How can the grand jury not indict Darren Wilson when he had very obviously lied? How can a videotape of a lethal chokehold, which was never supposed to have been used in the first place, claiming a life of a man whose worst offense would’ve earned him a fine, is not enough to bring an indictment? How have we allowed this gross injustice to happen, and how have we allowed ourselves to grow this callously blind to how the cultural perceptions and stereotypes are as harmful as the laws that had once supported them?

It’s ripe time to point some fingers and call out some very guilty parties to continuing to cling to the culture of racism, and it’s time to call out those who had escaped justice by the “system” of “justice”, which has failed everyone who is not white in this country. I have my own list of guilty parties to accuse of perpetuating the ongoing racism in the US, which I present to you.

I accuse the media, especially Fox and CNN networks, of adding fuel to the misinformation fire every time such a murder takes place. Your remarks, nearly always delivered by a perfectly coiffed white blonde who had grown up in a perfect little cul-de-sac and who had never once bothered to think about the lives of those outside her little peroxided, manicured, and perfect bubble, are nothing short of despicable. The below are paraphrases of the various comments that I have observed on your “articles” and in their comments:

“He shouldn’t have worn a hoodie.”
“He had robbed that store.”
“He assaulted an officer of the law.”
“If they didn’t want to get shot, they should commit less crime.”

As though any of these things justify someone who is unarmed getting killed. As though it is somehow the victim’s fault that they got killed? As though it’s the victim’s fault that a man with a gun had an itchy trigger finger?

Let’s face it: you really want to say that the victim was male and he was black. You really want to say it. Because in your mind, that’s justification enough.

You dissect details to a degree that can only be construed as an invasion of privacy, and the avarice for details in your eyes disgusts me and makes me wonder how you’re even called human. You wonder why people are angry and yet you continue to enforce the very stereotypes that contribute to those killings. And then you bring up “black on black crime” to deflect from your very obvious racist victim-blaming.

Your idiocy is staggering and impermissible in the modern world. If you had learned anything in criminology, then it should have been that crime roots from opportunity. White and black people are similar in their statistics of crime based on opportunity, and yet tell me please how it is that no one talks about white-on-white crime. Tell me how it is that the stop-and-frisk routine in NYC addresses predominantly black or Hispanic men and prevents next to nothing. Tell me how it’s possible that a white man killing his white neighbor over an argument rarely makes the news, but the minute a black man kills someone, the news cameras descend and the talking points are recycled. Tell me, please, with a straight face, how that’s not racially biased.

You take the Reagan stereotypes of the black population and you reinforce them with your televised vitriol. You take the likes of Ben Carson, whose sanity is questionable since his retirement from medicine, and you allow him to open his mouth on television, grossly unaware of the damage that he and you are doing. You report the reaction to the Ferguson decision and yet conveniently fail to highlight the far worse riots perpetrated by whites at and after sporting events, and then you wonder why the black population is angry when it’s you, the media, that is only perpetuating to the reasons.

You, the media of the United States, are scum. You poke a sleeping lion and then you’re amazed that it lashes out. You throw gasoline into flame and wonder why there’s an explosion. You’re contributing to the problem and, by sensationalizing and saturating the airwaves and television, are ensuring its continuation. And you have the gall of remaining ignorant to the incomparable damage that you do to the people of color and to this country as a whole.

You, the US media, especially the channels of CNN and Fox, need to shut up and disappear.

I accuse Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia for their contribution to the national problem by gutting out the Voting Rights Act. It is thanks to the Voting Rights Act and its counterpart, the Civil Rights Act, that you, Mr. Thomas, are where you are. How quick are you to forget where you have come from. How quick are you to forget that you have come to the Supreme Court only after Thurgood Marshall had paved the steps. How quick are you to forget that all that is glittering is not gold, and what looks like gold is actually gilt that hides some very ugly matter underneath. And you, Antonin Scalia, are the same: your forebears were once subjected to gross injustice, you yourself have knowledge of the case of Sacco and Vanzetti and have long forgotten its implications, and you fail to see how you perpetuate the same caliber of injustice towards people of color. Both of you have built a bubble of luxury and comfort about yourselves, and both of you forget that if the laws had not decriminalized your forebears, neither one of you would be where you are. And in your bubble, you forget the millions who have yet to see the equality that you have so grossly assumed in your decision. You are now reaping those consequences as districts are gerrymandered with your judicial permission.

How can you reasonably claim to uphold the Constitution, when your decision has made it that much more difficult for a part of the population to exercise its right to vote?

I accuse the grand juries in New York City and Ferguson, MO of dereliction of duty, of gullibility, and of complete incompetence at properly figuring out a lie.

This is one of the times where I’m ashamed of New York. The evidence was obvious and videotaped, start to finish, and yet you have failed to indict. Tell me this, grand jury of New York: if it were a big white guy selling loosies, would he have been wrestled to the ground and choked to his death? You complain about police brutality and yet you do absolutely, completely nothing when you get the opportunity to put the NYPD in its place? Shame. Shame, shame, shame on you.

And Ferguson, MO. Where the KKK had its claws in the police department, and where the prosecuting attorney for the People was raising funds for the defense of the killer. Do you not question anything, Ferguson grand jury? Do you not question what’s around you? Do you not understand whom you vote in? And are you that desperate to cling to your historic racial superiority complex that you can’t call a lie a lie when it’s delivered by a whitebread cop?

I accuse the police departments across the country, who shield killer cops by the blue wall of silence, of aiding and abetting the problem of racism in this country, of brutality, of brutality by association by allowing abusers and killer cops to keep their badges, and of dereliction of the oath you take at your entrance into the force. Nearly every police department has cops who have brutality complaints in their jacket. And yet, their defense is that they’re “afraid for their lives”. Really? A twelve-year-old with a BB gun is so terrifying to a cop? A young man going to the store, unarmed? A man selling loosies on a corner? A young girl asleep in her bed? Those things are now warranting the use of lethal force?

You cowards. You racist cowards.

And this doubly goes for those of you, men and women who wear the police uniform, who allow your fellow officers to do this and get away with it.

To think that I, at one point, thought I may have become one of you. To think that I, at one point, wanted to become a prosecutor if I couldn’t become a cop. That thought right now embarrasses me, and there are few things I am more thankful for than the fact that I have never entered the NYPD. To think that I would have been working alongside people who will choke a man to death for selling loosies, and then release a statement saying that if he weren’t so overweight, he would not have died. You had other ways of subduing a man. You have been trained to shoot to disable, not to kill, and yet how many of you actually practice that? You stop and frisk eleven-year-old boys because they walk while black. You pull over a black man driving because you think he has no business in a neighborhood. You accost any black man walking just because someone called in something and your description was imprecise, so you automatically presume a dark skin tone?

I don’t see how you sleep at night. I see no reason why you should.

But then again, you feel that you are above the law that you uphold. You feel as though the gun in your hand and the badge on your chest are your power, that you can do to people as you please. All to ignore that when you remove the badge and the gun, you’re no different than the next guy.

And those of you who are the good cops, who will go and actually try and do some good in the community, are the ones who need to stand up, ignore that fucking blue wall of silence, and turn in those killer cops, the brutality cases, the racists, the closet skinheads whose tats you only see in the locker room, and stand up for the actual communities you represent. You have sworn to protect and serve, and whatever law that the idiotic Congress had enacted does not impact the oath you had to take upon your graduation from the Academy.

You are still a citizen of the United States, and you are not above the law. If you have a shred of honor, you would uphold your oaths, and if you had the slightest shred of concern for your communities, you would turn in the racists, the killers, the brutes, and the rapists whom you protect within your ranks.

I accuse the Congress of the United States, for aiding and abetting the problem of racism by its asinine behavior, the militarization of the police forces nationwide, and by its behavior towards the first black president in this country.

Your asinine behavior has examples too numerous to list. But the granting of military surplus to police forces has been one of the worst things you have done. You aided and abetted the police brutality problem in this country, you have aided and abetted the racism in this country, and by clinging to your stereotypes, you have aided and abetted the mentality of the South so immortalized by Gone with the Wind. You are the reason that this country has not evolved socially since the Civil Rights Act era. You are the reason that cops think themselves above the law. You are the reason that cops in bigger cities are little more than thugs in riot gear. You have given them military weapons and authorized them to use military force, and you have the balls to sit back and do nothing while reaping the profits earned on the backs of the very people you repress.

You are cowards. You are cowards who are terrified that it will come out that your own power has been little more than a grab-up on the backs of people, and it still is that way. Guess what, Congress: it’s already a known fact and the people whose backs you’re riding on have had enough.

You would do well to remember that every oppressor creates the very force to overthrow him.

I accuse Darren Wilson – of perjury, and of murder. You did not have an orbital fracture, and your face would’ve blown up like a purple balloon if Michael Brown had inflicted that on you. You’re a natural blond of Irish descent and medicine does not lie; one of the first symptoms of a broken bone is swelling, which comes fast and stays strong. With your lily-white Irish skin, that swelling would’ve been immediate, merciless, and severe, in many shades of blue and purple. You barely had a pink bruise. You had no noted asymmetry in your facial structure. You tell us, Darren Wilson, if you got one of your fellow cops to punch you in the face after you killed a kid, whose hands were up, who was trying to get out alive. You tell us, Darren Wilson, if you feel like such a big man now earning your television appearances off the blood of a kid who, contrary to your statement, did not rob a store, seeing as no calls issued from that store in the first place. You have lied to justify your hate crime and now you’re profiting from it.

I accuse the NYPD officer who was caught on tape choking Eric Garner of murder. What I said for Darren Wilson goes for you. You’re little more than a racist coward. There is no reason whatsoever for you to keep your assets, your badge, your weapon, or your liberty, regardless of the idiocy of the grand jury.

And above all, I accuse the people.

I accuse the citizens of the United States for not making enough noise, for not protesting, for not voting, for not raising a stink, for not demanding change, for being too busy drooling over Kim Kardashian’s photoshopped ass to see the much bigger issues at hand and making the blithe assumption that the past is in the past, ignoring completely that it repeats itself with alarming regularity. I especially accuse the white citizens of failing in the very basic empathy and consideration of putting yourself in the black man’s shoes and seeing that he has every reason to be angry, and that it’s you and your forebears and your dismissive ‘that’s the way things are, and if they don’t want the consequences, they should act differently’ that contributed to those reasons. You have your privilege of not being accosted by the police simply on the content of melanin in your skin. You have bought into the stereotype of the big black boogeyman and, fueled by that fear, you encouraged every white policeman to buy into the same. Your irrational fear and racism have created this, from your great-great-grandpappy’s generation to this very day. Step up and acknowledge your responsibility in this, and instead of asking why the black people are angry, help them fight for the change that they have been trying to fight for since the 1960s. You and your parents and grandparents have collectively created this quagmire. It’s your responsibility to undo it.

 

I, a white female, see why people are angry and know that their anger is more than justified. I, who was not even conceived at the time of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960, see that nothing had changed between then and now. I, who has many a friend from all walks of life, all skin tones, all origins, see very clearly the privilege that white skin carries every time I go to a different place in the country, and I find it abhorrent that this disparity exists.

If we are truly the “land of the free”, if “all men are created equal”, then you, American citizens, need to put your money where your mouth is and make it that way: for your black neighbor who’s afraid for his son, for the Hispanic woman who cleans your house, for the Asian lady running the neighborhood store – for every person.

I stand behind every protest happening in this country. From NYC to DC to Ferguson to LA to anywhere that there has been an incident of a white cop killing an unarmed black boy or girl, I stand behind the people uniting and proclaiming that this was not right. The more we speak, the more we protest, the more we are likely to change. In my own way, I will support them. I will continue to write on this topic, and many others, I will debate and/or ban anyone expressing racial bias in my presence – if the pen is truly mightier than the sword, then I will wield it to the absolute best of my capacity.

Injustice will continue only as long as it is allowed to.

And I will never allow it.

K.G.

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About Kat G

Sci-fi author. Jazz aficionado, an all-around enjoyer of peace, quiet, beauty, and contemplation.
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