Twitter photo by @LorenadlaCuesta.

Twitter photo by @LorenadlaCuesta.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Saturday evening in downtown Ferguson, MO a man pushing a walker and carrying an “I am Darren Wilson” sign was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman protesting Michael Brown’s death. The incident occurred around 7:30pm outside a local pizza parlor.

Eye- witness reports claim the unidentified man exited Faraci Pizza and began yelling at protesters before bumping into a woman. He was eventually separated from the crowd. Protesters shouted at officers to arrest the man for assault. Ferguson police finally led the man away in plastic handcuffs and placed him in the back of a squad car. A video recording which appears to show what took place after the alleged assault has since been posted to YouTube.

This latest incident isn’t the first time protesters have clashed with individuals connected to this restaurant. CCN spoke with two women involved in Saturday evening’s protest who alleged the owner of Faraci Pizza, early last week, pointed a handgun from the window of his Jeep toward a group of Michael Brown supporters standing outside the Ferguson Police Department.

The pizza establishment is only a few blocks away from the police station. On Saturday, protesters walked from the police station to Faraci’s after being told by patrol officers they had to stay in constant motion otherwise they’d be arrested.

Tensions continue to build in Ferguson between police and local residents. Later Saturday night, a Ferguson police officer was shot. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police initially reported that the officer approached two suspects attempting to break into a business, one man pulled a gun and opened fire, striking the officer in the arm. The officer was treated and released from a hospital on Sunday.

This initial report has subsequently changed in the past two days. Police now say during a routine patrol the officer saw one man standing at the rear of the Ferguson Community Center, when the officer approached the man, he pulled out a pistol and shot the officer before running into the woods nearby. The discrepancy in the two reports about the number of alleged suspects involved hasn’t been explained by Ferguson police.

Shortly after Michael Brown was killed, Ferguson police mandated body cameras for all patrol officers. However, St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman told the Post-Dispatch that the officer involved in this most recent shooting was wearing a body camera, but it was turned off. A police spokesperson was not able to explain why the officer had the body camera turned off.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning an off-duty police officer was allegedly shot at while sitting in his vehicle near westbound interstate-70. According to St. Louis County Police the officer was in the right lane when a passing vehicle began firing into the officer’s car. The officer was not shot, but was injured by broken glass. St. Louis County police did not have immediate answers as to why they believe the off-duty officer appeared to be targeted for a gang-style, drive-by shooting.

The absence of answers from police has been a recurring theme ever since Michael Brown was gunned down nearly two months ago. Police have still not provided reasonable justifications for why Michael Brown’s lifeless body was allowed to lie in the street for hours after his death; why Ferguson police released a video surveillance tape of Michael Brown allegedly robbing a convenience store despite there existing no formal request from the public for the tape – Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson actually stated the opposite during a press conference in the early days following Brown’s shooting; why cell phones were confiscated by police at the scene of Brown’s slaying without warrants; and most damning, why did Ferguson Police Department allow officer Darren Wilson to forego filing a police report detailing what transpired between Wilson and Brown before Brown was shot to death?

All these questions have yet to be answered, and it is this lack of transparency by police which has caused local residents to question whether St. Louis County and City police are working in concert to derail protester’s public outcry for justice by manufacturing incidents of violence.

CCN spoke with a female law student from St. Louis who stated she believed the two latest police shootings, along with two other previous incidents involving alleged mask men opening fire on innocent bystanders and motorist in St. Louis city – days before the scheduled highway shut-down of Interstate-70 by demonstrators – as coordinated attempts by police to sabotage community dissent about the Michael Brown shooting.

“It just seems fishy to me that these police shootings and random acts of violence keep happening whenever either a large demonstration is being organized, like the highway shutdown, or when citizens decide to make their collective voices heard when police are hoping things will die down, “ she said.

Despite the conspiratorial nature of these type of accusations, it isn’t surprising residents of Ferguson and St. Louis city would have a skeptical view of police when one considers the extensive history of police harassment, brutality, exploitation, and corruption facilitated by St. Louis City and County police departments over the past two decades.

According to Ferguson Police Department’s own data, in 2013 their officers made 5,384 stops and 611 searches. 86 percent of the stops and 92 percent of the searches were of black people. Only 67 percent of the town’s population is black.

UCLA’s Center of Policing Equity, a research consortium that conducts collaborative studies between law enforcement agencies and social scientist, discovered that despite the racial disparity in stops, the Ferguson police department was more likely to find “contraband” on the white people they stopped and searched than on the black ones.

All these stops result in a whopping $2.6 million dollars a year in fines and court fees, typically from traffic violations. And this type of economic exploitation of black residents doesn’t even begin to explain situations like Terry Robinson, a St. Louis man, who in March recorded with his cell phone two St. Louis city police officers black mailing him as he sat in the back of their patrol car. Robinson, who was on probation for a previous arrest, was repeatedly told to give the officers a name – any name – so that they could plant a gun on that person. If Robinson refused, the officers stated they would fabricate a story about him dropping a gun while running away from them.

Both what the research data and situations like Terry Robinson reveal is an environment of distrust and animosity predicated on very real incidents of police misconduct and subsequent failures of transparency. The stage has been set for confrontation for years between residents of St. Louis and the various police departments, but it was Michael Brown’s body lying face-down in Ferguson which pushed this toxic mixture of frustration, hatred, racial animus, and oppressive police power off the table permeating the hearts and souls of a global viewing public.

What will St. Louis look like when all is said in done in Ferguson? If the past few months is any indicator, it’s hard to imagine scenarios where the answer to that question is arrived at by peaceful means.

Ray Rice punches wife Janay Palmer in the face.

Ray Rice punches wife Janay Palmer in the face.

Mugshot of Adrian Peterson after he turned himself in to Montgomery County Sheriff's office.

Mugshot of Adrian Peterson after surrendering to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office.

Last week the gossip website TMZ released a video of NFL running back Ray Rice punching his then fiancé Janay Palmer while in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino. The controversial surveillance footage set off a firestorm of public outcry as the NFL scrambled to justify previously suspending the Baltimore Ravens star only two games.

More image problems surfaced for the NFL Friday morning when another star running back, Adrian Peterson, of the Minnesota Vikings was indicted in Montgomery County, Texas for reckless or negligent injury to a child for whipping his 4-year-old son. Official police photographs of the young boy’s injuries surfaced over the weekend which depict numerous lacerations and bruises to the child’s thighs, arms and back. In a text message sent by Peterson to the child’s mother he admits to accidentally striking his son in the scrotum during the altercation.

Police photos of Adrian Peterson's 4-year-old son's arms and legs after he was whipped.

Police photos of Adrian Peterson’s 4-year-old son’s arms and legs after he was whipped.

These two recent incidents highlight America’s culture of violence. Too often in America acts of violence are committed by men against those in the least position to protect themselves – women and children – making Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson’s actions a continuation of America’s long history of treating women and children as property rather than human beings.

Before 1839, when the Married Women’s Property Act was first enacted in Tennessee, women possessed no legal rights apart from their husbands. For all legal purposes, women were the chattel of husbands and fathers, and were disallowed from owning property, entering into contract or earning a salary. It would be another fifty-one years, 1920, before white women could vote in the United States, and a full forty-five years longer before African-Americans – men or women – could cast a vote without discriminatory practices nullifying their efforts. During this era of pre- women’s suffrage domestic violence abuse was commonplace. In the last 150-plus years women have experienced increased access to voting polls, corporate offices, and property rights, by virtue of this progress, one could assume women today occupy a world much safer from domestic violence than that of the past, but is it really?

According to data and statistics collected by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

• 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women.
• 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.
• Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
• 11.8 percent of new HIV infections among women more than 20 years old during the previous year were attributed to intimate partner violence.
• Intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims.

These numbers are not surprising when we survey the culture boys are born into in America – one of misogyny, objectification and hyper-sexualization of women’s bodies for male-dominated financial enrichment. We witness this systematic devaluing of women in politics (see Sarah Palin), news media (see Fox news female anchors), and entertainment (See Popular music, professional sports, Hollywood movies and adult film industry). It is as American as firecrackers on the fourth of July.

Men rarely take time to pause and assess the damage done and how they contribute to it. Could this be why some men chose to decry the so-called domestic violence double standard rather than denounce Ray Rice for left hooking his wife in the face? Tortured “fairness” arguments fall flat when we take another look at the data which indicates men overwhelmingly commit acts of domestic violence against women, not the other way around. Could this be because men possess male privilege in a sexist world and are naturally stronger than women? I think so. It is a moral frailty for the strong to prey on the weak.

There exist no class of citizens who occupy a weaker position in society than that of a child, yet, corporal punishment (infliction of physical pain upon a person’s body as punishment for a crime or infraction) of children is legal in every state. Twenty states still allow corporal punishment in schools. Adrian Peterson, like many parents, continue to spank, whip, beat, whatever you wish to call it, their children despite mountains of research indicating the harm it causes. The fact that America, in 2014, still allows parents to legally abuse their children, while at the same time will prosecute dog owners for fighting pit bulls, illustrates a nation’s upside-down values.

According to Safe Help, a child abuse advocacy group, a case of child abuse is reported every ten seconds, and more than four children die every day as a result of child abuse. I can hear some people shouting already that these statistics only reflect the “real” cases of abuse not the “good” kind of spanking that was “done in love” by their parents, and their parents before them. Yeah…right. If we are honest, we will admit that those bruises, welts, and cuts caused many of us to fear our parents, not love them more; made us reticent to question authority even when that authority was wrong. For many of us these “spankings’’ resulted in increased anxiety and transformed our personalities in significant ways – often negative. The brutality inflicted upon us by those we trusted the most altered how we chose to trust others the rest of our lives.

If the best argument for whipping a child is that the same was done to you, we have immeasurably failed our children. When children witness men abuse the women in their lives, another misogynist, abuser, and tyrant is birthed. In 1993 hip-hop recording artist Tupac Shakur penned a warning within his song “Keep Ya Head Up,” which cautioned his listeners about the consequences of victimizing and abandoning women, and the devastating generational effects this abuse has on children:

“And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies…”

Sadly, I think we’ve confirmed Mr. Shakur’s worst fears.

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

The irony of 9/11 for black people, and others of color is perfectly embodied in the slogan countless Americans have commandeered to honor victims of the most significant act of terrorism ever perpetrated against the United States: Never Forget.

It’s a fitting catchphrase, short, somber, impactful.

All of us can probably remember where we were the day two planes, United Airlines Flight 11 and 175, were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocents and destroying a nation’s sense of safety. The individuals who lost their lives that Tuesday morning deserve to be remembered with dignity and pride – their irrecoverable humanity sobering us all with the realization of just how fragile and precious life is.

We will never forget.

However, long memory isn’t exactly an American trait. At least not when it pertains to victims of American domestic terrorism, quite the contrary. America condones and perpetuates forgetfulness concerning the acts of violence committed against Africans, and other persons of color, by European settlers. Efforts to erase this record of subjugation from history books and our collective memories continue to this day.

A conservative estimate of the total number of African deaths during transport across the Atlantic ocean, in what is commonly referred to as the Middle Passage, is upwards of 2 MILLION people. This was terrorism in every sense of the word, but how often are Americans implored to “Never Forget” the lives of these innocent Africans? I’ve yet to hear these words assigned to the precious lives of my ancestors.

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Upon arriving in North America and the Caribbean, the survivors of the Middle Passage, and subsequent generations of Africans born into American slavery, suffered further brutalizations which resulted in the additional deaths of an estimated 4 MILLION Africans and African-Americans from 1610 to 1900.

But again, when have these lives ever been officially recognized and honored by the United States of America?

Instead of reverence, African-Americans are told to get over this bloody catalogue of oppression, to move on as if it never took place. America teaches its children to scorn anyone who dares mention this era of evil.

Imagine if this same level of indifference was afforded in kind to the families of those victims trapped in the north and south World Trade Center towers; victims who frantically telephoned their loved ones one final time before both towers collapsed on live television. Such callousness would be rightfully excoriated as an attempt to desecrate the memory of 9/11 victims.

Why then is America not held to similar standards for failing to treat the humanity of millions of innocent Africans – killed by oppressive American laws and practices – with decency?

Why are we taught to dismiss the lives of African people who were beaten, raped, murdered, debased and debauched, psychologically brutalized, and exploited through forced labor?

Why are the ancestors of African slaves frigidly commanded to “move on” and spoken to with derisive refrains of “It didn’t happen to you” when their family members (Africans) are mentioned at school or work, in political and private life?

Why are the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11 honored annually while the 6-MILLION plus African and African-American victims of American chattel slavery and Jim Crow are discredited, and their ancestors ridiculed for demanding recognition as human beings worthy of full civil rights protections under American jurisprudence?

This type of hypocrisy nauseates me. It does not imbue me with pride for my country nor does it cause me to respect the lives of 9/11 victims more. This level of selective recognition based solely on skin color is repugnant to the human spirit and violates any sense of ethics and high morals.

I will never forget.

Author and human rights activist James Baldwin.

Author and human rights activist James Baldwin.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4cXGRgGCl58

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152618726099869&id=609299868

The perspectives espoused by Andre TheGiant Poet in the above video links is indicative of how many black people feel right now, but everything that sounds reasonable isn’t.

He makes some good points, specifically when he talks about successful black millionaires and billionaires financing projects to create jobs and economic stability for other black people.

Where he goes off track though, where so many blacks go off track when having conversations like this, is when he attempts to cheapen the value of human life by claiming the lives of those who engage in ignorant or hyper-sexualized behavior are less valuable than those that don’t.

You can’t on one hand say you’re for black survival in a society which practices white supremacy, and then on the other assert only those who conform to white norms count, and those who don’t are complicit in the perpetuation of white supremacy and situations like ‪Michael Brown’s death.

That’s none sense. That’s house negro slave talk. If black life will only be valuable when Love and Hip-hop gets canceled or blacks stop liking Lil’ Wayne’s music, then it never was valuable to begin with. This is flawed logic.

Life is valuable because every person was created in the image of god. As long as one has breath in their lungs one has the ability to change and grow, and be better than they were yesterday.

Human worth has nothing to do with how a person acts or dresses or speaks. Or how many babies one has or doesn’t have. Or whether one is married or isn’t married. Or whether one listens to rap music or watches Love and Hip-hop. Or whether one attends Yale or Hampton. A human life is not devalued or enriched by conforming or violating these white norms of so-called respectability. When this type of logic is accelerated to it’s logically flawed conclusion what one ends up with is framing life worth based on how many country club memberships one has, Versace dresses in closets of million-dollar mansions, and Ferraris in six-car garages.

Racist institutions don’t ask the recipient of it’s hatred whether they listen to Jay-Z before tossing their job application in the garbage nor do racist white men survey the television taste of black women knocking on their door for help before blowing their heads off with shotguns.

Racism decides who it will target based on skin color alone not by respectability.

Before blacks, like the fellow in this video, and racist whites were using rap music and baggy jeans to justify institutions murdering and economically and politically disenfranchising black people, other equally weak excuses existed like afros, voting taxes, Black Codes, Jim Crow, and the Bell Curve. None of this is new.

You ever notice when white-on-white crime happens, for example white men going in movie theatres or schools with military-style weapons shooting men, women, and innocent babies or when white men commit terroristic acts like blowing up buildings, there’s never any accusations by other white people (or BLACK PEOPLE!!) that the tragedy was the result of whites watching way too much Jackass (pure ignorance) or pornography (both participating -huge over representation in comparison to other races- and purchasing) or listening to Marilyn Manson or tattooing their bodies? No. That is because white behavior in a society which practices white supremacy, no matter how heinous, is normative. The sins of SOME whites don’t stick to ALL whites do they? No matter how sickening the act of violence, it’s never pathological. Those who looked like Timothy McVeigh didn’t start getting profiled after the Oklahoma City bombing.

In contrast, those black people who choose to act a fool is supposed to be enough to somehow convince me the value of my life has been cheapened?

Really?

Such logic is just more racist reasoning. It sounds like something a Klu Klux Klan member would say as justification for lynching someone black. But yet these words too often come from the mouths of well-meaning black people. It speaks to the pervasiveness of racism in a racist society.

I recently wrote about this phenomena in an essay entitled, “Hands Up with Pants Down: Black Respectability and Racism,”* wherein I stated all my biggest heroes were murdered wearing suits by white men without them.

Black respectability doesn’t guarantee black citizens squat in a society which devalues us all based on skin color alone, not behavior.

I don’t condone ignorant behavior by any person black, white or other. Ignorance is ignorance. But claiming the ignorant behavior of some devalues the lives of the many is falling into the trap of believing the lies whites have told blacks for centuries. It is as James Baldwin wrote:

“The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you. Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity and fear.”

So who’s the real nigger?

Those who maintain a society where the idea of the nigger is still necessary in order for it to function, that’s who the real nigger is.

*The essay mentioned above can be found at: http://contracritic.com/2014/09/03/hands-up-pants-down-black-respectability/

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rev. Melvin Louis Smith Jr.

Rev. Melvin Louis Smith Sr.

Emmett Till.

Emmett Till.

Megar Evers.

Medgar Evers.

This recent segment on CNN about pants sagging and racial profiling illustrates the divide not only in the black community, but the larger society, between those who offer black respectability as cure for racial profiling, and others who believe only holding systemic white supremacy accountable for targeting black and brown men for harassment, brutality, and arrest will result in less incidents like Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

First off let me say i’m against sagging as a fashion statement. This includes all men (or women) no matter the age or color of the person doing it. How one dresses does matter. Dress affects how one is perceived and those perceptions can result in positive or negative consequences. Most dramatically evidenced in one’s ability to obtain and maintain employment.

However, if we’re going to have a fair and balanced discussion about sagging I think it’s important that we also discuss misperceptions, because it is these misperceptions which lead to problems like racial profiling, and generalizing an entire race of people based off the sartorial choices of a segment of the global black community.

Malik’s pull-up-your-pants challenge is valid, but his premise for the challenge is flawed. He stated in the beginning of the video he believes black men sagging (he never mentioned white men, and this is important because it speaks to the double standard) contributes to racial profiling.

I disagree.

This logic is a misperception of reality, even a fallacy altogether. This thinking says police officers believe sagging is a mark of criminality, that’s why they profile black men. So if black men pulled up their pants they wouldn’t be profiled. But police do not believe this at all. If they did, black men would not be the only targets of their style profiling in racially mixed communities. Police patrol mixed communities (as well as inner cities which are mostly black) because that tends to be where the crime is, but all the racially diverse communities I’ve ever lived or visited whites appropriated black culture heavily. Certainly hip-hop culture. Go to any mall, bar or club, sporting event, etc., on a weekend in a racially diverse community and you will see white men sagging their pants. Not just a few either, many. Why then are white men (and women) not being targeted for arrest based on reasonable suspicion of criminality if police believe sagging to be a tell-tell sign of one’s propensity to commit a felony?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Furthermore, all of the crime in these communities aren’t being committed by black people, yet they are the most targeted for arrest. Research study after research study has shown that it is whites who commit the most non-violent offenses (arrest for non-violent offenses lead all other arrest nationwide), but are arrested the least for it – even when police catch whites with drugs and illegal firearms on their person. This speaks to the intentional targeting of black men not fair and impartial policing in diverse communities.

We must separate the truth from the myths to understand why a thing like black respectability won’t work to change the conditions for black people.

But if you believes blacks commit the most crime, this won’t make sense to you.

If you believe blacks use and sell the most drugs, this wont make sense to you.

If you believe that blacks commit the most murders irrespective of where they live, whether poor or affluent or everything in between, this wont make sense to you.

And if you still believe that more black men are going to prison rather than finishing high school, this won’t make sense to you.

All these stereotypes are myths, NOT REALITY.

And it is these myths which provide “justification” for cops racially profiling black men for sagging pants…or dreadlocks…or really dark skin.

Sagging one’s pants is not a criminal act, except in jurisdictions where they’ve passed ordinances which ticket such offenders. But more importantly, sagging is not an indicator of one’s propensity to commit a felony either. As Marc Lamont Hill stated, he sagged as a teenager, as did I, neither one of us have ever committed a felony. As haven’t the majority of black, white, Asian and Hispanic men and women who choose to not pull up their pants. Can anyone prove otherwise?

But lets get to the meat of the matter: Fear.

I understand why black mothers and fathers would be on board for “pull-up-your-damn-pants” challenges, i.e. black respectability politics, it is because whether they admit it or not, they know, due to lived experience, that a white cop doesn’t need a reason to harass a black person, and it is this fear for themselves and their children which contributes to some black adults suspending disbelief and assigning blame to the recipient of racial bias rather than the facilitator of it.

Black parents know better, they’ve lived through years of racial profiling, during an era when sagging wasn’t en vogue (when afros got one profiled rather than baggy pants. I wonder how many white men and women with afros during the 70’s were targeted for arrest?) but they earnestly still want to believe that it’s something a black child can do differently to help him from being victimized by racist police officers. But sadly, as too many women who’ve been victims of sexual assault understand, there’s NOTHING preventative which can be done to escape the clutches of a predator. Not wearing a longer skirt, not showing less cleavage, not watching your drink at the bar, a predator is a predator and unless someone steps in to help, one will be victimized.

Police prey on black men because they are easy targets. Black men by virtue of their tortured history and tenuous relationship with law enforcement possess no rights a cop is bound to respect. This goes for all black men, not just saggers. If I’m caught at night in a nice car cruising in an affluent neighborhood, my Brooks Brothers suit and Cole Haan brogues aren’t going to save me from being harassed and potentially brutalized – even if I happen to live in that community. (Check the Skip Gates case.)

So what are we left with? We’re left with the reality that racism is inescapable. And crying racism is not an excuse, it’s a plea for assistance. Racism is not a card to be played. Racism and systemic white supremacy is a reality all black people have to endure whether one believes it to be true or not. Racism cannot be bargained with or negotiated for a lower rate. It is destructive because it is unyielding to compromise. Hatred doesn’t require a reason. Which is why puling up one’s pants won’t lower the rates of black men being harassed by police officers given to racial stereotypes and bigotry.

How one chooses to dress surely may make the difference between being employed or unemployed; being broke or wealthy; being single or involved, even the difference between being looked down upon or respected. But dress doesn’t create or destroy racism nor does it decide how it is disseminated. The racist decides; the power structure decides.

All my biggest heroes were murdered wearing a suit by white men without them. Teaching children self-respect alone will save them from white supremacy is not only wrong, but cruel too.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 17: Demonstrators raise their arms and chant, "Hands up, Don't Shoot", as police clear them from the street as they protest the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police sprayed pepper spray, shot smoke, gas and flash grenades as violent outbreaks have taken place in Ferguson since the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FERGUSON, MO – AUGUST 17: Demonstrators raise their arms and chant, “Hands up, Don’t Shoot”, as police clear them from the street as they protest the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police sprayed pepper spray, shot smoke, gas and flash grenades as violent outbreaks have taken place in Ferguson since the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Lazone Grays Jr. is the founder and President of IBSA Inc., and a contributing columnist to ContraCritic News.

Lazone Grays Jr. is the founder and President of IBSA Inc., and a contributing columnist to ContraCritic News.

The time has come in America where who we are and what we stand for is at one of its greatest test. Do we rise above chaos or must we finally be consumed by it?

Our history of internal strife, turmoil, and standoff is well documented as with the historical facts of how they were resolved. Sometimes peaceful and often bloody, we have always moved from each point to the other; with sacrifice being required on all sides. We sacrificed blood and position. Money and fame. But in the end what we eventually lose or gain becomes our footnote/end note in history; whether we like or accept the outcome or not.

It was bound to happen that the issue of race relations would become front and center as America struggled with the ancient old question of “what do you do with millions of descendants of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade?” Let’s face it, there was never any intention that slavery was to end in it’s beginning. At the time, it was thought that it would go on forever and that those of African descent would always be less-than the White populous in America. But as time goes on, the change of attitude, authority and the environments of a society would dictate change; whether for good, or bad.

So here we are at another crucial crossroad in time where history will be defined in our ability; or inability to move from one point of chaos to another one of peace. As Martin Luther King Jr. coined the title of his book “Community or Chaos: Where do we go from here?”, it begs the question of “does America have what it takes to rise above it’s own chaos in order to reach an even greater good?”

I ponder the ways of our country when it seems easier to ignore truth in order to forget it’s past, but we all know that it is the past that has always been the beacon to which a country; and it’s people must use to gauge the veracity of it’s future. With each passing day, Ferguson begins to look like Palestine, some Middle East or foreign hotbed of conflict, and now our system of power is flexed as a brute crushing and suppressing it’s own people. Even a child asked, “how did it come to this?”

That we have arrived to this moment of time is understandable; and probably expected, what no one seems to knows or understand is where do we, or will we, go from here?

This is a bit more complex than gambling on the horse deemed the long shot. There is more at stake than a crown, award, plaque or who gets to stand in the winners circle. I see no winners if what it leave is one side hurting and the other claiming victory because they shed the least blood. It does not matter which side is victorious because we all lose a part of us when no one wins.

Many secure in the comforts of their home can pretend that this is just about ‘them’, forgetting that it really is about US. The world isn’t looking at the rich or poor, Black or White, the silent or the outraged, what the world sees is an implosion that was bound to happier sooner or later.

Yes, while the eyes of the world is pinned to their TV screens, the radio and now Internet, in their own minds they must be wondering is this a moment that defines King’s question, and are no doubt waiting to exhale on what the final outcome will be?

I have strong inclination that a resolve will come about, even if it is not the one I would like to see. Knowing the history of my country, I am resigned to the fact that this too shall pass; but that does not abate my fears of what comes next? A resurgence of hate or an avalanche of peace? A rise in bloodshed or a decline in morality? A peak in hatred or a decline in loving our fellow man?

Only time will tell.

Shootout at the Chicago Corral | Daily Stormer

Shootout at the Chicago Corral | Daily Stormer

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black kid with gun

choke

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

In the three days following Michael Brown’s killing by Ferguson, MO police, I’ve been covering the story extensively on contracritic.com, as well as engaging the community in discussions concerning the larger issues of race and racism as it relates to young black males in America.

I recently had one of these conversations with a black woman from Kansas named Aly Oh. Oh has a Masters degree in business and works for a non-profit organization in Topeka. Our chat wasn’t necessarily an interview, but she did present many relevant questions about the ongoing debate involving black-on-black crime (specifically black homicides) vs. white-on black killings, and the disparity in media coverage and uproar by the community following these types of incidents.

Our discussion began with Oh making the following statement about the imbalance of attention given to black victimization depending on who’s perpetrating the act:

“When someone from another race kills us (Black people), it makes National news and everyone is in an uproar. Yet when we kill ourselves, daily, people rarely bat an eye. If we are going to be mad, let’s be mad at all of the killings. It just needs to stop. Period.”

Me: The police swear an oath to protect and serve the community, when this oath is violated in such a heinous way, like cold-blooded murder, the violation is unique because trust has been broken between the institution supposedly in place to protect citizens and the citizens themselves.

Of course we understand all killing is wrong. But cops killing community members is a unique violation which deserves serious contemplation and community uproar.

Blacks who kill other blacks with guns usually do so to protect a drug economy which exist in America primarily because of racist institutions that have excluded the black underclass from accessing resources and opportunities necessary to succeed. This isn’t excuse making, it’s the truth. Both data and history tell us this.

To conflate these two realities, as if there’s no credible distinction, ignores black suffering, and even worse, buys into the myths white people have been telling blacks since the time of the Magna Carta: Black man [black woman] you are a nigger and an animal. All the wrong you do is done purely out of senselessness because you lack the ability to reason and function as a human being.

This is unreality and white supremacy rhetoric.

Blacks killing one another needs to stop, but there’s a reason why the drug economy exist in inner cities, namely, racist institutions.

When white police officers kill black men on the street because they’re black men, after swearing an oath to protect the Constitutional Rights of the community, this action represents the furtherance of more racism; the police then become not an arm of justice but a facilitator of white supremacy.

This is a distinction with a difference that black people, especially, need to understand clear. Otherwise you’ll find yourself repeating the lies of the oppressor.

Oh: I do understand the distinction and that there are underlying agendas at work. But what are we as black people doing to address that? We’ll march in a minute when we feel an affront, but are we as unified and vocal when it comes to saving ourselves and our youth? Let’s march for that and come together, not just when it’s someone else against us.

Me: A unique solution must be created to address whats happening in black ghettos, different problems require different solutions.

Marching and protests aren’t going to solve what’s happening in the ghettos. Only organizing around economics will.

If the ghetto is ever going to be transformed from “Murderville” to men mentoring men to become business minded, blacks have to discard the idea that we can have transformation through integration – a lie blacks have snuggled for far too long. Blacks are not going to partner their way out suffering if those partners are white, it just isn’t going to happen.

Blacks must create an economically sustainable community by partnering with other black people to provide services and necessities to their community. Exploit the power of the 60 billion dollar black consumer market to our own benefit by producing something of value other black people can spend their money on.

But this takes rebuilding a trust between black people that has been broken down by white supremacist brainwashing and Willie Lynch syndrome. This is what creates the suspicion among blacks about other black people. It’s not the actions of other blacks which has created the distrust in our community, it’s the nearly 400 years of brainwashing.

This is fixable. But it all starts with empowering blacks through education; an education which helps blacks rediscover who they are and then immediately pivoting to building black businesses which exclusively provide necessities and services to the black community. When we get this, there’ll be no more “Murderville.”

Oh: I agree with you on your points Timothy and in no way am I trying to minimize the violence against our ancestors. I simply feel that we as a people owe it to ourselves and our ancestors to stop killing ourselves and not just speak on violence when it comes from outside.

Me: We’ll never stop black people from killing one another, no more than whites will stop whites from killing each other, or Asians, or Latinos, etc., this is what human beings do, and most murders happen intraracially for every race, not just black people. A fact the media appears incapable of admitting.

But in typical fashion it is blacks that are perceived by society as being exceptional when it comes to murder. We aren’t exceptional, we’re human just like everyone else. At this very moment, white Israelis are bombing white Palestinians with the backing of a white American government. Is this not white-on-white crime on a scale that dwarfs all of what’s taking place among blacks in places like Chicago, Detroit, California, and Baltimore?! I’d say so, but it isn’t perceived that way is it? Of course not.

Like Malcom X stated, “Blacks are the only people in America that aren’t supposed to be violent.” Blacks get condemned for being violent even when violence is justified. Meanwhile whites engage in violence on scales unimaginable against other whites and people of color here in America and abroad without as much as a raised collective eye brow.

This is why, in my opinion, focusing attention on blacks killing blacks is counterproductive, at the least, and perpetuation of myth at the worst.

Oh: I understand your point, but taking into account Topeka KS and the murders that have taken place in not only 2014 but previous years, is it not disproportionate given our population percentage? Every race does have murderers, that is fact. But are we to excuse the fact that we kill ourselves just because other races do the same? Acknowledging black-on-black violence is not counterproductive, nor is it condoning violence against us by the police. It’s wrong on either side is my point. I don’t discount your opinion, but I won’t back down from mine either.

Me: I respect your opinion Aly. And black homicide in America is disproportionate by percentage to other races, but again the factors for why these numbers are disproportionate matters if we are to have an honest assessment of the issue and how we can take steps to change it.

The biggest factor for why black homicide rates are higher is do to those in the black community competing for space in a drug economy. A drug economy which primarily exist because blacks have been systematically excluded from the mainstream economy – due to racism. Add to this the government’s willingness to supply drugs to black distribution channels in the ghetto, while also providing guns to protect these channels.

The drug economy is the only economy the federal government has ever subsidized for black people. Think about that for a moment. They provide the product and the means to protect the product, at that point all that is needed is willing workers. Blacks have never been afraid of work. Is it no wonder poor communities opt into the drug trade? It’s damn near common sense for the poor. The only problem is even this system is set up for blacks to fail due to targeted policing and mass incarceration for not the murders to protect drug turf, but non-violent offenses. The possessing of the same drugs supplied to them by the government. It’s a classic bait-and-switch being done on the poor – who are overwhelmingly black and Latino- by the federal government; a government that willingly chooses to be racist toward non-white people.

These are the causes of black homicide. Viewed in this context, doesn’t it make black murder more explainable, even if one refuses to condone it?

Blacks occupy unique circumstances in America.

Oh: That is true. I agree wholeheartedly. The same system that provides the drugs is the one that makes you a slave and/or prisoner for selling them and fuels much of the black-on-black killing. Lack of education and job opportunities are also huge factors. So why aren’t our black leaders making these things a media issue? I have never seen these facts addressed during a news broadcast. When media wants ratings they talk about racially motivated killings all day long. I don’t see them discussing the root issues in our community. I don’t see them caring as much about the daily killings that happen. I don’t hear us talking about black-on-black killings as much, as if we have seemingly accepted them as a way of life.

Me: Because most of our black leaders benefit from the present set of arrangements. The so-called leaders in the black community primarily exist in our black churches and advocacy organizations, this has always been so since Emancipation. Some of these individuals have moved from street advocacy to political positions over time.

The drug economy, and all its death and destruction, is both a black preacher’s dream and a black advocate’s dream, if they’re corrupt and lack real concern for black people. The drug economy, and all its ills, keeps the exploitation wheel good and oiled to continue exploiting black people for profit. That’s the black-on-black crime that needs to be addressed. Not gangbangers protecting drug turf, but so-called gospel preachers and advocates bleeding the black poor dry of the little money they possess. The pen is truly mightier than the sword, these parasites prove it.

You can’t preach a prosperity gospel, which we must recognize is a gospel of exploitation, to black people who are already prosperous. Individuals who have created wealth by holding on to the resources they’ve earned through business, not by gambling and giving it away.

You can’t tell an economically self-sustaining community that their best protection against institutional racism is to march and protest – beg white people for accommodations in a system designed to benefit whites and whites alone, which is the present state of things. A self-sustained black community would recognize this as advocating surrender rather than success; submission rather than dictating one’s own destiny; and they’d recognize this kind of advocating is merely a vain attempt to hold blacks in their place, in a position beneath whites.

This is why today’s so-called black leaders aren’t speaking about what we’re discussing right now. You’re not going to see these rats discussing anything like this on the news, or in the paper. But if they really were who they said they were, and wanted what they claim they wanted – black prosperity and economic mobility, and attainment of political power – you would, but they don’t really want any of these things, they simply want to enrich themselves on black suffering. They benefit from white racism. They’re selling black people out in the name of god and integration.

Oh: I agree with you to some extent, but our people as a whole are not so ignorant. Some of us make a choice to do the things we do. We understand that problems exist but where is an honest voice to educate the people? There is historical white racism . . . but would you disagree that there is an even greater degree of self hate?

Me: Being ignorant doesn’t mean your choices don’t matter, or that you’ve been forced to make choices against your will, it just means you’re making decisions without useful insight to understand those decisions aren’t in your own best interest.

This is black people’s biggest problem. We can address symptoms all day long, but it’s time to diagnose the disease that is causing the symptoms. Black-on-black crime is not a disease, it’s a symptom of a disease. Blacks buying into prosperity gospels isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom of a disease. Blacks advocating more integration rather than advocating for economically sustainable black communities isn’t the disease, it’s a symptom.

The disease is institutional and internalized racism as well as white supremacist brainwashing. Blacks believe there is no other reality for them because racism has been so internalized. They don’t remember, or were never taught, who they were before they contracted this disease. And you’re right, it is self-hate. But it’s the brainwashing that causes blacks to hate themselves.

This is where our community finds itself at present. In denial and confused. And you know you’re confused when you really believe the cure to your disease is to be found in cooperating with the persons who transmitted the disease to you in the first place.

As far as locating honest voices to educate the people? I say that answer is to be found in you every time you look in the mirror Aly Oh.

Oh: In treating the disease we would be remiss to fight hate with hate. Every white person isn’t evil, just as every black person isn’t a threat. We can acknowledge the past without repeating it. The dialogue that we’re having today is powerful, but means nothing if there is no love and action behind our words. Cooperating with an oppressor is worthless . . . You have to decide to stop behaving like the oppressed. I do understand that the system is not designed in our favor, but conscious individuals have a choice to think and do beyond the confines and stereotypes…

I understand your passion and I thank you for thinking outside the normal parameters. We know we’ve got to do better as a people, myself included.

Me: Our choices are no better than our understanding of self. Educate black people as to who they are, and they’ll make better choices. Tell black people the truth and they’ll make better choices. But everyone cannot be saved.

Thank you for this talk.

Oh: Thank you. Maybe one day we can get some media coverage for this discussion.

Well Aly, you just did dear, you just did.

Ms. Aly Oh.

Ms. Aly Oh.

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

In the three days following Michael Brown’s killing by Ferguson, MO police, I’ve been covering the story extensively on contracritic.com, as well as engaging the community in discussions concerning the larger issues of race and racism as it relates to young black males in America.

I recently had one of these conversations with a black woman from Kansas named Aly Oh. Oh has a Masters degree in business and works for a non-profit organization in Topeka. Our chat wasn’t necessarily an interview, but she did present many relevant questions about the ongoing debate involving black-on-black crime (specifically black homicides) vs. white-on black killings, and the disparity in media coverage and uproar by the community following these types of incidents.

Our discussion began with Oh making the following statement about the imbalance of attention given to black victimization depending on who’s perpetrating the act:

“When someone from another race kills us (Black people), it makes National news and everyone is in an uproar. Yet when we kill ourselves, daily, people rarely bat an eye. If we are going to be mad, let’s be mad at all of the killings. It just needs to stop. Period.”

Me: The police swear an oath to protect and serve the community, when this oath is violated in such a heinous way, like cold-blooded murder, the violation is unique because trust has been broken between the institution supposedly in place to protect citizens and the citizens themselves.

Of course we understand all killing is wrong. But cops killing community members is a unique violation which deserves serious contemplation and community uproar.

Blacks who kill other blacks with guns usually do so to protect a drug economy which exist in America primarily because of racist institutions that have excluded the black underclass from accessing resources and opportunities necessary to succeed. This isn’t excuse making, it’s the truth. Both data and history tell us this.

To conflate these two realities, as if there’s no credible distinction, ignores black suffering, and even worse, buys into the myths white people have been telling blacks since the time of the Magna Carta: Black man [black woman] you are a nigger and an animal. All the wrong you do is done purely out of senselessness because you lack the ability to reason and function as a human being.

This is unreality and white supremacy rhetoric.

Blacks killing one another needs to stop, but there’s a reason why the drug economy exist in inner cities, namely, racist institutions.

When white police officers kill black men on the street because they’re black men, after swearing an oath to protect the Constitutional Rights of the community, this action represents the furtherance of more racism; the police then become not an arm of justice but a facilitator of white supremacy.

This is a distinction with a difference that black people, especially, need to understand clear. Otherwise you’ll find yourself repeating the lies of the oppressor.

Oh: I do understand the distinction and that there are underlying agendas at work. But what are we as black people doing to address that? We’ll march in a minute when we feel an affront, but are we as unified and vocal when it comes to saving ourselves and our youth? Let’s march for that and come together, not just when it’s someone else against us.

Me: A unique solution must be created to address whats happening in black ghettos, different problems require different solutions.

Marching and protests aren’t going to solve what’s happening in the ghettos. Only organizing around economics will.

If the ghetto is ever going to be transformed from “Murderville” to men mentoring men to become business minded, blacks have to discard the idea that we can have transformation through integration – a lie blacks have snuggled for far too long. Blacks are not going to partner their way out suffering if those partners are white, it just isn’t going to happen.

Blacks must create an economically sustainable community by partnering with other black people to provide services and necessities to their community. Exploit the power of the 60 billion dollar black consumer market to our own benefit by producing something of value other black people can spend their money on.

But this takes rebuilding a trust between black people that has been broken down by white supremacist brainwashing and Willie Lynch syndrome. This is what creates the suspicion among blacks about other black people. It’s not the actions of other blacks which has created the distrust in our community, it’s the nearly 400 years of brainwashing.

This is fixable. But it all starts with empowering blacks through education; an education which helps blacks rediscover who they are and then immediately pivoting to building black businesses which exclusively provide necessities and services to the black community. When we get this, there’ll be no more “Murderville.”

Oh: I agree with you on your points Timothy and in no way am I trying to minimize the violence against our ancestors. I simply feel that we as a people owe it to ourselves and our ancestors to stop killing ourselves and not just speak on violence when it comes from outside.

Me: We’ll never stop black people from killing one another, no more than whites will stop whites from killing each other, or Asians, or Latinos, etc., this is what human beings do, and most murders happen intraracially for every race, not just black people. A fact the media appears incapable of admitting.

But in typical fashion it is blacks that are perceived by society as being exceptional when it comes to murder. We aren’t exceptional, we’re human just like everyone else. At this very moment, white Israelis are bombing white Palestinians with the backing of a white American government. Is this not white-on-white crime on a scale that dwarfs all of what’s taking place among blacks in places like Chicago, Detroit, California, and Baltimore?! I’d say so, but it isn’t perceived that way is it? Of course not.

Like Malcom X stated, “Blacks are the only people in America that aren’t supposed to be violent.” Blacks get condemned for being violent even when violence is justified. Meanwhile whites engage in violence on scales unimaginable against other whites and people of color here in America and abroad without as much as a raised collective eye brow.

This is why, in my opinion, focusing attention on blacks killing blacks is counterproductive, at the least, and perpetuation of myth at the worst.

Oh: I understand your point, but taking into account Topeka KS and the murders that have taken place in not only 2014 but previous years, is it not disproportionate given our population percentage? Every race does have murderers, that is fact. But are we to excuse the fact that we kill ourselves just because other races do the same? Acknowledging black-on-black violence is not counterproductive, nor is it condoning violence against us by the police. It’s wrong on either side is my point. I don’t discount your opinion, but I won’t back down from mine either.

Me: I respect your opinion Aly. And black homicide in America is disproportionate by percentage to other races, but again the factors for why these numbers are disproportionate matters if we are to have an honest assessment of the issue and how we can take steps to change it.

The biggest factor for why black homicide rates are higher is do to those in the black community competing for space in a drug economy. A drug economy which primarily exist because blacks have been systematically excluded from the mainstream economy – due to racism. Add to this the government’s willingness to supply drugs to black distribution channels in the ghetto, while also providing guns to protect these channels.

The drug economy is the only economy the federal government has ever subsidized for black people. Think about that for a moment. They provide the product and the means to protect the product, at that point all that is needed is willing workers. Blacks have never been afraid of work. Is it no wonder poor communities opt into the drug trade? It’s damn near common sense for the poor. The only problem is even this system is set up for blacks to fail due to targeted policing and mass incarceration for not the murders to protect drug turf, but non-violent offenses. The possessing of the same drugs supplied to them by the government. It’s a classic bait-and-switch being done on the poor – who are overwhelmingly black and Latino- by the federal government; a government that willingly chooses to be racist toward non-white people.

These are the causes of black homicide. Viewed in this context, doesn’t it make black murder more explainable, even if one refuses to condone it?

Blacks occupy unique circumstances in America.

Oh: That is true. I agree wholeheartedly. The same system that provides the drugs is the one that makes you a slave and/or prisoner for selling them and fuels much of the black-on-black killing. Lack of education and job opportunities are also huge factors. So why aren’t our black leaders making these things a media issue? I have never seen these facts addressed during a news broadcast. When media wants ratings they talk about racially motivated killings all day long. I don’t see them discussing the root issues in our community. I don’t see them caring as much about the daily killings that happen. I don’t hear us talking about black-on-black killings as much, as if we have seemingly accepted them as a way of life.

Me: Because most of our black leaders benefit from the present set of arrangements. The so-called leaders in the black community primarily exist in our black churches and advocacy organizations, this has always been so since Emancipation. Some of these individuals have moved from street advocacy to political positions over time.

The drug economy, and all its death and destruction, is both a black preacher’s dream and a black advocate’s dream, if they’re corrupt and lack real concern for black people. The drug economy, and all its ills, keeps the exploitation wheel good and oiled to continue exploiting black people for profit. That’s the black-on-black crime that needs to be addressed. Not gangbangers protecting drug turf, but so-called gospel preachers and advocates bleeding the black poor dry of the little money they possess. The pen is truly mightier than the sword, these parasites prove it.

You can’t preach a prosperity gospel, which we must recognize is a gospel of exploitation, to black people who are already prosperous. Individuals who have created wealth by holding on to the resources they’ve earned through business, not by gambling and giving it away.

You can’t tell an economically self-sustaining community that their best protection against institutional racism is to march and protest – beg white people for accommodations in a system designed to benefit whites and whites alone, which is the present state of things. A self-sustained black community would recognize this as advocating surrender rather than success; submission rather than dictating one’s own destiny; and they’d recognize this kind of advocating is merely a vain attempt to hold blacks in their place, in a position beneath whites.

This is why today’s so-called black leaders aren’t speaking about what we’re discussing right now. You’re not going to see these rats discussing anything like this on the news, or in the paper. But if they really were who they said they were, and wanted what they claim they wanted – black prosperity and economic mobility, and attainment of political power – you would, but they don’t really want any of these things, they simply want to enrich themselves on black suffering. They benefit from white racism. They’re selling black people out in the name of god and integration.

Oh: I agree with you to some extent, but our people as a whole are not so ignorant. Some of us make a choice to do the things we do. We understand that problems exist but where is an honest voice to educate the people? There is historical white racism . . . but would you disagree that there is an even greater degree of self hate?

Me: Being ignorant doesn’t mean your choices don’t matter, or that you’ve been forced to make choices against your will, it just means you’re making decisions without useful insight to understand those decisions aren’t in your own best interest.

This is black people’s biggest problem. We can address symptoms all day long, but it’s time to diagnose the disease that is causing the symptoms. Black-on-black crime is not a disease, it’s a symptom of a disease. Blacks buying into prosperity gospels isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom of a disease. Blacks advocating more integration rather than advocating for economically sustainable black communities isn’t the disease, it’s a symptom.

The disease is institutional and internalized racism as well as white supremacist brainwashing. Blacks believe there is no other reality for them because racism has been so internalized. They don’t remember, or were never taught, who they were before they contracted this disease. And you’re right, it is self-hate. But it’s the brainwashing that causes blacks to hate themselves.

This is where our community finds itself at present. In denial and confused. And you know you’re confused when you really believe the cure to your disease is to be found in cooperating with the persons who transmitted the disease to you in the first place.

As far as locating honest voices to educate the people? I say that answer is to be found in you every time you look in the mirror Aly Oh.

Oh: In treating the disease we would be remiss to fight hate with hate. Every white person isn’t evil, just as every black person isn’t a threat. We can acknowledge the past without repeating it. The dialogue that we’re having today is powerful, but means nothing if there is no love and action behind our words. Cooperating with an oppressor is worthless . . . You have to decide to stop behaving like the oppressed. I do understand that the system is not designed in our favor, but conscious individuals have a choice to think and do beyond the confines and stereotypes…

I understand your passion and I thank you for thinking outside the normal parameters. We know we’ve got to do better as a people, myself included.

Me: Our choices are no better than our understanding of self. Educate black people as to who they are, and they’ll make better choices. Tell black people the truth and they’ll make better choices. But everyone cannot be saved.

Thank you for this talk.

Oh: Thank you. Maybe one day we can get some media coverage for this discussion.

Well Aly, you just did dear, you just did.

Ms. Aly Oh.

Ms. Aly Oh.

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

So much for keeping promises…

Earlier this afternoon, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson informed the press his office would not be releasing the name of the officer who killed Michael Brown, citing death threats against the officer as the primary reason for nondisclosure. Brown’s killer is being protected by his brothers in blue. And it is this lack of transparency by Ferguson and St. Louis County police which feeds community suspicion that a thorough investigation will never take place.

Ferguson Police Department’s utter hypocrisy is unbelievable when we consider the lengths they’re willing to go to shield a killer from public scrutiny, only because the killer is a fellow officer, an officer who executed – in broad daylight – a member of the community he swore an oath to serve. Meanwhile their long history of racial profiling blacks for arrest has resulted in a steady stream of black faces on the local news. This disproportionate treatment underscores the level of indifference a nearly all-white police force possesses toward a mostly black community.

In the 24 hours following Brown’s slaying, before the streets of Ferguson began to burn, police had an opportunity to ease community tension by conducting a serious investigation from the outset, they chose not to. Instead police decided obfuscation, inaction and negligence was the proper response, as they often do in crimes involving black victims and white suspects. Let me count some of the ways which point to this being true:

1. Ferguson and St. Louis County police investigators left Michael Brown’s body to bake in the sweltering sun for over four hours after he was shot to death, destroying useful forensic evidence which could’ve been used to prove or disprove the opposing accounts of what transpired between Brown and the police officer. This evidence has now been lost forever.

2. Cell phones of eye-witnesses were confiscated by Ferguson and St. Louis County police investigators without a police warrant. There’s a very good chance someone captured the altercation between Brown and the police officer on their cell phone camera. Are we to believe police informed the property owners they did not have to comply and hand over their personal property or is it more likely police bullied these witnesses and made them believe compliance was mandatory to avoid being arrested?

3. Rather than immediately turning the investigation over to federal investigators, upon talking to witnesses on the scene, who all corroborated one another that the shooting was execution style, Ferguson police chose to hand over the case to St. Louis County police department. A police department with a long history of racism, prejudice and discrimination against blacks, and an ongoing operation of racial profiling and targeting blacks for arrest. This decision demonstrates transparency is something investigators in this case have little interest in.

4. Ferguson police patrol cars do not have dashboard cameras installed. As a result, the initial contact between Ferguson police and Brown is lost. Very convenient for the police officer who ultimately killed Brown. When questioned by the press about why dash cams were not installed on patrol cars, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson claims the cameras are sitting in boxes at the station. This bespeaks a culture of concealment and corruption. Why would Ferguson Police Department opt out of one of the primary measures to ensure police officers conduct themselves in a manner befitting their sworn oath to protect and serve the community?

5. Why was this officer scurried from the crime scene before news media arrived? Why has he still not been identified when even suspects in some of the most heinous crimes against children are identified immediately, despite death threats against them and their respective families? Police investigators are choosing to protect Brown’s killer in a fashion not afforded those who commit similar offenses. He’s being protected because he’s a police officer. We can be sure he isn’t being treated as a suspect. No interrogation, no isolation, no monitoring.

6. Why in the three days following this incident hasn’t the officer made a statement? Written or oral? If he was simply doing his job and has nothing to hide, why hasn’t he spoken to the public or offered condolences to the families affected by this tragedy? Is he lawyering up? If so, why does a law-abiding cop need representation? Is he manufacturing a story with the assistance of the investigating officers? It’s certainly a possibility. Will his statements, whenever they do come, be thorough or brief, off-the-cuff or from a lawyer? I think we know the answers to these questions already.

The investigators in this case have chosen to leave these questions unanswered. This level of incompetence and inaction doesn’t calm the fears of those in the black community who have witnessed time and again justice botched by police cover-ups and failures to conduct complete investigations.

This is why the city burns.

In my recent essay, “Home Is Where the Hatred Is,” I discuss those who advocate a black respectability politic which says, among other things, denounce any blacks who choose to riot rather than attend prayer vigils. But when young black males experience police brutality at astronomical levels, and witness what appears to be an endless stream of vigilantes and white police officers murdering those who share similar skin complexion as they do, a breaking point eventually arrives, and dignity dictates a destructive statement must be made, while the entire world is watching, to demonstrate just how viciously blacks despise a racist white power structure which discards their humanity like a filthy rag.

While I do feel some level of sympathy for business owners affected by the chaos, I don’t believe this should be the focus of discussion, instead, an earnest and thorough investigation should be commenced to unearth what is transpiring between North County police and a mostly black population which causes such levels of discontent to boil over into riots and looting. Pretending that every person who participated in Sunday’s riots did so out of mere opportunism is naive, and such ignorance dismisses the very real and extensive history of racial intolerance by white police officers against black citizens in North County.

The federal government and numerous research institutions have provided data which shows the racially disparate treatment afforded white and black citizens by St. Louis County police officers. Blacks are stopped by police at higher rates, ticketed at higher rates, detained at higher rates, arrested at higher rates, and report issues of police brutality at higher rates than whites, despite the data indicating whites are more likely to possess illegal weapons and drugs when searched by police.

Blacks, young and old, are tired of being harassed, profiled, discriminated against, and targeted for arrest by white law enforcement because of their skin color. It is this angst which drove some to torch businesses and bear arms against Ferguson and North County police Sunday night. You can call it misplaced rage, ignorance, misguided and unacceptable, or all the above, but with the whole world watching, blacks in Ferguson made a statement that something is wrong in their community, and it begins and ends with the present set of arrangements between black citizens and the white power structure in St. Louis.

Until we address these underlining issues of race, there’ll be more police misconduct, murders, and mayhem. In a recent Miami Herald article, Leonard Pitts writes, “Silence imposed on pain cannot indefinitely endure. People who are hurting will always, eventually, make themselves heard. Even if they must scream to do so.”

The black community in Ferguson, MO continues to scream tonight, but the question persist: Are the people with the power to change what these folks are screaming about even listening?

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-and Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s public execution by Ferguson, Missouri police, I hear the familiar calls by well-meaning but fearful blacks advising their community to remain calm and swallow their rage against institutional racism.

A prayer vigil was organized Sunday afternoon outside the Ferguson police department where Protestant ministers and members of the Nation of Islam repeated similar refrains to an angry crowd: “Stay respectful, don’t antagonize police, this is the only way the Brown family will have a shot at justice.”

The philosophy of black respectability has been preached by the cowardly and frightened for too long. From President Obama’s calls for blacks to demonstrate restraint and calm in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder to CNN news anchor Don Lemon instructing black teenagers to stop littering in Harlem if they wanted to avoid being harassed and beaten by NYPD, this passive, self-serving message, delivered by those who pretend to love black people, is harmful because it distracts attention away from the systems most responsible for black vulnerability.

Telling an outraged black community, who’s just witnessed another innocent teenager murdered by police, not to loot white businesses in their neighborhoods, when these parasitic businesses represent the white power structure that excludes blacks (white business owners who refuse to employ, live, work, worship and partner with black entrepreneurs to improve the conditions of the neighborhood) while simultaneously exploiting them for economic enrichment, doesn’t pass the sniff test. Destroying a system of exploitation can only be viewed as positive unless you’ve been thoroughly convinced being a slave has personal benefit.

Instructing the black community to treat a racist police system with utmost respect, at all times, in order to stay alive, and/or be treated as a citizen, when we’ve witnessed seemingly never-ending incidents like Trayvon Martin, like Jordan Davis, like Renisha McBride, like Eric Garner, like Michael Brown (as if blacks are incapable of understanding that respecting police doesn’t guarantee their children’s survival) is both bad advice and a strategy for continued victimization.

It’s a foolish game of blaming the victim rather than the victimizer. It’s rebuking the raped for wearing a short skirt rather than jailing the raper for sexual assault.

On the other hand, sound instruction worthy of the black community’s justified outrage must be a message which organizes blacks around, while educating blacks to, the reality that the only way racist institutions, like law enforcement in America, is going to stop murdering black men in the street for selling loose cigarettes; the only solution to solve the epidemic of racist white men murdering black teenage boys for loud music, or for carrying water guns, or for choosing to wear hoodies in the rain; the only measure which can be taken to ensure black women who knock on doors at night, in white neighborhoods, don’t get shotguns shoved in their faces, and heads blown off, is to make crystal clear to racist white institutions and racist white people that black citizens will use deadly force against ANYONE, including the police, who infringe upon their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

All other talk begins and ends right there.

Any other advice is supplemental to this.

We, the black community, can no longer live in fear of white oppression and white disapproval, believing that if we just “act right” we’ll survive in America.

This has proven far too often not to be the case.

Continuing to instruct blacks to behave in a manner that doesn’t work to solve any of our problems is a waste of time, and strengthens and sustains white supremacy.

If black life in America is to be valued the same as white life, than it must be defended in a similar fashion, by any means necessary.

If indeed Michael Brown did not commit any crime, and was still harassed and provoked into a physical altercation by Ferguson police, which resulted in the police officer brandishing his gun and shooting at Michael Brown, I assert to anyone who claims to love freedom and justice for all, that Justice says if Michael Brown did have a gun during such an incident he would’ve been within his moral rights to shoot that racist Ferguson cop dead right there on the spot. Leaving the officer bleeding in the street for all to see, just as Brown was left dead and alone Saturday afternoon.

If Michael Brown’s moral right to live free from oppression conflicts with man-made laws, those laws are unjust. Blacks must choose virtue over injustice.

Some will say such words incite violence against law enforcement, I disagree. Such a message empowers black people to love themselves enough not to allow individuals filled with hatred to make mourners of those who love them.

The notion that blacks should bear arms against racist police in order to protect themselves from unjustified police power is not a radical stance, it’s a common sense survival strategy. It’s an American ideal.

Those who would say this is radical, I say Patrick Henry was radical, Thomas Paine was radical, the Founding Fathers were radical, and any other white person who refused to be annihilated willingly by forces whom opposed their right to live free were radical.

Why then can’t black citizens be radical in defending their civil rights and when exercising equal protections under the law? This is only right. This is justice.

Furthermore, this is the only way the black community is ever going to place a check on the out-of-control use of deadly force being instituted against them daily by racist white citizens and police.

There must be a legitimate concern of righteous retribution for anyone who dares to threaten the life of an innocent black citizen in this country. Otherwise these racially-motivated killings will continue unabated.

These principles of righteous retribution, these checks on law enforcement are already operating now, but not for blacks, for whites. These checks ensure we don’t view on the evening news white teenage boys being gunned down by police officers. It’s this threat of righteous and violent retribution by the white community which protects their children from vigilantes and corrupt cops. The courts have recognized this agreement and stand ready to prosecute anyone who violates it, officer or citizen alike.

These same cops know they’d have to answer for their misdeeds if they choked a white woman to death on a sidewalk like they did Eric Gardner.

Black citizens occupy a completely different world altogether. Black life is cheap in America, it can be snuffed out on most days without as much as a mention in the newspaper or on television. Our lives are so devalued and disrespected even so-called black leaders routinely declare, in the aftermath of racially-motivated killings of loved ones, to remain calm and swallow anger; to let the police do their jobs – the same police who killed our children.

This nonsensical rhetoric passes for leadership in the black community today. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and those of their ilk, convince blacks that lying down to their oppressor; their killer; their exploiter, signifies respect for self, and the family of the victimized. All while racist whites plot their next public lynching of another black mother, father, son, daughter or friend.

Surrendering oneself to one’s oppressor isn’t respecting oneself, it’s the worse form of self-disrespect one can do.

Respect for self and love for community says, “If I’ve done nothing wrong, and someone tries to take my life or the life of anyone I love, that person has to die. No matter who they are; police officer, teacher, politician, priest, preacher, or peasant it doesn’t matter! I will defend myself and the lives of those I love no matter what comes after.”

This is what respect looks like.

This is how love of self and community operates to defend both from an oppressive system of violence and exploitation.

But most blacks are scared of whites. They fear whites more than they love themselves. Too many black people still want whites to accept them. They yet yearn for white approval and recognition. Sambo niggas, still operating under meritorious manumission, like a damn slave.

Black man, black woman, whites will never accept, recognize nor respect you until you demonstrate just how much love you have for yourself by standing up and refusing to accept being exploited and systematically murdered and destroyed by their racist institutions.

Power only recognizes power.

This is what love looks like in practice.

This is justice and fairness.

This is what it looks like to be free.

Will we do it?

Or will we wait wondering whether the next Michael Brown is us?