American Justice 101

 “Justice is like a train that is nearly always late”

Does it seem as if we’re living in an upside-down world where what should be isn’t & what shouldn’t be is in fact a reality? Although strides have been made to dilute the poisons that have deformed the body politic in the U.S – thanks to the Human/Civil Rights struggles in the 50s/60s and the many contributions/sacrifices of activists/scholars/artists up to today –  the stubborn persistence of America’s predilection for  injustice, inequality, criminality,  inhumanity & cynical hypocrisy continues & it does appear to me that a backward motion is already underway in huge swaths of the population.

Some accuse me of being too pessimistic & overly-critical, but if I were to collapse all of the counter-arguments I have heard one too many times, they would go something like this: “…dont’ we have a black President? And isn’t Don Thompson (CEO of McDonald’s),  Kenneth Frazier (CEO of Merck ), Kenneth Chenault (CEO of American Express),  Ursula Burns (CEO of Xerox),  Clarence Otis (CEO of Darden Restaurants), and Roger Ferguson  (CEO of  privately held TIAA-CREF) all black? And let’s not talk about all the success stories in sports/arts/ entertainment/military. Everything is on a level playing field – we’re post-racial now – so enough of the tiresome  ‘no justice no peace’ & ‘we shall overcome’ claptrap. I made it so they should just shut up and get a job and stop making excuses” . 

To the folks who think on this level: Put the crack pipe down.

The sad reality is, regardless of class, a black person is killed by a police officer, security guard, or vigilante (aka fake-ass cop) every 28 hours (or less). And this is not a random act of nature – it is the inevitable result of decades upon decades of institutional racism and gestapo tactics/ thinking within America’s domestic security apparatus. A recent study details the grim statistics of lives cut short by the cancer at the heart of American society/culture. Today’s cover on the New York Daily News sums this up with a chilling but accurate picture.  (I highly recommend listening CSPAN’s interview with Michelle Alexander here).

The shockwave of this murderer’s acquittal is being felt by all people of conscience the world over. We are aghast by this human tragedy & legal travesty. Alas, being young, black & male in America is like having a shooting target stamped on your back & this predicament is, to my mind, one of many indicators that this country is terminally ill for it is only in America can a dead black boy  – once alive and just walking home from a store –  go on trial for his own murder….& the way he was criminalized for defending himself was beyond words….

This just in: George Zimmerman will get his gun back following his acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin — and his attorney believes he needs it “even more” than before.


Unless we challenge the entire criminal justice system (and mass incarceration), there will indubitably be many more Trayvon Martins and a constant dread that next time it may be YOUR kid returning home with a drink and some candies from the corner store….

Please sign the NAACP petition to the Department of Justice seeking justice for Trayvon Martin by filing civil rights charges against  Zimmerman.



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