Recently, the diva soprano Kathleen Battle brought her multi-octave angelic voice to the hip Blue Note jazz club.
The room was sold out and one could hear a pin drop, which may have had something to do with Battle’s strict three-minute food service break after each medley of songs. It was a musical experience that rarely occurs in jazz surroundings.
Her repertoire covered classical to the American Songbook and jazz. She dedicated “Lullaby for a Little Black Child,” written by the Spanish composer Xavier Montsalvatge, to Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old fatally shot by a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer. She stated, “Rest in peace, young brother.”
Some celebrities are making statements through their music that these police killings of unarmed young Black men must come to an end. The motto “Black Lives Matter” has become the battle cry for this movement.
From the moment shackled Africans stepped onto the first slave ship to America, Black life had no meaning. Slaves who became sick were thrown overboard; those who didn’t follow orders were beaten.
For 200 years during slavery, Blacks were lynched, whipped and raped by their slave masters and other white degenerates. Black lives didn’t matter.
White men developed an arrogant sense of privilege—call it an innate feeling of superiority. Slaves were property, not human beings. White men were free to do whatever they wanted to Black people, without fear of punishment.
That white sense of supremacy has only increased over the past 400 years. Many white police officers come into the Black community feeling superior, so they can kill Eric Gardner in New York, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Freddie Gray in Baltimore
To these officers, Black lives are an afterthought, and more often than not, these officers are protected by the “blue wall of silence” and their superiors.
To date, the officer in South Carolina who shot Walter Scott is one of the few indicted. Police officer Eric Casebolt in McKinney, Texas, resigned after he roughed up a 14-year-old Black girl as if she were a dangerous adult male criminal and pulled his gun on teenage boys.
After Casebolt resigned, he was able to retain his pension, implying that his actions weren’t considered all that serious. Until such officers are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, these outrageous actions will continue.
The call has gone out for policemen to wear body cameras. Most incidents to date has been recorded by smartphones and the like while resulting in few convictions. The Rodney King video in 1991 was shown around the world, but the four officers were acquitted of assault and use of excessive force and were charged with violating King’s civil right only after the L.A. riots. Again, two of the four were acquitted.
Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Once an incident is over and the protests subside, the community usually returns to normal, adding yet another sore to the larger scab being silently nursed by the Black community.
When the TV cameras bring attention to these cities, someone usually points out that shooting of unarmed Blacks by police is not new. However, city officials quickly move past those disgraceful slayings.
Last week’s hideous massacre of nine people inside the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, in Charleston, S.C., demonstrates the racist hatred this white man, Dylann Storm Roof, has for Black people.
He possesses the same racist attitude of the cowards who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., where four young girls died, in 1963, the same hate that tortured and killed Emmitt Till and that assassinated Medgar Evers.
There is a poster that reads “Behold here comes the dreamer. Let’s slay him and see what becomes of his dream.” Racists have killed activists and dreamers with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Fred Hampton, who was riddled with bullets by Chicago police while sleeping in bed.
Roof told one of the church members he had to kill them because “you rape our women and you are taking over our country.” It’s amazing how white men claim America as their own. When the Pilgrims arrived, what would become the United States of American was already occupied by the Native Americans. Whites became land, railroad and oil barons at the expense of Native Americans, who they diligently destroyed almost to extinction.
How do Blacks negotiate with a country whose philosophy is based on psychological propaganda, economic rape and murder, a country where presidents owned Black slaves, with some serving as mistresses?
The Ku Klux Klan was as an early volunteer terrorist group crawling at night to strike fear in the hearts of Black people who dared to speak out for equal rights, voting rights or human injustice. Lynchings proved to be a strong deterrent. The white robes and hoods are basically gone, but the displaced hatred, the condescending attitude toward Blacks and the self-ordained privilege of white supremacy is a part of American history and continues to play an active role in today’s society.
A family member of one of the slain members of Emanuel A.M.E Church stated, “We will not let hate win.” Some type of sustained action will have to take place. The struggle continues. Black lives matter. Prayers to all the families.