Dear, President Obama:
As a black man, I have cried more times than I care to admit in the past week, particularly after hearing the audiotape of Diamond Reynolds’ live Facebook video following the killing of her fiance, Philando Castile, in Falcon Heights, Minn. My heart wept as she showed profound resilience and calm in the face of an overly aggressive police officer who appeared unbothered by the trauma he had just inflicted on her and her 4-year-old daughter.
Has your heart wept? Have you cried?
I ask because the racial venom that has been unearthed in response to your presidency is like nothing I’ve ever seen. With each erasure of black life through state violence, these racist cops are shooting at us as if they wished they were shooting at you. While you have responded with more peacemaking and politically correct language to ensure our white brothers and sisters feel “safe,” the body bags containing black men and women have continued to pile up like discarded waste in a landfill.
Given how soon Castile’s death came after the death of Alton Sterling by two police officers just one day earlier in Baton Rouge, La., I was certain you would mince no words in addressing the pain this revolving door of black assassinations is inflicting on our community. Instead, as you spoke from Warsaw, Poland, I heard the following phrases:
We have seen tragedies like this too many times.
This is not just a black issue.
A big chunk of fellow citizenry feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same.
I could not believe my ears. You said we “feel” like we are not being treated the same, as if these police shootings were merely perceptions and not reality. You never uttered the word “racism.” You never mentioned police accountability. You never said “we” or “I” as if this could have been you, your wife, or your daughters as the victims in these crimes. You never identified your personal connection to this issue or to our community.
I used to think that your measured approach to politics and high-voltage issues, such as state violence against black people, was due to your idealistic desire to bring everyone together in a magical “kumbaya moment” or to not be pegged as the “angry black man,” especially during your first term. When you were re-elected in 2012, I thought the gloves would come off and you would do battle with your racist, #AllLivesMatter political adversaries and address their perpetuation and protection of violent, institutionalized racism without apology.
I was wrong.
You kept turning the other cheek; now you keep turning the other cheek, and in essence, enabling their bad behavior—even though black lives swing in the balance.
Mr. President, you acknowledged during your speech in Dallas that you’ve “seen how inadequate your own words have been” when it comes to preventing future shootings and violence. Despite your feeble attempts to call police institutional violence to the carpet while also mourning the loss of five Dallas officers, your presence at the Dallas service signified, in all its political correctness, that #BlueLivesMatter more. Your absence at any of the homegoing services for black victims of police brutality was palpable, and spoke volumes. The closest I’ve heard you come to being present during these tragedies is when you announced that Trayvon Martin “could’ve been your son.”
So, perhaps your rhetoric does not resonate with your audience because they can tell you are trying to please everyone instead of stating how you really feel. Your words, while often emphasizing unity and peace, often ignore the pain and suffering that many black people are experiencing in this country. Meanwhile, white supremacists respond to your olive branch by calling you the “racist, black, Affirmative Action President.” So what would you lose by approaching the podium as a proud black man who is president, instead of the president who just happens to be a black man?
Source: The Root | David Malebranche