by Kevin Cooper
Sometime in the early 19th century, former United States President Thomas Jefferson stated, “Unchecked power twisted white men’s characters.” Since he was a slave owner and an oppressor, he should know what he speaks about!
He also stated, “The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances.”
Here in the early 21st century, it still seems that within the hands of America’s criminal justice system as a whole, unchecked power has indeed “twisted” certain white people’s characters – so much so that they feel they can outright murder Black people with no fear of being held accountable for their actions. They feel that they need not retain their manners or morals and can act as depraved as they want in any circumstance that involves Black people!
They can decide who lives and who dies without question. From the cop on the beat who is seen doing whatever he or she does to the unseen criminalist who handles the evidence in the crime lab, this also includes judges, jurors and all others involved within the criminal justice system that the vast majority of people agree is broken.
It’s broken because of the way it, and the selected people running it, chose to deal with Black people. This, however, is nothing new, because the ill treatment of Black people by the system, by the police, by the politicians, by America, is nothing new.
Yet, times have changed, we are told. Whenever Black people stand up and speak out about what has been historically happening to us as a people – which is still happening to us to this very day within this country’s criminal justice system – we are called liars and trouble makers and all the other negative names that we have been called. If it wasn’t for technology to show and tell the world that we are not liars, but truth tellers, more harm would be being done to us.
Here in the early 21st century, it still seems that within the hands of America’s criminal justice system as a whole, unchecked power has indeed “twisted” certain white people’s characters – so much so that they feel they can outright murder Black people with no fear of being held accountable for their actions.
We also nowadays have Black politicians who have been and are being racially profiled by the police who are speaking out against the racism that is happening to them. Republican United States Sen. Tim Scott from South Carolina, who is the only Black U.S. senator in this country, recently said this. He has been stopped seven times in one year by the U.S. Capitol police, just because he is a Black man.
So we Black people have no real choice but to fight back against this criminal justice racism now, just as we have always fought back against some type of racism in this country. The oppressors who don’t want for us to do anything but let them continue to oppress us say that we are the ones who are racist – that we are unpatriotic, un-American, and making things seem worse than they actually are.
They say that when certain people and or organizations, like Black Lives Matter, appear that they are also the problem, not the solution. Especially when they and others further expose the wide-ranging racism within this country and fight against it.
When they show, tell and speak out about the institutionalized racism in this country’s criminal justice system and reject it, whenever they get people to stand up, speak out and fight back against being targeted for extermination by certain people with twisted characters who work for and live within America’s criminal justice system, from the front end of this system to the back end of this system and all parts between the two which certain human beings control, Black people are deemed expendable.
We Black people have no real choice but to fight back against this criminal justice racism now, just as we have always fought back against some type of racism in this country.
Most people who are now fighting back, even if it’s the first time in their lives doing so, feel that if not now, when? Black people as a whole are at the point in time in history – and most definitely within our lives – that we can no longer take this racist violence, death and oppression anymore. Enough is enough!
So we fight back! The late writer Langston Hughes once wrote: “Negroes, sweet and docile, meek, humble and kind – beware the day they change their mind”!
While we aren’t Negroes anymore, we sure have changed our mind about fighting back against these oppressors. Common sense tells us that it is within our best interest to fight back, and it goes against the number one law of nature not to fight back – self-preservation!
Black people as a whole are at the point in time in history – and most definitely within our lives – that we can no longer take this racist violence, death and oppression anymore. Enough is enough!
We are legal citizens, yet we are treated like we are illegal just because of the color of our skin. We have been given no choice because it honestly seems that when all is said and done, the truth that will never be admitted is that if things don’t change, Black people, especially Black males, will be killed off by this system called American justice.
The continuing oppression and murdering and imprisonment of large numbers of Black people seems to be the central issue of politics within this country, whether it’s spoken about or not.
Until this truth changes it will be illegal to be Black in America! They used to call Blacks “contraband.” Now we are just not wanted.
The evil of war, the evil of economic injustice and the evil of racial injustice are intertwined, stated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
All these things and more are at play in the year 2016.
Send our brother some love and light: Kevin Cooper, C-65304, 4-EB-82, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin CA 94974. Learn much more about him at http://savekevincooper.org/index.html, view his artwork and find out how you can get involved.