members of congressional black caucus discuss ferguson missouri and race

Presenting additional proof last night that the removal of your genitals will force you to at least say something, members of the Congressional Black Caucus shared their opinions about Ferguson, Missouri and Michael Brown’s death on the House floor—after the House completed its votes for the day, of course.

The question I asked myself is what kind of calculus was behind yesterday’s move by CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge, Representative Charles Rangel and other CBC colleagues—a need to take a stand for humanity, or a need to appear as if they’re “Talking Loud” for their respective base of constituents?

It’s unfortunate for humanity that the CBC is once again “Saying Nothin’.”

Peace to Brother James

Instead of you being offended by my opinion, help me understand what should have been the point on the racial injustice timeline where the CBC found the racial climate intolerable and had to speak for the Black race on the House floor yesterday?

After a Grand Jury failed to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting the life out of an unarmed Michael Brown?

Or when an unarmed Sean Bell was gunned down by police officers in Queens, New York, the night before his wedding?

Or when an unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot in Florida?

Or when Oscar Grant was shot, in a manner which strikes me as execution style, on a Bay Area train station platform?

I’ll remind you that the timeline runs long. What did the CBC find so compelling about THIS section of the timeline where urgent action is demanded?

And would we have witnessed last night’s CBC Grabs the Mic Show if Officer Darren Wilson had to face trial for murder?

Aside from geographies and people’s names, the only major difference between Brown’s death and the others is the acute attention given to this case by the media and enraged citizens.

Which in turn makes me suspect that the CBC needed to give all of us the impression that they are doing something.

But making any progress in dismantling the policies and institutions which create an environment of racial inequality is likely impossible when you’re Sayin’ Nothing.

Still doubt what I say? Ask any CBC member you meet to share with you the top 3-5 bills and supporting policies they have written which will address the roots of inequality in education, quality of life, wealth, and social justice.

I highly doubt you will receive coherent answers from most of them, but in case you receive a handful of solid answers, ask why the bills were never presented to Congress.

Please share your answers with me if you receive any.

The CBC members who spent part of last night talking about the changes we need to make to community policing or the criminal justice system are either more narrow-minded than I feared, or are attempting to intellectually shortchange you.

This is what I call vertical microphone preaching.

If the problems of the Black race were neatly arranged in closely-positioned stacks, where obliterating any one vertical structure would knock down all others, I suppose an aggressive legislative agenda which dismantles racial profiling and biased sentencing would make plenty of sense.

But the policy and institutional footprints which helped to create cities like Ferguson, Missouri are complex, and extend beyond the criminal justice domain. Repairing broken communities require a strong:

  • Economic layer (from learning how to establish a household budget to running an business enterprise)
  • Political layer (new policies shaped by pens and ballots)
  • Institutional layer (sustainable programs that develop children and adults to become well-rounded leaders)
  • Education layer (also includes skills and trade training)
  • Social layer (taking personal responsibility to love yourself and your neighbors—can’t be legislated into existence)

Any politician who talks about fixing only one of the challenges I described—without discussing a roadmap to addressing the others—is only attempting to dazzle you with vertical mic preaching.

But politicians have to say something. I hear that having your organs snatched is painful…

song currently stuck in my head: “raunchy rita” – elvin jones & richard davis


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