Black Lives Matter: We bleed the same blood

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The photo on The Daily News cover captures Sterling's horrific execution

Black lives matter. It is self- evident, and self- affirming.

Four recent incidents punctuated America’s slow, halting march to a just society.

Emblematic and instructive of the continued race problem in America, they brought the issue into stark relief.

Yet discussions by the talking heads, politicians and pundits dance around the obvious: The reservoir of America’s racism runneth over.
Alton Sterling, an African American, lay writhing on his back under the weight of two White Louisiana cops as one pumped bullets into him ending his life.

This cop was not called a crazed killer, or a hateful racist. With the benefit of a cell phone video, Sterling’s execution went viral. We all saw the injustice.

The next day a Minnesota cop, not a madman, murdered Philando Castile, another African American, during a traffic stop. A thunderous searing missive from the cop’s gun violently pierced Castile’s flesh.

Castile’s girlfriend, seated next to him, streamed a video of the aftermath of the shooting over the internet as she narrated what occurred before. She was an eyewitness to injustice. Both incidents sparked non-violent protests against police brutality.

America insists that cops don’t act from racial animus. Consequently the fault must lie with their victims. Maybe Sterling refused to comply with a lawful order. Did Castile make a so called "furtive" movement? Add to that the reflexively regurgitated statistics of so-called "Black-on-Black" crime (when do you hear crimes against White people by Whites referred to as White-on-White?) perceived criminal penchant of Black men, or any negative attribute they can ascribe to an entire race of people.

It is textbook racism; the kind of thinking that invariable leads to tragedy.

The malignant streams of racist thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, and tendencies feed the society and body politic informing both social interactions, and official exchanges between Blacks and Whites -- White cops especially.

They engender fear and tell society to: approach Blacks with caution; address them in the most demeaning way; and, use force as they are criminal, and violent. But most of all they have no right you --cops-- are bound to respect.

They drive the actions of erstwhile public servants in blue. With gun in hand the consequences are too often deadly. Protests inevitably follow.

At the conclusion of one such protest in Dallas Texas, Micah Johnson, a twenty five year old African American Army veteran, shot and killed five police officers and wounded several others. He carried out his mission with precision minimizing injury to civilians. Bullets flew toward his perceived tormentor. His objective: kill White people, cops in particular. It was stated and clear.

Within a week Gavin Long, a twenty nine year old African American and former Marine who served in Iraq, shot and killed three cops and wounded three others on his birthday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His mission was also stated and clear. Bullets again flew in an unaccustomed direction. The police killed Johnson with a robotic bomb and gunned down Long in a shootout.

Though horrific, Johnson and Long’s actions can be seen in context and this is what's missing in conversations. Their reality is the repeated deaths of their brothers at the hands of police, most often White police.

America’s failure to mete out justice in these instances has fostered immeasurable psychic pain. It’s palpable. It’s real. Black people know that pain.

Johnson and Long were at war. Whether you label the deaths of these cops ambushes, or executions, they pale in comparison to the innumerable instances of a cop- usually a White one- taking a Black life.

The supporters of the continued subjugation of African Americans and their apologists are apoplectic. They heap scorn on Johnson and Long, lambasting them as crazed loners, hateful racists, and madmen. They believe this is pathology.

Johnson and Long’s actions are in fact expressions of despair caused by America’s failure to respond honestly and forthrightly to systemic racism. They are no more insane than the cops responsible for the deaths of so many Blacks.

And a sane human being might strike out at his perceived oppressor. One man’s madman may be another man’s Johnson and Long.

There is a war on Black men, and two military veterans, trained by America just struck back. They say it was sickening and vile; that an attack on cops is an attack on all of us.

When a Black man’s life is as sacred as that of a cop, and the unjustified killing of a Black man is viewed as the murder of all of us, we will be on our way to a more just society.

Black lives matter.

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