Bruce Franks Jr. is an activist and battle rapper who became a Missouri state politician.
The reality is that in Toronto, as in most police services across the continent, the vast majority of serving police officers are exceptional public servants. The bad news is that reality is entirely irrelevant. People don't form judgments or base their decisions and actions on reality. They base them on their perceptions. And a fast-growing segment of society in Toronto, in Chicago, in New York City, in Ferguson, in cities and towns across North America, perceive their police services to be acting for their own benefit -- not society's.
"My biggest fear is I won't hear about the next black man being killed by police because it'll be me."
Over the next few weeks, you will see no shortage of functions organized by historical societies, libraries, and schools dedicated to Black History. You may even catch the corporate giants sponsoring short vignettes on black history, or perhaps a rerun of "Amistad," "Roots" or "Malcolm X." During our school years, we spend months, perhaps years, studying history. Yet, how much importance is given to the history of blacks?
I'm glad and excited that technology has given voices to people who would otherwise be silent, myself included. I'm relieved that getting fired up on camera is no longer limited to Fox anchors or the Mad Money guy. I'm thrilled that people can change the world with a YouTube video or blog post, but this excitement is tinged with the worry that the system is starting to fail.
As a wave of protests against police brutality toward African Americans sweeps across America, many Canadians are once again
Four and a half minutes after I read that a grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson, I sent a text to my sister in North Carolina. "You need to get my baby out of that f*&&ing racist place called the U.S. south!" 'My baby' being my one-year-old precious baby nephew. I fear that we are running out of time. I know with certainty that death can creep upon black boys lives in an instant.
To me, Ferguson is a call not only to indict the system but to decolonize the systems that create and maintain the forces of Indigenous genocide and anti-blackness. I have a responsibility to make space on my land for those communities of struggles, to centre and amplify black voices and to co-resist. We both come from vibrant, proud histories of mobilization and protest, and it is the sacrifices of our elders and our ancestors that ensured that our communities of struggle continue to exist today. They believed in their hearts that there is no justice and no peace until we are all free, and so must we.
In essence, carrying anything and being Black will get you killed these days. Perhaps instead of DWB ("Driving while Black"), we need "Living While Black," because it seems to be an increasing struggle to do anything without getting killed -- even for children.
I won't go into the details of black groups being marginalized at the hands of white people who dominate the "center," because if you're smart enough to think that you fooled us into feeling remorse for "leaving you out" during the protest in Toronto, then you're smart enough to do a Google search to figure out historical black oppression and its endless contemporary reproductions.