Sean Bell – No Justice. No ‘Piece’?

25 Apr

Sean Bell and Family

RIP Sean Bell. Sorry it had to be like this.

Ray: Detectives Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora were found not guilty of charges of manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment in the death of Sean Bell, 23, and the wounding of two of his friends. Detective Marc Cooper was acquitted of reckless endangerment.

Unfortunately, this is another major mishap in the American justice system. I don’t care about the reasons the judge decided to rule in favor of the defendants. I don’t care about how the media will try to spin this to make it seem as if Sean Bell and company were somehow responsible for this tragedy. I don’t even care that many people around the country probably won’t spend more than 5 minutes reflecting on the significance of this ruling. I just wish things didn’t have to be this way.

It’s bad enough that minorities are treated much more harshly for lesser offenses than whites. I mean, there’s video tape of Amy Winehouse snorting cocaine and people are cool with that. Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan can drive recklessly around the streets of LA because they know that the code of law doesn’t apply to them. And I’m not trying to make this a black vs. white thing, but the numbers don’t lie.

While Sean Bell is resting in peace (at the age of 23) due to the gross negligence of a few cops, 1 out of 9 Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is in jail (by far the highest rate of any ethnic group in America). More than three times as many black people live in prison cells as in college dorms, the government said in a report released in September of 2007. The ratio is only slightly better for Hispanics, at 2.7 inmates for every Latino in college housing. Among non-Hispanic whites, more than twice as many live in college housing as in prison or jail.

So not only can minorities expect to be defenseless against cases of injustice in the court of law, but they can also expect to be more harshly persecuted than their white counterparts. For all of my white friends out there, this is just something that you cannot understand. This is the reality that minorities are faced with and it hurts. This is the part of America that none of us should be too proud of.

I understand the concept of life not being fair, but the legal system should always, always, always be fair. When we lose that, then you can’t blame the minorities who fight for justice by any means necessary. When this form of oppression unfairly imprisons, persecutes, and ruins the lives of the youth of any particular group of people, then that group of people must spark a revolution of some sorts or become irrelevant in the rules that govern society.

Right now, we need a judicial revolution. We’re far too advanced to resort to violence and other primitive actions as a means of achieving justice. As a country, we need to be honest about what’s going on and demand action from our leaders. As a community of minorities, we need to understand that the law is not on our side and take extra caution not to give them any reason to trap you in the system.

The revolution will begin when we are perceived as revolutionaries. Peace belongs to the peacemakers and justice belongs to the just. It’s going to take a combination of community organizing, legal counsel, and political chutzpah (I hate that word but mainstream media always uses it) in order to make changes in our judicial system.

Whenever these efforts get organized, I hope and pray that each of us takes the time to participate in the activities needed to advance the movement. If you really care about justice in America, then stand up for it when the time comes. Otherwise, we will all be responsible for every Sean Bell that comes hereafter.

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4 Responses to “Sean Bell – No Justice. No ‘Piece’?”

  1. nativenotes April 25, 2008 at 12:11 pm #

    Well written…. and i thank Seth because that is how i found out this information this morning. But Ray you said something that was very ideal and hardly ever true. The courts rarely get it right and since their inception they have never been fair. Truth is we need to be in the positions of judges, local and state legislators. We have to be in the positions that create these changes. We have to, our children’s lives depend on it!
    http://nativenotes.wordpress.com

  2. a friend April 25, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    R.I. P. Sean Bell

    I’m so sorry that things had to end this way.
    I was heart broken when I first heard
    your story in the media and then saw your daughters face.

    You appeared to be so proud, happy and young-
    then your life was suddenly taken by the trigger
    of fifty shots from the police guns.

    Fifty shots went out to you, and for what?
    Did you have an army, a war tank or a bomb
    behind you?

    Who the hell were they trying to kill?
    Was it some kind of beast or a tyrant?
    Does anyone have a damn clue?

    Shot down like a wild animal by those who
    swore to protect you. “Our Father who Art in Heaven”
    what has this world come to?

    There are many who have perished in the likes
    of your calamity and there may be many more.
    How do we stop this madness? How do we even the score?

    We send you home to our ancestors they will
    protect you now. I know that if you were here
    today, your family and daughter would be proud.

    R.I.P. my Beautiful Black Brotha. We’ll never forget you!
    Written by: A friend.

  3. Nubianus April 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm #

    No justice, no piece– perfect title, couldn’t have said it better myself. I have some sympathy for cops in general, they have a tough job with tough calls, but this was just inexcusable. I have white, Latino and Asian friends backing us up on this, so this is hardly an unusual conclusion. This was, without any doubt, an awful act of manslaughter against a human being, and a decent one at that, taking care of his family.

    Despite the anger we all justifiably have due to the injustice of the Sean Bell case, we need to harness this anger toward productive uses.

    If things are ever going to improve for African-Americans, we have to redouble our efforts to gain social, political and economic power here.

    Remember, time and demographics are both on our side. Whites now have a birth rate well below replacement in the USA, while the African-American population grows steadily both by natural growth and immigration from Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. Even some Blacks immigrating to the USA from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. (BTW if any of you can speak Spanish and/or Portuguese, please encourage our Black brethren in Latin America, especially from Brazil, to emigrate to the USA. There’s strength in numbers.)

    I know Blacks and Latinos have often been at loggerheads, but we’re natural allies– both fighting against White oppression, with Latinos having been invaded in multiple wars by the Anglos in Florida, the Mexican-American War and Spanish-American War. Latinos lost half of Mexico when Anglos invaded in 1848, and were ethnically cleansed by Anglos so that they could start slavery in the conquered territories. Blacks and Latinos today are natural partners in the fight for social justice, both fighting for affirmative action and against discrimination. Spanish is an easy language to learn, and the more that we reach out to each other, speak some Spanish ourselves, and support our Latino brothers and sisters, the more our alliance is cemented.

    I’d say if anything, the key for us is to gain political power, and to do that, it’s best to concentrate ourselves geographically a bit more in a few states, where we will soon be the majority. On the one hand, we need Blacks throughout the country to demand our rights, but on the other, a better geographical focus is the key to political power, as it is throughout the world’s democratic countries.

    IOW, we need to have our own “North American Nubia” where we have a demographic majority and political power. Some Deep South States are obvious candidates– Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana for example, all of which will soon be Black-majority within perhaps a decade. This would be a core of our nation.

    But we can have a second North American Nubia (or North American Africana, whichever name you prefer) in the Upper Midwest– Michigan is one of the Blackest states in the Union, and much of Illinois is also strongly African-American in demographics, culture and social importance.

    Some of my homies from college have even urged conversion to Islam for African-Americans. It’s not something I’ve considered myself, though I’ll acknowledge that at least for many urban African-Americans, they’ve done quite well after the conversion. Many having been in jail or kept out of jail, they become more focused and disciplined, as fathers they take care of their Black children and care better for Black women, stay away from drugs and violence and so forth. (interesting link a friend sent to me– The Nubian Manifesto )

    IMHO there are many different personal routes we can take for empowerment, but as a group, we must stay strong and focused and, again, have enough of a geographic concentration that we can gain political power. Just as we should ally with Latinos as they become the majority in their own homelands in Southwestern states and Florida, so should Blacks ally with Muslims in Michigan (who will soon be the majority in that state).

    It’s obvious from our people’s history here, that we’ll survive only by standing up for ourselves. Political and economic empowerment are the central aspects of this.

  4. Jaime Reborn April 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    Nubianus, you need to drop me a line. Your words are pure. This is a tragedy and something needs to be done about it. Your suggestion sounds like a combination of the most natural and logical course of action.

    You need to drop me a line:

    just_2_reach_u@yahoo.com

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