Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind

8th July 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis

Where is Django when we need him? Good goggly-woogly. With this summer’s stifling heat and humidity, all this criticism of the young sister who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin when he was murdered, the recent Supreme Court decision that seeks to undo the Voting Rights Act — one of the few good things to ever emerge from the halls of Congress — and the mayor’s ongoing efforts to prove to every person of color who visits this city that he cares more about Black murder victims in New Orleans than Black New Orleans residents, y’all gon’ make me lose my mind. Up in here, up in here.

Despite the gloomy picture and all of the trials Black people face daily in America, we have no option but to continue to fight for justice, democracy and equal protection under the law. We must continue to fight if we wish to one day bring meaning and truth to the old slave spiritual/prophecy that said “Free at last,” so fight we shall. We shall continue to use our minds and communication skills in the struggle to achieve self-determination by asking questions that far too often go unasked and unanswered in America. Let’s get started:

• Why has U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu not said a single word about the fact that the City of New Orleans agreed to the NOPD consent decree a year ago but residents are still waiting for the major overhaul of the city’s troubled police department to get under way as the city now insists that the NOPD no longer needs a consent decree to implement reforms?

• Why have so few Black elected officials on Capitol Hill, in the state legislature and on the New Orleans City Council said anything about political games being played by the Landrieu administration with the NOPD and OPP consent decrees?

• Doesn’t the mayor deserve props for his ability to continually mind-trick Blacks who are visiting the city for Essence Festival 2013 into thinking that he is progressive and gives a damn about the rights and safety of Black people while continuing to defend the ongoing use of excessive force, corruption, ineptitude and unconstitutional policing by the New Orleans Police Department?

• Why is NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas suddenly enamored with the idea of requiring cops to cover up any tattoos they have and pushing for a no-new-tattoos directive, something Community United for Change has been seeking since it first crafted a People’s Consent Decree back in 2010?

• How much influence did affluent homeowners on nearby Bancroft Drive have on the very obscure but blatant decision to not rebuild John F. Kennedy Senior High School on Bayou St. John?

• What do you make of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s comments about the notorious NYPD not stopping minorities enough?

• As we approach the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, has anyone forgotten how the American Red Cross decided to not to use hundreds of millions of dollars specifically donated to help the people of New Orleans for ongoing recovery and rebuilding of people’s lives and homes?

• Given what you have learned about the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, are you comfortable with the idea of donating money to that organization to assist those in need after future crises?

• What makes Paula Deen think that the Rev. Jesse Jackson can convince most Black Americans to forgive her for making racially offensive remarks about Black people?

• Which is the greater blow to the future of Black Americans — Paula Deen’s offensive remarks or the Supreme Court’s dismantling of the Voting Rights Act?

• How many of those same Black women in Georgia who refuse to stop eating at Paula Deen’s restaurant after she made racially offensive remarks were in town this past weekend for the Essence Festival and had the nerve to attend and applaud the Essence “EMPOWERMENT” Seminars?

• Refresh my memory: What exactly is the purpose of the “Party with a Purpose”?

• Why can only a few people admit that it was an act of war for the U.S. Supreme Court to weaken one of the few laws in the history of this nation that has helped communities of color and underrepresented people to gain political power?

• Who didn’t see the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision coming after a number of high-profile GOP losses on Capitol Hill and the election and re-election of President Barack Hussein Obama?

• Wasn’t there some mention in civics classes about the nation’s three branches of government and the very specific duties assigned to each branch in order to avoid the kind of confusion and political skulduggery that happened when the Supreme Court hijacked the Voting Rights Act?

• Why is anyone surprised by anything that comes out of the mouth, ink pen or computer of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas?

• How many Black people are aware that Mumia Abu-Jamal and more than a handful of other U.S. political prisoners are still locked in the nation’s prison industrial complex and still fighting for justice, freedom and their lives?

• Did you know that “Mumia Abu-Jamal: Long-Distance Revo­lutionary,” a compelling documentary about the inspiring former Black Panther and journalist, is now available for sale and can be purchased online?

• How much more aggressive, machiavellian and draconian will the laws and “adjustments” to the United States Constitution become as wealthy white males become an even smaller percentage of the U.S. population?

• Who thinks it is impossible for the nation to regress and go back to the kinds of laws, policies and political practices that led to the bombing of a Black church in Birming­ham, the murder of Emmett Till, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Plessy and Dred Scott decisions, rampant domestic terrorism in the form of lynchings and the destruction of Black Wall Street in Tulsa and Rosewood, Florida?

• How many elected officials of color can you think of who feel that they constantly have to apologize to whites for who they are and prove over and over again that they are worthy of the love, respect and acceptance of White America?

• Why can’t professional and middle=class Blacks understand that the recent high court decision weakening the Voting Rights Act is but another step toward moving all of Black people —regardless of education or socioeconomic status — back into powerlessness, taxation without representation, space-age sharecropping and de facto slavery?

• Don’t the racially offensive remarks made in February by U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones and the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional managing of the Voting Rights Act only serve to underscore the need for a complete overhaul of the local, statewides and federal justice system?

• Is it possible that we are up to our necks in a Third Recon­struc­tion in the wake of the election and re-election of the nation’s first Black president?

• Why is there an enduring, permanent U.S. constitution guaranteeing the inalienable rights of White Americans but people of color must vigilantly defend and fight for any voting or civil rights gains made over the past five or six decades?

• How might the United Nations assist Black people in America in securing a “criminal justice system consent decree”?

• Why do so many of us say and do nothing when we see elected officials, administrators and judges trample over our constitutional and human rights without a second thought?

• When are people of color who have attained any level of success in this nation going to understand the old African adage “ubuntu,” which essentially says “I am because we are”?

• Why do so few people seem to understand that freedom has never been free?

This article originally published in the July 8, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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