Why African American Men Die In the Company of “Peace” Officers

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Police officers point their weapons at demonstrators protesting against the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 18, 2014. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters after days of unrest sparked by the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman. REUTERS/Joshua Lott.

This dilemma – why African American men die in the hands of “peace” officers? – is predictably manifesting itself in several different cities across the United States of America (USA). Several scholars use different theories and current happenings to prove, disprove or affirm it. The latest is Dr. Abdullah Umar Johnson, who said the US risks losing billions in trade if they should hurt any Chinese person. He goes on to, just like I will do but slightly differently in this article, link this issue to why Black America is toothless in the face of white supremacist aggression.

Arriving at the same conclusion as Dr. Umar Johnson, it seems that African Americans ultimately die in the hands of legal institutions in the USA because there’s no nation besides the US itself that would take responsibility for the lives of African Americans. At the same time, while this vacuum persists, it makes it easier to cast blame on Black victims of institutional crimes.

The killing of unarmed Black men in America persists because no nation, including those in Africa, would take the necessary responsibility for them.

White supremacist policies which are still operative in the USA take for granted African American lives. Champions of such policies are a nuisance to the realization of the American “Dream”. They have used scientific, eugenic, social policy methods and succeeded in implementing policies where Law Enforcement officers are used to kill innocent African Americans for absolutely no law enforcement reasons. Still yet, no nation, including and up to all African nations has cried foul about the brutality of American domestic policy on African American lives.

For a nation to cry foul, that nation must be ready to also take personal responsibility. This vacuum enables racist US officials to continue implementing racial policies throughout the US without a serious challenge about the civil rights and human rights violations that those policies invoke on African American lives. The physical elimination of African American lives by US officials is a horror. The open and unafraid manner that these killings are attempted and accomplished is also psychologically demeaning to all humanity. Period.

Such is the dilemma of the African American in the USA. Through slavery and colonization, divide and conquer in Africa and detaching the African Diaspora from the continent for over centuries white supremacists policies in the US have created both psychological and physical cliffs between Blacks in America and Africans on the continent. Africans in the diaspora do not seem to have a home on the continent of Africa. In addition they do not have a nation, or a group of nations to vouch for their safety in America since the Federal Government of America itself is racist.

This has resulted in the psychological, biological, political, economic and social means of discriminating against Blacks in America. Simply reinventing Blackness to suite the racist terrain has not swayed racist policies. With the silent help of the US Federal Government, white supremacists police departments across the nation are simply murdering African Americans for absolutely no law enforcement reason.

The theory behind the killing of unarmed Black males in America is as simple as that.

Other ethnicities in America including white ethnicities from parts of Europe have countries around the world that can vouch for their safety. Asians, who are not Americans, are deported to Asia everyday and their governments take them, sometimes willingly, and happily sometimes they are forced to. South Americans who are not Americans are deported to South America and their governments take them, sometimes willingly and happily and sometimes not. Russians and Eurasians who are not Americans get deported every day, sometimes it’s the Russians who call for their own people to come home.

The US also deports African migrants who are not American citizens to African countries every day.

African Americans are Americans. However in white American supremacist ideology – where America only belongs to whites and not with Blacks – the sense that African Americans have no such visibly identifiable countries that can vouch for their safety, even if symbolically, is the case in point.

One of the few times an African stood against crass prosecution, indictment and even murder in the west is poignant for illustration. The Lockerbie bombing suspect was successfully cleared by a Scottish Court through a correct legal process and happily received in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. This symbolism alone shook Westminster and Washington DC. The media and many white US and UK citizens protested against it. They were fazed that a court settled the matter and they were equally disturbed that a Black man [allegedly] “dared to take white lives”. That this Black man was not punished in the west was seen in the west as “a symbolic blow”.

The protests by American and British whites were clear signs of the fear they have towards the future implication of what it could mean if Africans could challenge the status quo and be well received at home. This symbolism will go a long way to help the image of African Americans in America. It will also set the diplomatic table for discussing the civil and human rights issues about white police law enforcement parading Black communities in America with the help of the American racist Federal Government.

The theory is not exclusive to police killings and can be applied to many of the issues faced by African Americans. The current situation is messy, the back of African Americans are tightly pressed against the wall, and neither voluntarily fleeing, or a forced deportation, or a vouching for safety by African nations for them, has been realized. They are not just being killed. They are being exterminated. The world must look upon this brutality that African Americans face daily in the USA as a blight on all our humanity.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Mr.Salisu’s view are fine but not a complete analyses of subject of interest. The US Federal State just like the one in Australia are illegal settler colonialist regimes ,that is lands expropriated from natives/aborigines. The State therefore is an instrument of both racist and national oppression. Law enforcement via state police is extension of repressive-oppressive system and statement like “Law and Order” is nothing but a code word for unleashing police repression of civilians. The long list of innocent civilian killings state one fact , African American “Lives” less valued and do not matter. The civilians killed were NOT criminals or FUGITIVES FROM JUSTICE, “WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE”and ,so, law enforcement is NOT bounty-prize hunting. In all the cases, law enforcement officers committed acts of murder and must be prosecuted for taking innocent lives. Dropping charges to let police get away incites “democratization of violence”, the only effective civilian response to arrest police brutality and wanton killings. Again,the right to bear arms empower African Africans to self-defense in a state of national minority oppression; law enforcement is not bounty hunting. Human rights and civil rights of African Americans must be respected and protected. Going forward, a pan African solidarity through AU and CARICOM states can bring pressure on US to assure equal protection under US laws for all African descendants, African-Americans.

  2. Audu I am always slow at time to respond to issues that I have no such in depth expertise to analyse it content

    However let assume that the content of this paper is scientifically valid, the first question I will ask, what do their associations and network they are involved do to connect to their roots.

    How committed have they also played their role for the strengthening of the African union to protect their interest globally.

    Most of them recognise their roots during “bad weather” in US but deny their identity when they are in good weather.

    I have African American friends in Michigan which yearly invite me to Marcus Garvey root festival in Gambia, the essence to safeguard their future in a racist environment.

    Even a new born baby knows that as far us Africa remain fragmented and lack the unity to argue it case globally, that kind of anticipated proposal in Dr. Johnson theory remain to be a dream.
    —–////———————/–/—//-/-
    My argument is simple let African intellectuals wake up from reactionary scholastic work into “actionary” driven information & knowledge.

    Our kids have to understand that problems is part of daily life but the action mind turn it to opportunity while the weak mind complain.

    • Tweneboah Senzu I think part of what you are addressing is true but can also be seen as part of the victimology.

      As for reactionary and even sometimes resentful approach to solution seeking, I completely agree with you. I kind of delt with that somehow in my last piece, which is in series and the second installment will be somehow touching on that.

  3. Aaaah… an insightful and necessary reading. Yes, Audu Salisu has added to what Dr. Umar Johnson and Atiga have said many times.

  4. Interesting… I think I would agree that if Africa can be more assertive about the civil and human rights of African Americans the situation in the US would improve. The onus lies on Africa to become prominent enough to demand such respect. Africa doesn’t have that standing now.

    But we must also be careful that we are not ceding the argument and in fact the truth that African Americans are Americans first! America belongs to African Americans in the same way it belongs to the European American, the Italian American, the French American, etc.

  5. This is a correctly balanced view. The emphasis still must remain in calling America accountable for the hypocrisy of their foreign policy – democracy. The world must hold them to account when such crass brutality happens against African Americans in America. Another issue here it what others and the article has finely made clear: America is for African Americans too! There’s no too ways about it.

  6. Narmer Amenuti I think the dominance of Europeans Americans is backed by their ability to enjoy unconditional support from Europe. the system’s inability to randomly shoot Asians down just like that is largely due to support they can draw from Asia, even if it is often just symbolic or moral. For African Americans to be Americans first and for America to belong to them like it belongs to anyone else, there will have to be an outside source of support like that.

  7. Audu Salisu is absolutely correct: … there will have to be an outside source of support like that”! For this good reason, giving full respect to the fact that the so-called Americas belong, first and foremost, to the indigenous communities of Abya Yala, the so-called Red Indians, from whom Europeans seized it by genocidal armed robbery, Omowale Malcolm X exhorted his Afrikan Brothers and Sisters in the so-called Americas to build, first and foremost, their power base in their own original home of independent Afrika in order to have the real strength of their own deep-rooted Black Power, genuine respect and holistic Justice in the so-called Americas and all over the World! This is an old but still valid Truth for which the likes not only of Omowale Malcolm X, but also Mantsebi Adorkor Kofi (Ga Pan-Afrikanist Sojourner in the USA from Accra in the Gold Coast), Marcus Mosaiah Garvey, Ohemaa Boahemaa Amy Ashwood Garvey, WEB DuBois, Paul Robeson, Queen-Mother Moore, Walter Rodney, Kwame Ture and other Black Panther/Black Power Activists, inspired in this direction by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, actively worked hard! This idea still lives in the efforts being made by the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) to encourage the building of Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSDs) in various countries of the Afrikan diaspora that will be connected, starting with initiatives of “UBUNTUNKONSO Grassroots People-to-Peoples’ Internationalist Solidarity and Groundup Diplomacy”, with interested organisations, networks and communities on the continent of Afrika to eventually construct a truly sovereign MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrikan Union, unifying autonomous Afrikan polities of both the continent and the diaspora of Afrika into a holistically integrated global superpower ! It is important to always highlight attempts by various groups of ordinary Afrikans at home and abroad to work out practical solutions to the problems raised and written about in intellectually very rich Afrikan spaces like Grandmother Africa; so that problem-solving Practice becomes as visible as problem-discussing Theory! Even though the Practice could still be embryonic, even still inadequate or deficient, it is still important to give it as much visibility as the theoretical discussions. Noteworthily, backing up the work of the likes of Omowale Malcolm X, Queen-Mother Moore and Kwame Ture, in relation to the subject-matter we are now discussing, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah emphasized the need to grasp the salient point “… that Liberation movements in Africa, the Struggle of Black Power in America or in any other part of the World, can only find consummation in the political unification of Africa, the home of the Black Man and people of African descent throughout the World” (“The Spectre of Black Power”, 1968); further on, the Osagyefo wrote: “Real Black Freedom will only come when Africa is politically united. It is only then that the Black Man will be free to breathe the air of Freedom, which is his to breathe, in any part of the World” (“Message to the Black People of Britain” in the pamphlet “The Struggle Continues”, Conakry, Guinea, published by PANAF in London, United Kingdom, 1968). – Mawukofi

  8. As usual an overly simplified one sided revisionist view of racial issues.

    The author refers several times to what he terms “the racists federal government of the USA”. The author conveniently forgets that this so called racist government is headed by one Barry Obama the first elected African American President.

    This article all but suggests that the federal government is indirectly complicit and in collusion with white supremacist to kill blacks. How we arrive at this conclusion with no evidence whatsoever is amusing.

    Extermination is what the Hutus and Tutsis did to themselves in Rwanda.

    Extermination is Chicago violence that has claimed more black lives than the whole wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

    But these facts would be lost on those on the far left. These black on black killings never seem to matter. As some have said, a black life seems to only matter in this political landscape when it’s taken by a white person.

    To be fair and balanced like Fox News, I cannot make the argument that a lot of theses senseless police killings are just. For those cases these individuals must be brought to justice and made an example.

  9. Ares Mars. Recognizing patterns and following them up with observations and drawing inferences from them is as scientific a method as any other way of researching, especially in social issues. Which one of us would claim to be ignorant of consistency and recurring patterns in these killings?

    I could randomly pick cases and add them to your list. but lets leave it like that. All I can say is that you look carefully at the social conditions that being black in America entails and the opportunities it offer to those Chicago black youth (and don’t tell me I blame white people for everything because all I’m saying here is that any of the Chicago youth caught in the violence can do maybe better if given the chances white kids take for granted).

    To take your Rwandan example, If we can take out the Belgian, French and any other Western involvement in Hutu Tutsi extermination and you can attest for a fact that these killings do not benefit forces outside Africa, in this case Belgium, then your proposition would come close to being true. The lessons Rwanda took form it and changed its relations with the french and Belgians and stability and prosperity it is enjoying today, proves me right.

    To my mind, black on black crime is part of the problem. I do agree that blame can be placed on blacks, mainly for not pursuing their own thing and holding on to this integration illusion, which is why Obama’s presidency is part of the problem in the first place.

    I hope your Fox News comment was sarcasm because justice must serve 3 main purposes, thus to deter others, ensure state authority and punish/rehabilitate the culprit. You tell me if any of that has happened in any of the killings!

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