Real Talk | Linking a broken system to slavery and Jim Crow



What is justice in a country that considers its same justice to be blind?
At 4 a.m., I lay awake thinking about the “20/20” episode I had viewed on television about Breonna Taylor who was shot to death by police who broke into her home as she slept.

I recalled watching the jurors speak out about Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s decision not to present any evidence to the grand jury such as body cameras or any evidence to charge the officers who had fired 32 rounds into the apartment and ultimately killed Breonna.

Like many of you that read this column, I do not know Ms. Taylor or her family. However, I am very familiar with the broken system that caused her death — the mindset of guilty by association which made her a target and the justification of police officers being at her house and shooting her.

The entire system that continues to fail people of color failed Breonna that day. And continues to fail to acknowledge its historical foundation. THE SYSTEM is broken and always has been. Even after protests around the country, there are still police officers who shoot citizens without justification.

The attorney general of Kentucky, like many privileged African Americans, has disconnected himself from the community and aligned himself with a system that would immediately pan him as an enemy if he did not have conservative political clout.

This system is not about them versus us; the system is rooted in them believing that we as people of color have no value in this country. The devaluing of Black life began in slavery (and no, Kanye, it was not a choice or an option) and continued with the beatings, mauling, murder and maltreatment through Jim Crow.

I AM a Man has turned into Black Lives Matter which has turned into silence.

Nothing we can do can begin to educate our law enforcement brothers and sisters that this is an innate conditioned bias that has little to do with the race of the cop but more to do with the infrastructure of a system that does not begin to acknowledge the foundation it was built upon.

Stepping back, looking at the pain in Breonna’s mother and aunts reminds me of my own mother’s and aunt’s pain when my brother was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer. The justification for Breonna’s murder sounded so eerie and similar. We have to acknowledge this system before we can fix it. We will continue to mourn Breonna Taylor, Michael Taylor, George Floyd, Freddie Gray, Robert Russ, and LaTanya Haggerty and Sandra Bland.

It’s not just policing that’s broken. The entire legal system is broken. We can’t just cover up the cracks. We have to tear down and build a more solid, cohesive foundation.

Food for thought, keeping it real

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