I will answer that question for you myself: it doesn’t.
Before I’m deluged with angry retorts this isn’t about Oscar Grant but about the way some wish to symbolize this individual as being a victim of a greater conspiracy and part of the “racist rogue cop” theory. Unless you are personally related to the family this case really isn’t about you and it’s detrimental for black women to ignore their own needs to continue to fight white hegemony.
Besides, the unspoken truth of the matter is that black women are being terrorized and brutalized in their own neighborhoods by these very same males they are trying to “save!”
**Updated to include some pertinent info that some were not aware of**
Oscar Grant certainly didn’t deserve to be kicked and shot in the back while handcuffed by police but his experience is not the experience of every black person’s in this country (and elsewhere). This is definately not the typical experience of black women. Don’t be tricked into this conscious lumping of decidedly black male concerns as the concern of black people (tying black women) while the specific needs of black women are NEVER ADDRESSED! While it may be true that many black males run afoul of the law (usually with good reason) or have unpleasant and sometimes deadly exchanges with law enforcement, to ignore the individual factors that come into play makes a huge blanket assumption.
The assumption is that black males will be mistreated when interacting with white males in law enforcement across the board in every situation regardless of circumtance. It ignores the fact that there are black males in law enforcement and criminals come in all ethnicities. In the city of my birth the Chief of Police and Mayor are both black males. That has had no impact on decreasing the likelihood that a large percentage of the crimes they’re dealing with are being committed by other black males. In fact the entire focus of this argument over Grant being “wronged” is solely about black males indiscriminately – even when it has been proven many were in fact engaged in criminal activity.
This blanket protectionism and dismissal of the actions of black male criminals is the source of these ongoing conflicts. If at any time black people who reside in certain residential areas with known crime rates decided to abandon their “Stop Snitching” coddling of criminals and turned them all in (including their family members) they would see an immediate positive impact. Not only would the crimes be less likely to occur, but those would-be criminals would think twice before committing them as there would no longer be a safe harbor for them. Law enforcement would see a community that was not thwarting their efforts at maintaining order, they could also more easily weed out their own questionable officers and order could be restored. Women and girls would immediately be safe from harrassment and violence at the hands of these males and productivity could rule.
That is as likely to happen as pixie dust falling from the sky so that’s why those of us urging lifestyle optimization for black women will continue to urge them to get away from those war zones and supporters of a dead ideology.
I was loathe to have to directly mention that Grant was an ex-con with a recent arrest before his untimely demise, but apparently it needs to be said. He also fathered a child out of wedlock (with a non-black woman), worked a low-wage job and lived with his mother. There are so few spaces willing to bring to light the careless disregard others are showing at trying to make this conflict with Johannes Mehserle into an archetype of sacrifical lamb or martyr. It is much more accurate to state those that would blindly place Grant on a pedestal offering no scrutiny of his actions, who he chose to associate with, disregard for his surroundings and other factors are engaging in black male sacred cow worship and idolatry.
Just a quick recap: yesterday former transit cop Mehserle was found guilty of 2nd degree manslaughter for the death of Grant. Sentencing is pending. As a long-standing San Francisco resident this case was very much in the forefront of the local media. All of the familiar triggers were present because the law enforcement hierarchy present was white while the ”victim” was a black male.
The case had some unique elements that made it a very contentious case. The decision to hold all trains at the station where the arrest took place made it easy for the passengers to photograph and videotape it. People could readily see footage of the moment when Mehserle pulled his gun instead of the taser he claimed he was reaching for. I admit that watching it I was also shocked and angry but knew it was likely to have been taken out of context.
Mehserle promptly quit after shooting Grant which certainly indicated to some that he felt he had done something wrong. Regardless of his personal motivations, law enforcement as a whole was not going to allow itself to be put on trial in a situation that involved an ex-con. The trial was quickly moved from Oakland to Los Angeles where an all-white jury deliberated.
There is little “new” about cases such as these. While historically there has been an established pattern of aggression where innocent men were singled out that is no longer the case for the black male collective. Today, the police officer in question could just as easily be a person of color acting in response to another person of color with the same conclusion.
The only time you will see a larger number of people expressing outrage is when these confrontations involve a white male cop acting against a non-white male, particularly if he’s black. Had Oscar Grant been a white teen OR a black WOMAN most blacks would have ignored this story.
Despite the anger many feel this is still singled around patriarchy just as much as race – if not more. Likewise, had Mehserle been a black male cop the “race” angle would have been neutralized. So what are(black) people really angry about? If it’s bad police procedures there are remedies for that. People can participate in Civilian Review Boards and be more active in the election of law enforcement and judges. If no one takes initiative then complaints after the fact will fall on deaf ears.
White and non-black “liberals” have also glommed onto this story for their own agendas which at the heart is still anti-black woman. If Grant’s “friends” had not been publicly terrorizing other passengers on the BART train in the first place none of the horrors that followed would have occurred. This leaves (race loyal) black women in the familiar (chosen) position as sista soldiers fighting (white) men on behalf of weaker (black) males as well as having their needs and safety being ignored.
Even those who on an intellectual level may agree that black women are subject to harsh threatment at the hands of black males they do not feel it in their hearts or react viscerally the way they do on behalf of random black males. For those women who have black male children they too trip over themselves by lumping all males together. Does every black male have a current or prior relationship with criminal activity, un/underemployed, having out of wedlock children, not seeking or having acquired a college degree, living with female relatives and have questionable friends?
There is no coincidence that you’ll find an ever-increasing majority of black men engaging in these types of confrontations with the police. The family structure was destroyed post-Civil Rights and all warnings to address it ignored. The damage has rotted to the core and it’s too late to repair it. We will continue to see the chaos borne from the decision of a generation of black males to abandon their children play itself out.
On the other hand you will not find most black women committing similar acts because they are far too busy:
a) Working – depending on the class background sometimes 2-3 jobs
b) Raising children – often ALONE [There’s a 70% + out of wedlock birth rate AND never married rate]
c) Attending school – overall there are more women in college than men, but the disparity amongst African-Americans in particular is close to a 70/30 ratio
d) Fighting to “save” the black man (regardless of merit) while receiving no such help in return
e) Supporting an entire community/infrastructure [providing free labor & use of all of her resources from Civil Rights orgs on down and self-sacrificing to her individual detriment all for the RACE]
What are the majority of black males doing with their time that they’re continually involved in violent disputes with each other as well as law enforcement?
PURSUIT OF SELF-INTEREST AT THE EXPENSE OF THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE BLACK COLLECTIVE OR NOTHING OF ANY VALUE!
Let’s keep it real: the majority of black males killed in this country are at the hands of other black males. My own brother was murdered four years ago by a career criminal. There is no need for the “great white male racist cop conspiracy” to be validated when we all know who the majority of the neighborhood terrorists are.
These are the same (mostly) fatherless males allowed to wander freely to brutalize unprotected black girls, women and children. Search Dunbar Village to acclimate yourself with what is an all too common (mostly unreported) occurrence. These males are NOT true victims. It’s often just the sum of their life experiences catching up to them.
Another trend to take note of was the media blackout (pun intended) from the major networks. There was minimal newspaper coverage as well. As more tragedies pile up they will NOT be televised. The greater society at large does NOT care what goes on within the black community in general unless it’s something negative that threatens to spill over into theirs.
African-American women in particular have been warned through a variety of means and by example of how their value is directly tied to how non-functioning males may ciphon from them. The role of males in a patriarchal society is to provide for and protect women and children and to elevate their group. Those who look at the speedy decline of the collective should be able to draw the correct conclusions as to why and how that isn’t happening amongst US-born blacks in particular and the damage that causes. If foreign-born blacks and other groups of people wish to participate in rescuing black males here let them do so at their leisure.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST AND LEAVE THE FIGHTING OF WHITE HEGEMONY & IDOL WORSHIP TO (MISGUIDED AND UNCONCERNED) OTHERS.