Category Archives: Oakland

Racism as Involuntary Manslaughter?

The verdict has come down in the Oscar Grant trial as Involuntary Manslaughter. Not unexpected but still disappointing and hurtful. They say he meant to pull his taser though he pulled it twice and put it back before pulling his gun. I am told once again that my life does not matter that it can be thrown away. I sit here in my apartment downtown and my city explodes around me.

There are outside SWAT teams with snipers in my city.

There are Homeland Security vans in my city.

There is a sound cannon in my city.

There is tear gas in my city.

The response to police brutality is more intense brutality and fear.

Are riots the answer? Despite the anger and rage I can feel in me I hold onto the idea that violence is not the answer.

But what is? We’ve been shown time and time again that authorities care little for our lives. I now know that anytime I ride the BART I may be shot in the head and if the person that does it is wearing a badge they will very likely get away with it. This is a fear I’ve always had and it only increases with the continual evidence that my life is worth little to the world at large.

People gather and it is called unlawful assembly.
We are told to keep it peaceful but the police are never told the same.
Property damage means more to people that lives lost.

Do I condone the unfocused destruction? No.
Do I understand it? Yes.

We cannot rely on the system and we cannot gather to have our voices heard. People see no recourse. I am not leaving my house because I’m afraid of some mythical ravening hordes of mostly People of Color. I am afraid of the authorities. I am afraid of what they will do, what they have planned to do.

The media tries to present this as a riot waiting to happen. From what I’ve seen of the gathering from people who are there they were mostly peaceful. Meeting a force with police is not the way to diffuse a situation but instead a way to douse it in gasoline.

The system does not work.
And there are no easy answers.
All I know is a young boy is dead.
We are in mourning and my city is exploding.

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