A few months ago, I settled a case for $200,000 where the LA County Sheriff burned a young man and arrested him for alleged battery on the deputies. For over thirty years, I have been suing the police for abuse of citizens. In 1968, the year I graduated from college, I was one of those young Black men who was beat-up by the police. That was before suing the police was the thing to do, and I was just glad to be alive, and not going to jail, and was able to put the event behind me.
I shouted when I heard that the city of New York is going to pay five young Black men 40 million dollars for their 7 to 13 years in prison. And then I thought about the other things we are owed for but may never collect unless, somehow, the war to collect reparations is won.
You may ask, what are these other things?
(1) The “War on Drugs” which is really a war on Black America because they never got the “big boys.”
(2) “Voter suppression”. The war on voting by the Supreme Court which approved the Republicans plan to reduce the number of Black, Brown and poor from voting. Who would have thought the United States would return to such a past of White supremacy, where they believe that only they should vote. I guess they don’t want to see another Black family sleeping in the White House.
(3) The war on health care (Obamacare), where the Republicans have voted over 50 times to repeal the right to insure health care for everyone. In nearly half the states Republican governors have even denied the people the right to health care through Medicaid which costs the state government NOTHING. Thank God that Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia is vetoing the state legislature’s efforts trying to deny free healthcare to the citizens.
(4) The war on education is in full swing, and stopping the right to a free public education which was guaranteed to anyone who wanted to go to school could just show up and get a top rated education has nearly ended. The Republicans are trying to stop that.
(5) The war on employment is stopping governments and private employers from hiring as many people as are needed. It is reported that employers are sitting on billions but they don’t want to use it for hiring. I know people who have law degrees, Ph.D.’s, and even an M.D. and are unemployed.
Politicians seem to be breaking the law to get elected, like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey, and not going to jail. If on the other hand your name is Marion Barry, it’s off to jail you go. The Supreme Court is approving laws that used to be violations of the law. Guns in schools and churches seem to be okay.
It’s still Okay to call someone that is Black a N—-r and get away with it if you are Black. In fact, you can make millions on that, like Jay-Z. However, if you are White, like Donald Sterling or Paula Dean, you may lose your fortune for using the N-word. But for people like Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg, they make a fortune. That’s sad, but then the ones who placate the masses have always made a fortune selling out the masses.
For me, I don’t like it, no matter who is using it. It is the last word thousands of Blacks heard while they were being lynched. Now the rappers use it for the rhythm and shock value. And we dance to it like the minstrel shows of old. I don’t like it just like I don’t like seeing so-called brothers with their pants down exposing their underwear in public. It’s silly and the message seems to be I don’t even know how to treat myself with dignity.
But like the brothers of New York charged with a rape they didn’t do, somehow we still rise. Like Emmet Till, Martin Luther King, or the three little girls of Birmingham death can be a lesson for many that, someday, if we persist and keep our eyes on the goal, we will survive and thrive. That has been our reparations.