Stop apologizing! Notes on Ismaaiyl Brinsley

It’s so absurd to me that people in the movement in general and black people specifically feel the need to apologize for the actions of Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Why? When is the last time that a police officer came forward to apologize for another police officer who murdered an innocent black man? The hashtag is blacklifematters but when something like this happens it proves that it doesn’t. The formula has always been for a white authority figure to kill an innocent black person with impunity causing the ghettos of America to erupt in protests and sometimes flames, but very rarely if ever causing the authority figure in question to be charged with any kind of crime.

As soon as Brinsley pulled the trigger he knew that his life was over. If you ever take a shot at a cop then you are dead. That’s the way it has always been. Why? Because the lives of cops matter. When their blood is spilled the entire country pauses to give their condolences. When black lives are taken then people go to great pains to justify why they deserved to die. Oscar Grant was a convicted felon who was resisting arrest, Trayvon Martin was high, Renisha McBride was drunk, Mike Brown had stolen a box of cigars and somehow—because they were young and black—then these crimes were punishable by death. It helps people sleep at night when they don’t have to consider the reality that this country has never valued the lives of its black population. Even black people place the lives of the police officers that harass them over their own lives.

So lets apologize for Brinsley. A man who acted as an individual and had nothing to do with any organized movement. A man who had just shot his girlfriend in Baltimore before heading to Brooklyn. Yes let’s make it clear to the world that we are sorry for his actions because somehow this man who had gone to jail in two different states and been arrested 19 times represents every single conscious minded college educated black person whose ever been to a rally. Somehow he represents the movement in a way that trigger-happy police officers never represent the entire police force. This mentality is so unbelievably asinine and wrought with fear. Fear that if we don’t distance ourselves from Brinsley then the police will no longer be merciful to us (as if they ever were). And fear of the power of black progress. How can we show our children that we are strong and prideful if we are always bowing our heads to apologize for something that we had nothing to do with just because the culprit was black like us?

As far as I’m concerned the tweet by Reverend Al Sharpton and the recent rant by Stephen A. Smith expressing their outrage for the murder of these police officers is completely unnecessary. When police apologize to the black community for all of the atrocities that they have committed then maybe I can express public sympathy but until then I will do my best impersonation of the blue wall of silence.


Moving Forward


When I hear a story about an African-American teenaged boy being shot to death by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain I want to hear the voices of other young black boys who are protesting. I want to see them in podiums and at press conferences expressing their pain, rage, and disbelief at George Zimmerman not being arrested. I want to hear the voices of the young ladies who lost a classmate and a friend to senseless gun violence. I want to see the next generation who have chosen to wear hoodies in solidarity with their fallen peer representing on television. I do not want to see Al Sharpton in a suit. I don’t want to hear his voice either.

When I see Al Sharpton fly all over the country and subsequently water down every potential movement involving black people it makes me a bit nauseous. I would love to hear a kid from the projects of Miami with thick dreads and a southern accent talk about how Trayvon Martin’s death is affecting his everyday life but instead I get another typical Al Sharpton sermon. It reminds me of how an American can travel to Seattle, New York, Washington DC, and Atlanta only to eat the same Big Mac and Coke from McDonald’s for dinner. The rhetoric of the black liberation movement has become nationalized, highly profitable (Sharpton does not work for free), and completely harmless to the establishment.

The era of Al Sharpton (and Jesse Jackson for that matter) will have to come to an end in order for true progress to be made. It’s time to let the youth who are hurting so badly speak for themselves.