As we look at Obama's success and simultaneously watch the high unemployment rates and the low graduation rates for African Americans, we must know that there is still reason for concern. Young White Americans and Americans who are products of the sixties Civil Rights revolution elected Barack Obama. The problem is that there are still political and social Dinosaurs in our midst and too often they have risen to levels of power.
When I watched Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melikian give a Dog and Pony show about the killing of Leroy Barnes, I understood I was watching what I call a Dinosaur in action. Melekian actually stood in the front of a room full of people and talked about being transparent and dealing with the facts of the Barnes' shooting. Then he went on to talk about how bad a man Barnes was, his felony convictions, and the fact that he had a gun, and then he essentially said it's okay to kill someone like that. The problem is that he was not telling us anything about the two cops who killed Barnes, except that they were back at work. A scary thought.
What Melekian said was essentially that two cops saw Barnes in the back seat moving suspiciously. Barnes had his hand in a back pack. The officers saw through the car's tinted windows, apparently with x-ray vision, and knew that young Black men sitting in back seats and moving certain ways needed to be stopped and taken down. The officers opened the door of the car, meaning that they didn't think there was any danger or they wouldn't have opened the doors. They climbed in the car for no reason, and then reportedly saw Barnes with his hand in a back pack. They never said anything about Barnes having a gun. They grabbed him and shot him.
According to police version number ten, I guess they want us to believe that Barnes was so big and bad that instead of grabbing at his fresh gun shot wound, as most humans would do, he grabed a gun instead and and pulled it out and aimed it at the officers. Then he got out of the car, and they had to shoot him ten more times - seven of those times in the back. And this is what they call justified homicide. It sounds more like they shot him, drug him out of the car, and then finished their assassination. It seems like the officers were so demented that they took a few more shots just for the experience or practice of shooting someone.
What the Dinosaurs should understand is that the Black community that the police worked so hard to sell this snow job to don't believe their cock and bull story. They don't believe it because the Black Dinosaurs who lived through the sixties and before have heard and shared these historical versions of false Black wrongdoing to justify White Dinosaur actions before. We have all seen murder by cop, investigated by cops, and found to be justified. In fact we have seen thousands of traffic stops that started with DWB (Driving while Black ) result in a violation of penal code 148, interfering and resisting a police officer in the performance of his duties. We saw it with Rodney King being beaten for allegedly driving faster than his car would go in Los Angeles. Then he was beaten because while he was on the ground he was "assaulting the police" who were beating him. Please! Do you really think that we believe these stories? The real belief by Blacks is told in the barber shops and beauty shops in our communities.
Time after time Black Americans have had to endure the White Dinosaurs who ruin the lives of Black families with false police stops and stories. We have endured false placements into special education classes in schools that results in less than fifty percent of Blacks graduating from high school. We have seen the cops plant guns on Blacks after shootings and charging us with the crimes. We have watched cops plant drugs on Blacks and convict them with possession of drugs, and to add to this insult, judges who sentence Blacks harsher than Whites who commit the same crime. We watched two judges in Pennsylvania plead guilty to taking kickbacks for sending Black teenagers to private prisons and juvenile centers for crimes they didn't commit. We have also recently witnessed a new twist for instance where there was a mother who drowned her kids in her car and then said it was a Black who did it.
Another Dinosaur, Pasadena's new city manager, Michael Beck, has ignored the tradition of having an African American on staff that relates to the needs of the Black community. Before he arrived, the Black community could count on Prentice Deadrick and Brian Williams to carry our case and concerns to the city power structure. Now there is nobody, and Beck could care less. This is a return to the status quo of past years. The question is, what do we do about it?
Let us never forget that the slave who is whipped easiest (and I suppose without noise) is whipped easiest. Unfortunately it seems that we will have to continue to live with these Dinosaurs until they die out. It seems to answer the the question raised in my grandfather's poem written in the forties which asks, "Do we have to wait until all the white folks are dead" to reach our full potential? I don't think we will have to wait till all the white folks are dead , just the Dinosaurs with their Dinosaur attitudes about us.
With the election of Barack Obama there is some evidence that they and their influence are dying off. But when Dinosaurs like Melekian tries to sell us stuff like what happened to Barnes being a justified homicide, we know that Dinosaurs are still operating.
When a city manager ignores a whole community and the rules and tradition of equality in hiring practices, we know the Dinosaurs and their influences are still in our lives. Where are the noise makers when we need them to speak out over the influence of the Dinosaurs? If you don't make any noise, shame on you. You should apologize and be in tears as you ponder that you will leave a world for your children where discrimination and unequal treatment is still alive.