OPINION | By Nehemiah D. Frank
Black people are dying because of a lack of empathy from White Americans, and the lack thereof undoubtedly starts when White Americans are in their school age years.
They miss the opportunity to empathize with Black Americans because they are ill-taught about Black history due to some White people’s fragility in facing their own internal biases in the mirror.
Last month in Hoover, AL, the Officer of the Attorney General of the state released a report of its review, finding the cop who killed E.J. Bradford on the evening of Thanksgiving 2018, “…did not commit a crime under Alabama Law.”
According to the AG’s opinion and ruling “Officer 1” was well within his afforded-rights to end the life of E.J. Bradford because Bradford, a young black man, to all appearances posed “an immediate deadly threat to innocent civilians and thus [Officer 1] shot Bradford to eliminate the threat.”
Officer 1 shot Bradford three times from behind: in the back of Bradford’s head, neck, and on the side of his hip. He didn’t have a chance.
A White police officer, whose name has yet to be released, ended the life of E.J. Bradford, a 21-year-old young black man who had no criminal record and had just enlisted into the US military the year prior.
The Hoover Police Department was mistakingly quick to stamp Bradford as a criminal, branding Bradford as a threat when the department didn’t have all the facts. The Hoover Police Department, however, quickly recanted their statement when it was discovered that Bradford was not the active shooter.
The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump stated that the police prevented Bradford from receiving aid; furthermore, the Hoover Police Department neglected to inform Bradford’s family of his death.
The Crutcher family was also denied Justice last Friday, March 1, 2019. The Department of Justice ruled in their, own, legal opinion that former Tulsa Police Officer, Betty Shelby didn’t violate Terence Crutcher’s civil rights, stating Shelby fired in self-defense. No weapon was found on Terence’s body nor in his SUV.
Terence Crutcher, a Black man, father, son, and twin sister of Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, was shot visibly with his hands up on national television. Terence’s legs could be seen buckling immediately after the impact of bullets entered the right side of his body — his hands sliding down the window as he struggled for his life and took his last breath.
The Tulsa Police Department immediately demonized Terence’s character, stigmatizing him as a ‘criminal thug’ and a “bad dude.”
Terence laid wasting in the street for America to see with no immediate medical attention. He was another Black man that was no longer a threat in American.
Publicly displaying racism towards Black Americans was once acceptable behavior. Lynchings across the South was viewed as public entertainment.
Now displaying racism in a public setting is considered unacceptable and taboo, and lynching for entertainment is no longer a ‘thing.’
Yet today in many White spaces, racism is still a topic of entertainment, and public police shootings have become a type of modern-day lynching considering the high number of unarmed Black men that are killed at the hands of law enforcement today.
That new kind of racism continues to reinvent itself because America and its schools have yet to deal with its racism problem.
In Hoover, Alabama, a Birmingham suburb, high schoolers from Spain Park were recently caught spewing anti-Black and anti-Semitic slurs.
A White boy can be seen and heard on the video saying, “F—k n—gers; f—k Jews.” A White girl pours gasoline on the flames, adding “Jews are fine because they’re white. We just need the n—gers gone.”
Social media has definitely opened the door to what is undoubtedly White America’s problem — racism, and it’s White people’s problem to fix because Black people are tired of dealing with White people’s racism.
“Honestly, I am so sick and tired of going through this same routine at Spain Park High School,” an African-American student from the school explained. “I’ve been through so many personal experiences. This [racism] needs to stop.”
The student said that multiple incidents have happened, involving racist activity. She feels the school hasn’t handled these situations very well.
Spain Park High school is fairly racially mixed: 55-percent White, 25-percent Black, 8-percent Latinx, 7-percent Asian, and 5-percent other.
The school district’s superintendent, Kathy Murphy said, “Schools end up being a microcosm of something much bigger.”
It’s sad that superintendent Murphy couldn’t name the ‘something.’ That ‘something’ is what we call systemic racism.
Murphy is clearly afraid of pushing against the status quo because she wants to keep her job.
White people need to deal with their problem called racism because evidently, it’s still affecting American schools 65 years after Brown v Board of Education.
The stress of implicit biases and racism affects the mental health of Black students.
Last year, at the same school, a teacher was let go for using racial slurs in a classroom, yelling-out “Turn the n—ger tunes off,” to a Black student.
The list of Blackface incidents coupled with klan outfits and racist frat boy songs is undoubtedly a part of White America’s culture that Black people weren’t meant to see. Thanks to social media we now can confirm our deepest fears even after the Obama era that America is still racist and has yet to educate the next generation thoroughly about what racism looks like and how it won’t be tolerated.
White America, please deal with your people’s racist issue because you are stressing everyone out including the next generation.
Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times. He graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Oklahoma State University. A rising voice in America and an emerging leader in the education reform movement, Nehemiah frequently travels for speaking engagements around the country, is a blogger for Education Post, and has been featured on NBC as well as in Blavity and Tulsa People. Nehemiah is also an educator and school administrator at Sankofa School of the Performing Arts in Tulsa, OK, a 2017 Terence Crutcher Foundation honoree, a recipient of the 2017 METCares Foundation Community Impact Award, and a 2018 Oluko Fellow. He gave a TED Talk at The University of Tulsa in the spring of 2018.