Black & White


The Flip Side of a Chase
Is a Man Leading the Crowd

Many pictures dispense interpretation. Most tragedies could do without another opinion. The nation is transfixed with the unforgivable string of killings of unarmed black youth by those assigned to protect them. Grief has boiled over, calls for justice are once again being heard.
Will the death of Freddie Gray Jr. suffice for us to go from indignation to effective legislative action? Or is Baltimore only the last stop in this tragic journey of blood through the streets of America? Are we really ready to forget this one too? Are we really ready to go on?
It’s too much sorrow, too many mothers and relatives mourning the violence that seems directed at one particularly underprivileged, and often ignored, segment of the population. Thus, this picture and how we may choose to interpret it, so we can get some sleep tonight.
Not another young black man being chased by a platoon of armed, and armored, policemen, but an unsuspected leader of a new charge for change, and a new day for racial equality in the U.S. Time’s ripe to stop playing the cops and start showing compassion for the innocent.
We can always imagine all the people living for today, a brotherhood of man, and all those nice feelings. But as a nation, we’ll be worthless if we’re to allow this to continue one more day. For either we share this world as equals, or life is simply not possible for the majority.
History cannot be repeated so many times like that. But so it happens that in the week of the 23rd anniversary of the acquittal of officers caught on a video beating Rodney King to submission, we again lack confidence in the conclusion of an official probe on Gray’s death.
We must trust due process and legality and everything that guarantees our right to live peacefully in society, but as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, ‘law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.
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* Curtain Raiser

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4 thoughts on “Black & White

  1. I lived right in the middle of the Notting Hill riots in the London of the 1970s and the 1980s, so I know what it’s like. I got caught up in a couple of riots, just for trying to get from one place to another, mostly trying to get to where I lived, which happened to be in the middle of the riot.

    Some of those riots never got reported in the press, even though I saw them from my window. And, in the months before, I saw what led up to them. It was mostly white on black racism by the police. I am white. There was also a lot of black racist crime aimed at whites at the time. But I knew where that was coming from, and understood the reasons, whilst not blindly agreeing with all of them.

    The police violence was also directed at gays, miners, students and anybody else that fitted flavour of the month. It was a flagrant abuse of power and an abuse of taxpayers’ money. This isn’t right, this has to change.

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    • Colltales says:

      Indeed. It’s startling that some (white) Americans think that it’s all an exaggeration, and that it won’t affect them, if it is indeed happening. They forget, or ignore, that institutionalized violence is exactly why many don’t respect countless regimes throughout the world (you know the saying, first they came for whatever…) Initially, I was going to stick only with the photo, which is fantastic (and today I found out, it’s on the cover of Time mag). Last night, we could hear the NYPD helicopters flying overhead until very late; hundreds got arrested. They won’t change unless forced to. Thanks for your input; you’ve certainly lived through a dangerous, depressing, Tatcher-infused time in England, and probably know something about what it means to live in fear. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

      • Got caught in the helicopter spotlights one night, trying to guide a few young black girls, who’d knocked at my door, to a hospital where their pregnant friend had been rushed. They had come to carnival to enjoy themselves, not to get involved in a police riot. I didn’t want to go out, but they didn’t know the area and were frightened out of their lives. We got through the police lines OK, because I knew how. Yes, there are plenty of tales to tell, and now is the time to tell them.

        I’m trying to write something on John Lennon at the moment, he really goes up and up in my estimation.

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      • Colltales says:

        Fascinating. And I agree about Lennon; the world sorely misses an artist of his caliber at a time like this. Thanks

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