Another police involved shooting of a Black male. More coverage of an African-American community being destroyed by African-Americans accompanied by the usual deflection of blaming “systematic racism” for the atrocities.

This time, the chaos happened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when law enforcement officers shot and killed an armed man. Protesters burned six businesses, including a gas station, and threw rocks at police, leaving four officers injured, seven police vehicles damaged and 17 people arrested.

According to reports, 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith and another person were driving through a north-side neighborhood and were pulled over by police. Both persons fled the car and a footchase ensued. It ended when an officer shot Smith after ordering him to put down his gun.

In all fairness, it is reasonable to question the police version of the incident given that there is a proven track record of killing unarmed black males and authorities trying to cover up evidence in support of their law enforcement officers but my complaint focuses more on the actions some of my African-American brothers and sisters think are justified.

Darryl Riles
DK Riles

 

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois on the South side. I lived in the Robert Taylor Homes (otherwise known as the “projects”) in the early 1960’s when true segregation and racism was common. Like many others, my parents and grandparents caught the brunt of the extreme prejudices that existed and fought to make sure the next generation would have better opportunities than they had.

My parents stressed a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King’s ” I Have A Dream” speech:

” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I live by that philosophy even today but when I see violent protests in our neighorhoods, another King quote comes to mind:

” Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.”

To me, rioting and protesting when a cop shoots down a person of color but not raising the same type of hell when some thug kills anyone is insane. When I watch our so called Black leaders show up on television to rant about the white man’s oppression but offer no real solutions or motivation for us as a people to aggressively stand against those in our own community who do much more damage on a daily basis, it pisses me off.
The most troubling aspect of this whole dilemma to me occurs when those of us who have managed to find success despite bigoted obstruction are ridiculed, belittled, and even attacked as “acting or talking white” by fellow members of our race. It makes it very difficult at times to give back when you are ostracised for doing well.
Destroying your own neighborhood will do nothing for the economic developement that area may need. No business owner is going to invest there for fear of losing everything. You can’t attack law enforcement then turn around and call them for help when some
idiot is attacking you.
Finally, we are fortunate to live in an age where a black man can succeed to be President of the United States = something our ancestors could never fathom – or aspire to be the best at whatever he chooses to be. Learn how to beat back racism by voting in the right people, challenge those within your community to fight back against those who seek to make it a warzone full of drugs and violence. Don’t keep waiting for some magic solution.
As those who came before us proved, it is only when we look within ourselves that any positive change can come about for us as a people. Let’s start by comfronting those who want to destroy the communities we live in.
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