Oscar Grant and LeBron James. Boom.

What’s up fam,

Yesterday’s events will serve as an economic stimulus for barbershops all across America. Yesterday, the cop who killed Oscar Grant was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and LeBron James decided to sign with Miami Heat. What bothers me though is this idea that really conscious Black people won’t be talking about Mr. James but focus all of their blogs, tweets, status updates, and conversation on raising the level of police brutality.

I submit to you that taking part in LBJ discourse does not mean you have to turn in your conscious card. Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time? Seriously, I feel like part of the reason things seem so dour is that so many debates are about the “agenda” as opposed to making positive contributions (read: action) in your community.

So I am going to do two things. I am going to write about Oscar Grant and LeBron James as proof that Black people can analyze multiple situations at the same time.

Oscar Grant

The Oscar Grant verdict was tragic because a policeman shot a young man (face down with a knee in his back) with a gun that he thought was his taser. I have issues with tasers as a principle because even if the cop truly believed he was using a taser, they are still extremely dangerous and people can die from being tased. Watch the video below,

The cop was White and the young man was Black but racial concerns aside, how would you feel if Oscar Grant was your son? Let that sink in for a minute? How do you think you and your loved ones would feel toward police after that?

I feel bad for officers and citizens who think most Black people simply hate cops or fail to defend cops when the citizens brutalize them. That is not the case. Like most Black people I am just as mad at the senseless killing of Thor Soderberg, a Chicago policeman as I am at the killing of Oscar Grant. Being a cop is hard and everyday; police put their lives on the line. Trust me, there is no better feeling than calling the cops and they arrive promptly and act professionally. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Does that mean we swear off cops? No.

However, for many Black people, their trust and sometimes disdain of cops does not stem from a void concept of “I just hate cops.” Instead, many Black people who grew up in urban centers long for a true sense of safety in their community. To put it another way, imagine being in love, like head-over heels, emotionally drowned in love. For many Black people, this is how many of us view being safe in our neighborhoods. We love and long for safety even when we may not experience it . Therefore, when drama goes down and you call on the police for help, their appearance is the physical manifestation of our love for safety. Therefore, when cops use excessive and unnecessary force, the emotional despair and betrayal accompanied with that experience runs deep.

Just talk to any Black man who grew up in the inner city and they will probably be able to relay in vivid detail, a bad experience with a cop that has and will stay with them for years. Therefore, when you hear a Black person say they don’t like cops, they are really describing the severe void of hope they once had in the idea that they could live in safety.

LeBron James

LeBron I think LeBron is a great player but he is not better than Kobe Bryant. Let me repeat, LeBron James is not better than Kobe Bryant. I would have wanted him to stay in Cleveland personally and recruit players to play with him. I don’t agree with Dan Gilbert’s vitriol released after James made his decision talking about curses and dying. However, I do respect loyalty in the way that I appreciate Michael Jordan staying in Chicago, Reggie Miller in Indiana, and Paul Pierce staying in Boston. I do not foresee the Heat winning the championship and if nothing else is true, great teams rely on their stars and their role players. (see Robert Horry, Robert Parish, Bruce Bowen, Derek Fisher, etc.) I don’t see Miami’s bench as fully developed. Nevertheless, LeBron has given up on the chances of being “that guy.” I would go on but Charles Barkley says it all. See the video by clicking here.

See what I mean by walking and chewing gum at the same time?

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

Update: So I hear that there are riots taking place in Oakland, CA and you know what really grinds my gears? Black people who steal from and destroy Black businesses in the name of extracting justice from White people.

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4 responses to “Oscar Grant and LeBron James. Boom.”

  1. JuJuBe says :

    Weren’t most of the businesses that were targeted major (white owned) corporations?? Foot Locker? Whole Foods? Sears? 24 Hour Fitness? Those are not Black businesses, those are corporate entities that are in the area taking from the community without giving back. While I do not thinking looting is particularly productive, I do believe that constructive action (particularly against the police and other representatives of the system of oppression) is sometimes a necessary and effective strategy to combat injustice.

  2. brandonq says :

    @JuJuBe I don’t know the precise list of all the impacted businesses but I am willing to bet that at least some Black-owned business were included. See. http://newamericamedia.org/2010/07/oaklands-small-businesses-brace-for-oscar-grant-verdict.php

    Nevertheless, looting is a selfish act that has nothing to do with justice. Regardless of whether the business is Black or White, how does stealing some jeans get justice for Oscar Grant?

  3. uDon'tEvenKnowJesus says :

    @JuJuBe

    Explain what you mean when you say that “those are corporate entities that are in the area taking from the community without giving back.” What are they taking? This America. They are SELLING! Would you like to be held to the notion that you are pitting against those corporate entities? Are they imposing taxes? Are they taking jobs somehow? What exactly are they taking? Or maybe for you, they aren’t giving enough. I am mixed race but have never found it convenient to locate a scapegoat for the shortcomings in the lives of the different ethnic groups from which I descend. Foot Locker never caused poverty. It’s the people with 5 children that go out to buy the latest A1’s before they budget their household expenses that are to blame.

  4. burghardt says :

    Police forces around the country continue to stop and in many cases harass or even brutalize Black and Latino men of all social classes and backgrounds much more than they do white men. Race-based police abuse will likely continue, however, as long as inferior socio-economic conditions persist in many of our nation’s Black and Latino neighborhoods. Is it true that a significant section of young men in these communities have abandoned hope of entering the mainstream work force, embracing the so-called thug life? Perhaps it is. It is also true that many if not most of the public schools in their communities are hopelessly underfunded and academically compromised, that health care services in those communities are largely inadequate as well, that decent, affordable housing in said communities is hard to find, and that the unionized, blue collar jobs which provided some of these young men’s parents and grandparents with a measure of financial stability have largely disappeared? That is certainly the case. Unfortunately, society’s answer to these problems, even in the age of an African America President, IS NOT equal educational funding and rigorous, progressive teaching in the public schools, IS NOT a single-payer health insurance system that exists in most other wealthy nations, IS NOT a renewed commitment to affordable housing, and IS CLEARLY NOT the creation of the kind of government-sponsored jobs that were an important, if not wholly adequate, source of support to the Black community during our last, prolonged depression. Instead, the United States relies on police forces and mass incarceration to keep the resulting “rabble,” which is disproportionately Black and Latino, in line. And that, combined with the enduring legacy of racism, makes all too many Black and Latino men targets of police abuse.

    By the way, wages at Footlocker stores are generally not much above the legal minimum wage, which does support a person raising a family very well, and too many Foot Locker workers are limited to part time hours, which means they do not receive health insurance, 401 K plans or other benefits.

    Finally, Robert Parish was not a role player. No disrespect to Horry, Bowen and Fisher, all of whom are tremendous, unselfish athletes, but the Chief’s talent level was much higher than theirs. This is a guy who went head to head with Kareem on a regular basis in the playoffs and frequently held his own. He is possibly under-rated because he played alongside Bird, McHale and Dennis Johnson, a foursome arguably more talented than the Celtics’ recent big four of Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo. And I make this observation as a native, life-long New Yorker who has never been a Celtic fan.

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