Black

White Seattle Cop Viciously Punches Black Woman in the Face

Police Brutality

For those who know me truly well, they know that I am not a person who “plays the race card” or who simply sides with racial and ethnic minorities because I am African-American. In fact, on many issues, I have been and am at odds with what many of my fellow African-Americans believe. Although I had originally planned to post an article that I have been working on for some time now (on a less serious topic), the White male cop in Seattle who viciously punched a 19 year old African-American female in the face compelled me to offer an immediate response.

I am quite unsettled by the reality that a White Seattle cop used a vicious punch to the face of a 19 year old African-American female simply because she lightly put her hands on his hands to step between the argument between him and the other 17 year old African-American female. Both of the females were jaywalking and the cop was trying to give them both tickets. While I think that the cop was well within in his right to give both of the females tickets for jaywalking, I contend that he unnecessarily employed excessive force. Neither of the African-American females posed an imminent threat to him. From my perspective, he simply did not like what the females were saying to him and did not like the fact that the 19 year old Black female lightly touched him.

The Black female never should have lightly put her hands on his hands, but this light placement of her hands on his hands did not warrant the use of excessive force. He could have removed her hands without using such great force. As a Criminal Justice minor during my undergraduate studies, I gained a firm understanding of criminal law, especially concerning policing. I have, therefore, a serious understanding about the fact that police officers have discretion (what is called “police discretion”). Police discretion does not allow a police officer to resort to an abuse of his power. An example of an abuse of police power is an unnecessary use of force. The police officer launched himself to ensure that he was punching the young lady with all of his power. All of this force for an unarmed 19 year old Black female? Really? On a street named after Martin Luther King, Jr.? Are you kidding me?

A Seattle police spokesman stated that the police officer acted within his discretion and disclosed that it’s up to an individual officer when to use excessive force. The police department has not punished the officer in any way at this moment. The department has required the officer to review training guidelines to see if improvement can be made. I’m certainly glad to see that the police department is having him to review training guidelines to see if he could improve his performance, but this is simply not all that the department needs to do to address this police officer. The department needs to fire this man for his unprofessional behavior and abuse of power. This is not the first time that Seattle police officers have unnecessarily brutalized a Black woman. They have brutalized Black women and men in the past.  A pattern has conspicuously evolved.

This evolution of police brutality causes me to think that racism was an important factor in how the White police officer handled himself. A Seattle police spokesman claims that the officer became increasingly fearful of his safety as he was handling this issue on his own and there was a crowd of people around. The officer claims that this could have been a tragedy. The spokesman is right about one thing: this was a tragedy. What is tragic about this event is an unarmed Black female was viciously punched by a White police officer. How’s that for tragedy? The only thing that I can see that motivated this cop to react in the way he did is a deep gut bucket Mississippi Jim Crowism mentality. As I watched his face and his delivery of the punch, the punish itself seemed to communicate one word for me: Nigger! Let me be clear—I never heard him say that word, but his actions communicated that he was calling her that name.

Black women are twice a minority: Black and female. Sexism played a significant role in this matter because it seemed to me that he wanted to put her in a woman’s place, a Black woman’s place (in his mind): on her back. This punch evinced a true disregard for the Black woman’s body. When looking at this punch from a gender perspective, I also see that the punched communicated this message to the woman: filthy Black whore. This could explain why he did not want her touching him—no matter how light of a touching it was.

I urge the Seattle police department to fire this White police officer, Ian Walsh, and to develop a comprehensive plan to significantly diminish the chances of an incident like this from occurring again. Moreover, I urge all people who have been unsettled and unnerved by this incident to make sure that justice is served in this case. We have to remember what justice really is. Justice is what love looks like in public.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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The Fear of Those Who Resist Social Cloning and Psychic Slavery

Mental Slavery

What I am often unsettled and unnerved by is the reality that many people always want me to be like them. Because I am willing to be myself, this unsettles, unnerves, and unhouses them in fundamental ways. I am a truly emancipated Black man. This means that I do not allow societal expectations and norms to limit me in any way. Even though I am tremendously happy with being a truly emancipated Black man, this does not stop people from attempting to change me and make me more like them. What I have learned is people want to change me because they do not want me to outshine them, and they do not want me to make them feel uncomfortable and embarrass them in front of their friends and colleagues. The purpose of this article is to explain the phenomenon of “social cloning,” explain the problems “social cloning” engenders, and elucidate why it is important to resist.

I know you have to be saying—what is “social cloning”? Just to make my definition clear to you, “social cloning” is the process by which people force others to be more like them or exactly like them. It seems that people do not want you to be “different.” For some reason, “difference” threatens the safety of their embracement of hegemony, the status quo, and societal expectations and norms. Fortunately, there are some people, like me, who find simply embracing hegemony, the status quo, and societal expectations and norms to be problematic. What seems to be the goal of those who try to force people to be just like them is to allow themselves to remain safe and comfortable in their limited world of possibilities. The reason why they have limited possibilities is they have self-imposed a life of slavery on themselves. They allow themselves to fall prey to psychic slavery. As we all know, this is the most damaging form of slavery because it has the potential to last forever.

Unfortunately, many Black people allow themselves to be victimized by self-imposed psychic slavery. They are not willing to live a free life—a life without limits. While I am certainly not advocating that people should not be law-abiding citizens, I am arguing for people to do the things that please them most. You should not live a life that is based on what other people think that you should be and what they think you should be doing. You also should not live a life that is not real. I see so many unhappy people because they are living lives and doing things that they do not want to do. For example, I know many people who get married, have babies, maintain heterosexual relationships, try to act like thugs, pretend to be straight, but these things are not really what they want to be and/or do. They just do these things so that they will not be considered “different.” For many people, being “different” is not something that they can handle. It is almost like being dirty: When one gets dirty, there is always this feeling that you need to be cleansed. Living a socially cloned life and life of self-imposed psychic slavery has to be a miserable life. Life is too short—one should live life with much more freedom and with much more concern for what he or she can uniquely contribute to the world.

I am often criticized for virtually everything that I do—simply because I am a truly emancipated Black man. Efforts to criticize my freedom-saturated actions are aimed at trying to make me stop doing things that are outside of the norm, and people want me to stop making them have to constantly live with the reality that they are unwilling to live a life of Truth, instead of a life of falsehoods. Because I am such a compassionate person, I want my readers to know that I am not attacking those who allow themselves to be socially cloned and be victimized by a self-imposed psychic slavery. I simply have to tell them the Truth. As I often say, justice is what love looks like in public. As a person who fights for justice, I have to tell people that living a lie is a self-denial of experiencing and enjoying the fullness of the Earth.

You can always identify those people who live a life of self-imposed psychic slavery and who have been socially cloned: These are the people who are always pointing out the harm in everything that you do that goes against the status quo. What people really would like for people who resist social cloning and psychic slavery to do is just sit down and shut up. Please do not succumb to this pressure. I know that it can often be hard to resist and can be tremendously unpopular. The world, however, needs people who are willing to be “different” and needs people who are willing to take “unpopular” positions and actions. Just think about it: When you take unpopular positions and actions and are willing to be different, you will be in the company of the greatest man you can ever know: Jesus. Jesus took unpopular positions and actions and was willing to be different.

People know the difference between real and fake, so please do not think that you are fooling anybody. When you work so hard to put on false images, the world knows that these are false images, so stop investing great time in maintaining these images. The people who really gain the real respect of people are the people who are authentic. In order to be authentic, you must be guided by transparency in nearly all that you do and say. I really hope that people will begin to improve the world dramatically by offering us your authenticity and not your socially cloned selves. I long for a day when real people will rise up and make this world a truly better place to live in, a place where true and pervasive freedom can blossom.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

The Queer Contradictions of the Black Church

Black Church

Although I am a strong supporter of the Black Church, it is important to think about and discuss some of the most vexing contradictions of it. First, I want to make it clear that I am a Christian, a member of the Black Church, a member of Paradise Church of God in Christ in Forest Park, Georgia, heterosexual, and an African-American. I love the Black Church, especially my church, Paradise Church of God in Christ in Forest Park, Georgia. I love my pastor, Bishop Paul L. Fortson, and my first lady, Evangelist Carolyn C. Fortson. Let’s be clear—this article is not about the church that I attend and my Pastor and First Lady.  This article has a larger purpose: to critique the contradictions in the way the Black Church treats homosexuality.

In the Black Church, especially in the Church of God in Christ, I often hear about how God despises homosexuality and I agree with this position because it is very much supported by Scriptures. My problem with how homosexuality is discussed in the Black Church, especially in the Church of God in Christ, is that it often comes off as being very hateful and/or insensitive. You can tell people that they need to change their ways without being so exploitative in the way in which you refer to them. For example, I have often heard in sermons in the Church of God in Christ homosexuals being referred to as “sissies,” “faggots,” and “dikes.” Now, this use of language is unnecessary to inform your audience that homosexuality is not supported by the Scriptures. This use of language seems to be tremendously mean-spirited. The role of the preacher and Church is to help to drive people to Christ—not to run them away. It seems that this use of language emerges from laziness and the failure of Black preachers in the Black Church to employ effective persuasion to change people’s homosexual ways, so they use a simplistic strategy: name-calling. Name-calling is for children—preachers are supposed to be adults, so act like it.

In Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, Cornel West (2004) writes, “For Emerson, to be a democratic individual is to speak out on uncomfortable truths; to be an active player in public discourse is to be thrown into life’s contingency and fragility with the heavy baggage of history and tradition, baggage like the American legacies of race and empire” (p. 74). As a person with a commitment to Socratic inquiry and bearing prophetic witness to Truth, I have to speak those “uncomfortable truths” that Cornel West states that Ralph Waldo Emerson talked about. If the Black Church was so serious about homosexuality, then it would not take homosexuals’ money during offering time. During offering time, I want to hear these preachers say, “We don’t want your gay money.” I want to hear them say, “Sissies and dikes stay in your seats because we don’t want your nasty money.”

The Black Church seems to be tremendously dishonest when offering time comes: Preachers become everyone’s friend when offering time comes because they want everyone’s money. I would just like them to remember how harsh they are to homosexuals during their sermons, so be consistent and honest and tell them you don’t want their money. If you can speak to them in such disparaging ways during your sermons, then use the same rhetoric when you are passing that collection plate around. How’s that for transparency? Have I unsettled you yet? If not, maybe I will now. In many Black churches, people are gaining salvation while many homosexuals are singing and playing the music that they are shouting and dancing too. Hmm…Now, when will these preachers remove the homosexuals from their choirs and music departments if they are so serious about homosexuality?

The Black Church’s love of money exposes its contradictions on the issue of homosexuality. With all of the sins the Bible speaks about, it seems that the Black Church wants to focus on the most divisive sins in the Bible. The reason why I see that preachers are wanting to focus on the more divisive sins is they gain them much more attention—just like controversy breeds cash in the media, controversy breeds cash in churches. Some preachers have even gained their fame by how harsh they speak about homosexuality, but where is the love of Christ in this harsh language you use about homosexuals? Did Christ say love and respect everyone except homosexuals? No!

While I very much contend that the Scriptures speak against homosexuality, I argue that the Scriptures also tell you to talk about homosexuality with love and compassion. Now, how can you say that you are treating people with love and compassion when you are calling them “sissies,” “faggots,” and “dikes.” I already know I’m going to receive a significant amount of criticism for this article, but what I have said in this article needs to be said. People think it is so funny when preachers in the Black Church try to get the audience’s attention by using derogatory language to refer to homosexuals, but what if more derogatory language was used to expose your lying, fornication, profanity, watching and viewing of pornography, intoxication, gossiping, and etc.? It may not be so funny to you anymore. Hmm…I’m just saying.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison