Last week, I read in an article that Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, believes President Obama will try to stop the prosecution of black criminals. He didn’t explicitly state this, a caller to his radio show did, but he didn’t denounce it as pure idiocy either. Where do I even start? I can’t say this is the most ignorant thing I’ve heard a Republican say, but it’s pretty damn close. When such vile, baseless, and racist comments spill from their unfiltered mouths, I sometimes wonder if they were all educated in Klan County, USA. The scary thing is these are elected officials! What does that say about the citizens of this country?! That the image of the historical, dangerous, black brute still exists in the American psyche? That even though it is 2015 and we have a black president, race relations in America have gotten worse instead of better?
They make it no secret that the government, law enforcement, and any rich white man with money and power all look at black men (and minorities) between the ages of 15 and 35 as criminals. These are my brothers, my cousins, my future sons who already have a target on their backs, and yet, Kris Kobach seems to think that Obama is trying to start some kind of dangerous, black criminal liberation movement. Are you serious? Has he seen the prison populations lately? No? Let me give you a snippet of what my local county jail looks like.
And because there’s no ethnicity column on this list, most of those “whites” are actually Hispanic. So, Mr. Kobach, Obama’s alleged agenda for stopping the prosecution of black criminals is failing miserably! How about we work to stop the persecution of black men and minorities instead?
These men who are locked up are young men too. Most of them still in their twenties, wasting away their lives in jail for possession of stolen goods, possession of drugs/paraphernalia, failure to appear in court, probation violation. Yes, there are black men convicted of major crimes like rape and murder, and if guilty, they should stay in prison, but there are many who serve long sentences for stupid, victimless crimes. My own brother, someone who has never been in trouble with the law before, was facing 17 years for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and because someone else had a weapon. We don’t even know if it was a gun or not! No one ever said what exactly the “dangerous weapon” was or who had it.
It just makes me so angry when I see young men with great potential becoming statistics. And it seems like no one cares. They just lock them up and continue with their menial lives. Continue making their money while these men wilt away. What does a young black boy have to look forward to today? If he doesn’t become a famous actor or athlete, how much more is his risk of being murdered by a cop or one of his peers, or winding up in jail for the rest of his life for doing something stupid and unforgivable in the mind of greedy America who holds a robbery charge on the same level as murder?
I just don’t understand. I know that all young men of color aren’t criminals. I just wish I knew why so many of them were behind bars. Anyway, I’d like to share this spoken word poem by Fong Tran to close out my rant. If you can’t understand my words, hopefully his will paint a clearer picture.