Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dignity to all not just terrorists like Dylan Roof

Perhaps it's time for African-Americans to dominate the police like Track and Field, NBA and NFL. If you see the way the police arrested Roof, the Charleston terrorist killer - that a suspect is to be treated humanely until a court of law proves the case - you wonder why African-American suspects are not treated the same way by European-American police officers. But we all know why!
People get surprised or even horrified by the behavior of these police officers. Yes, it's wrong! In Africa, we call their behavior, tribalism. No one - may be a few - in Africa treats his tribesmen the same way he treats people from other tribes. This is basically what these police officers do. They treat their own gently - in most cases.

This of course doesn't make it okay. But if you don't expose these people to see others from other tribes or races not as a threat but human beings with dreams like theirs, you can't blame them. A mathematician can't blame a historian for being afraid of mathematics unless a mathematician explains to the historian why he should think otherwise. A physicist will argue that philosophy is a waste of time but he'll quote a philosopher when he wants to appear wiser, or when he wants to relate to his audience. A European-American will despise Chinese in America but he doesn't know that Chinese make about everything he uses in America. He goes to a grocery store and smiles at a African-America clerk but he thinks less about the fact that he[the clerk] looks about the same as that young man he sees on the street and assumes a thug only to realize that that kid with a hoodie, headphone and baggie pants, is a Masters student in a local university.

We live in a world where we want others to know us but we don't want to know them. But when they act in a manner that shows they don't know us, we start to wonder. Jieeng people want Naath people to know them but don't want to understand Naath people but when Naath people refuse to know them and assume wrongs things about them, they start to wonder. Simply know one another!
Whether it's in South Sudan with tribalism or racism in the US, the key is let-us-know-one-another. The history of the African peoples is not taught to people of European descent yet we expect them to appreciate the humanity of African people in America. You can't blame someone for something they don't know. And the judge in whose court Roof was arraigned treated Roof with dignity when he [the judge] is known to have used racial epithets in his court. He asked people to treat the victims’ families and Roof's family in the same manner.

I doubt he’d do that if the killer was an African-American. He’s just identifying with his kind, the kind he’s familiar with.

If African-Americans dominate the police, then European-Americans will think twice before acting with heavy-handedness on African-Americans. African-American police officers who stereotype their people would start to change if good officers start to treat African-Americans with the dignity that was shown to a terrorist: Dylan Roof. Don’t expect good treatment from people who can’t identify with you if they don’t know you or are not comfortable with you.


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