BY JEANETTE LENOIR
It shakes me to my core when I see these videos. The one of Amy Cooper in New York’s Ramble Park blatantly lying with faux hysteria on the phone with police about being threatened by a black man who simply asked her to leash her dog, and the one of George Floyd being cruelly murdered by a gutless police officer who thought so less of the handcuffed man under his knee, face mushed on asphalt, that he kept his hands in his pocket while crushing his windpipe. When Colin Kaepernick knelt in defense of black people and to stop this type of police brutality he was demonized by many, including the president, and even lost his NFL career for it. And to add more injury to his cause, Jay-Z partnered with the NFL, taking the side of gluttonous greed and wealth over his own people’s fight to end racism and discrimination. He should never be forgiven for making light of the real impact of police brutality. In many ways, he’s a co-signer of Floyd’s murder by abandoning Kaepernick when enough NFL money was put on his table. This is the same reason why Africa lost its attempt to unify as a black continent back in the late 60s and early 70s. Because there’s always a Jay-Z to turn against all for self. Jay-Z wants his money to last multiple lifetimes. Karma will ensure his legacy of greed and following the footsteps of Judas will last longer.
I have to consistently remind myself to avoid the three temptations W.E.B. Du Bois talks about in his book, The Souls of Black Folk. And those three temptations are: 1. the temptation to hate, because hating racist people and white supremacists won’t solve the deadly grip of American racism despite how tempting and easy it can be to answer hate with hate. 2. The temptation to despair, especially when we continue to see black people suffer like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd did. We’ve come too far to not continue our trajectory toward the ideals of America, albeit an arrogant and hypocritical country still reassured by its delusions of grandeur and superiority, despite all the evidence to the contrary. 3. The temptation to doubt. As black people we can’t doubt the dreams of our ancestors. Even though we never got our 40 acres and a mule, doubt is simply not worth entertaining despite how we’re still treated in a country built on the backs of our people. We have too much to lose even though we continue to pay the highest price for the myths of America.
And it’s incredibly hard not to indulge in these 3 temptations as we continue to bear witness to the black Holocaust at our feet. Our brutality hasn’t stopped, despite the many camera angles of it the world witnesses over and over again. It’s easy to become desensitized to it all. Since the founding of American law enforcement, it’s been an endless loop of police brutality inflicted on black people. Day after day, we see black people die by the hands of police, protected by a justice system that backs the violence they inflict on our bodies. Time after time, we’re reminded of the fear black people instill in white society, despite being the victims of their white rage and racism. Season after season we are burdened by the likes of Amy Cooper who use our race as a weapon of black destruction. Cooper is no different than Carolyn Bryant who confessed on her death bed that she lied about Emmett Till accosting her. She’s no different than Susan Smith who callously murdered her own children and blamed it on two black men. Cooper comes from a long line of “Karens” who have weaponized their being. To be a certain white woman in American society, is to cry wolf in sheep clothing, play the victim, blame black people for all their problems, stereotype black men as the boogie man, all while being Rosy the Riveter. Schizophrenic doesn’t even begin to describe the state of America’s Karens. And, unlike black women, they’re protected, allowing them to continue to be…well, Karens.
Although it’s right for Cooper’s victim, Christian Cooper, to speak out against the death threats Cooper is receiving, his opinion that he doesn’t know if she’s racist is a clear example of a man who has lost his black mind. Malcom X spoke of this, too. Christian Cooper may soon be asking Amy Cooper for a hug and forgiveness for exposing her on social media. He clearly knows his place in American society. Despite the stance he took to have her follow the park rules, he’s now coming to her defense. Falling into the long line to protect white women, no matter what. This is how our society functions. Karens can throw stones and then cry that it hurt her arm to do it, making her the victim in the trouble she started. If the world, including NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, can call racism, racism … why can’t Christian Cooper? Unfortunately, we can’t count on this bird watcher to address racism honestly.
Perhaps change needs to happen internally, first, in the African American community for the change we desperately need to see in American society. To end racism is to face it head on. Calling it exactly what it is, unapologetically. We can’t wish it away. We can’t hide behind or take academic positions and pretend that it’s not real, or that it’s similar to flatulence; you smell it but don’t know who passed it. We all know what the Amy Cooper’s and her ilk consistently do. And, we can’t be polite about it. Racism is an ugly American truth and legacy. Recognizing this does not signal the end of our American story. And addressing it justly behind the blue wall can only lead to positive change among police and communities. Our delusion of racism is what poses a mortal threat. Acknowledgement of racism and inequality will open our door, fully, to allow real and lasting change to breeze through. Tackling racism honestly is the master key to understanding the American state craft, as even great powers have limitations.