December 1, 2023

Who Really Wins?

“Indeed, in America there is a strange and powerful belief that if you stab a Black person ten times, the bleeding stops, and the healing begins the moment the assailant drops the knife. We believe White dominance to be a fact of the inert past, a delinquent debt that can be made to disappear if only we don’t look.”
-Ta-Nehisi Coates

It is a sad reality that many around the nation are grateful that for once a White police officer has been convicted of killing an unarmed Black man. Last week, Amber Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison for the unlawful slaying.

On September 6, 2018, Botham Jean was sitting at home minding his business when Amber Guyger, a five-year police veteran burst into the front door of his apartment, fatally wounding him. The irony of it all, Guyger actually lived one floor below him and had been romantically involved with him. Yet, she claimed she accidentally went into the wrong unit and accidentally killed him in the process.

So, here we are a year later, and it may be true that Guyger has been convicted of killing Botham, but I’m not too keen about instantly putting on the forgiveness hat. For the record, Botham Jean is dead! Sure, Guyger will spend a couple, maybe even a few years behind bars. But at the end of the day, can we truly say we have won?

What about the many cases which don’t make the headlines and are not circulating around the nation as like this one. Are we to believe now that Black Lives actually do matter, because one White girl was convicted out of a larger number of officers whose crimes go unpunished?
With that, I will conclude with the words of Emory University professor, Carol Anderson. “White rage doesn’t have to take to the streets and face rubber bullets to be heard. Instead, white rage carries an aura of respectability and has access to the courts, police, legislatures and governors, who cast its efforts as noble, though they are actually driven by the most ignoble motivations.”

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