The police dashcam execution of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, was released to the public Tuesday.
And if you’re like me, you just don’t have time for this sh*t.
Not today, not any day. The lesson from this case, this recorded lynching of another black man, is that white supremacy doesn’t give a damn about black respectability and whether you were innocent and complied with the cops. The only thing of concern to white supremacy is the criminalization of all black people, and the stacking up of black bodies. Because All Lives Matter:
The murder of Castile by Officer Jeronimo Yanez — former Officer Yanez, who was found not guilty by a jury last Friday — was an act of white supremacy. It matters not that Yanez is Latino. He could have been a white cop, he could have been a black cop, and the outcome would have been the same. It’s the mindset that counts, and that mindset is one that dehumanizes black lives and perceives us as an existential threat to society.
This is what happens to you when you have the audacity to own a car with a broken taillight and, as Yanez believed, fit the description. Because all black folks look alike, and by the way, we’re a criminal element, according to some.
Philando Castile did all the right things. The man had a legal right to carry that weapon, and he notified the officer that he had a gun.
Castile gave Yanez his proof of insurance and said, “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.”
Yanez: “OK, don’t reach for it then.”
Castile: “I’m… I’m… [inaudible] reaching.”
Yanez: “Don’t pull it out.”
Castile: “I’m not pulling it out.”
Passenger: “He’s not pulling it out.”
Yanez: “Don’t pull it out!”
Yanez fired seven shots, pumping the bullets into Castile. What we can’t forget to mention is that Castile’s fiancée, Diamond Reynolds, was sitting in the front passenger seat and recorded the gruesome killing of her man on her cellphone. Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat.
We must ask what Yanez thought he was doing, shooting a man who, driving with his fiancée and a young child, tells him he has a gun. “I was scared to death. I thought I was going to die,” Yanez said on the stand during his trail. “My family was popping up in my head. My wife. My baby girl.”
And what of the black woman and the black baby girl in the car? Did you think of them and the trauma they will suffer for the rest of their lives, Officer Yanez? We should ask if Yanez always reacts to black people with such fear and trepidation, and why was he a police officer in the first place if he was so trigger happy when in the presence of melanin?
Welcome to the world of implicit bias, the disease that infects society through racist media stereotypes that seep into the public conscience. Implicit bias tells police officers, and members of the general public, that black children are older, bigger, less innocent and more culpable than they really are, and that black adults are criminals for no other reason than their skin. Racism is so hardwired in the circuitry of Americans’ neurological systems that shooting to kill an African-American is the default setting.
Meanwhile, where is the NRA in all this? Why are they not backing up their fellow fallen gun owner? Because the NRA is meant to protect the interests and safety of white folks, using fear of big, bad black men such as Philando Castile as fodder to keep arm sales in an upward trajectory. Know this: For white America, the gun always was about keeping the slaves at bay, under control and, when necessary, dead for the sake of protecting white women and children, and property.
“Damn! What is it gonna take?” asked Philando’s mother Valerie Castile to a crowd. “I’m mad as hell! Yes I am!”
“My son loved this city and this city killed my son, and the murderer got away,” she added. “Are you kidding me right now?”
NEW: Philando Castile’s mother reacts to not guilty verdict against police officer in the death of her son: “I’m mad as hell right now.” pic.twitter.com/rWsq3XnhHt
— ABC News (@ABC) June 16, 2017
The real-time video recording of the violence against us, the clear evidence of the negrophobic brutality was supposed to liberate us and make it rain justice. But what happens when folks cannot agree that the crime committed on the dashcam or cellphone is actually a crime, or a bad thing at all?
Sanctimonious unwoke white folks will assure you that black folks who don’t comply with the cops will become deceased black bodies. Yet, we know that even as black mothers and fathers instruct their babies on how to behave — and what to do and not to do when confronting the cops — respectability will get you nowhere. Becoming a Heathcliff Huxtable is not your lifeline in the face of white supremacy and a gun. Following the rules and complying with the law has its place, but wearing a bulletproof vest might provide better results.
In light of Philando Castile, black people need to become Luke Cage. And that’s real.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter @davidalove.