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More Bits And Pieces
8/20/2014 5:07:43 PM

By Barney Blakeney

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery - so I’ll borrow a column format from fellow columnist Bev Gadsden Birch this week and write bits and pieces of subjects. My journalism instructors taught me to stay on one subject when column writing - people remember what you write that way - but most forget what I write about anyway. Okay honestly, I really don’t have a specific subject this week. But there is so much going on, bits and pieces should work.

The Aug. 9 police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown perhaps is the most talked about subject in the nation right now. I just heard the boy was shot six times, twice in the head. The boys at my local watering hole concur that Brown seemed a thug in training. There wasn’t much discussion about the surveillance film showing Brown rob a convenience store.

The old man at the watering hole said everybody’s kid is a good kid to its parent no matter how bad the kid may be in the public’s eye. But we all agreed no matter what kind of thug Brown may have been, there’s no justification for his being shot down like a dog. Wait a minute not like a dog, because nobody shoots dogs the way Brown was shot.

The unfortunate part of all this, I think, is that Brown’s parents will get paid off, the unrest in Missouri will subside, the poverty pimps will go home and America will go back to business as usual.

On my way out the door this morning, I heard a news blurb about some other Black man somewhere else in this country being shot dead by police in apparently unjustifiable circumstances. I can’t even remember the guy’s name or where it happened. And many already have forgotten about 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock, beat up on video tape July 1 by a California highway patrolman and Eric Garner killed by a police office’s choke hold July 17 in New York City.

Black men are shot and killed by other Black men in America on a daily basis. Every now and then one is killed by a police officer. America gets caught up in the hype, the focus fades and America goes back to business as usual. Answer me this, who is Amadou Diallo and what happened to him? In a Saturday discussion a friend speculated that the folks of Ferguson, Mo. have other problems. In a town of 21,000 people, two-thirds of whom are Black, five of the six town councilmen are white and only three of its 53-man police force are Black. That indicates the town is run by it minority white power brokers who control its politics and economics, my friend said. The median income for Blacks in the area is about $18,000 annually compared to about $50,000 annually for whites.

Sounds a lot like Charleston and North Charleston where local police officers also recently were accused of killing Black men in justifiable situations. Do we really need to worry about some young Black thug wannabe in Ferguson Missouri when we face the same thing right here? Denzel Curnell, Darryl Drayton, Asberry Wylder, Edward Snowden - and the beat goes on.

I just read Marian Wright Edelman’s column in the most recent edition of this publication on the subject of America’s immigrant children’s deportation. We live in one of the richest most powerful and well educated nations in the world, how is it we’re so inhumane?

Children escape the terror and violence in their South American homelands, travel thousands of miles alone to come to a place where they think they’ll find safety and a better life. When they get here we lock them up in concentration camps until we can send them back to the unimaginable horror they just escaped and call ourselves a civilized society?

How dare we have a discussion about caring for those kids when we don’t care for the millions of children born in this country - as if that’s some either/or question. We have the ability to care for ours and theirs? America is a helluva place, ya’ll. That’s because America is full of some helluva people. A guy had the audacity to call me recently to ask me to write about the Charleston County Aviation Authority’s efforts to do the right thing in terms of minority business participation in the $200 million airport renovation project. Black folks will see little of that money just as we see almost none of the $29 million in revenue the airports rakes in annually.

Why? Because Black folks have representative leadership such as that former Charleston Sen. Robert Ford alleges uses South Carolina State University as their personal cash cow.

In an email I received Sunday, Ford says some Black state legislators for years personally benefit from tens of millions of dollars appropriated through scams at SCSU. My question is why has it taken Ford so long to tell us this. Of course, the other question is why do we need Ford to tell us something we already know.

I could write more bits and pieces in this column, but as I said earlier, who’s going to remember?

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