Why Seattle’s “Black Leaders” Are Mum On Police Murders
In the weeks since Halloween night, 5 police officers in Western Washington have been gunned down in two separate attacks carried out by Black men.
I’ve previously addressed the fact that the actions of a few should never be considered representative of the whole- but there’s more to say.
I keep hearing, and reading, the same question again and again in relation to these murders: what- if any- responsibility Black people have for them, or for condemning them publicly?
The debate came up again yesterday in the comment sections of area newspapers because Christopher Monfort- the man accused of gunning down a Seattle Police officer, made his first court appearance since being released from the hospital- Monfort was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police the day he was taken into custody.
The comments look like this:
“Where are the Black Leaders of the community and why aren’t they speaking out about this tragedy and looking to address the issues of accountability with the black community. Bill Cosby has said it much better than me on this issue. The Black Community isn’t even protecting itself from each other.”
“The silence of the black community leadership is deafening. Not only the local black community and the national black leadership for that matter. Where is Jesse and Al when we really need them?”
“Funny there hasn’t been any comments from the black leadership in the community regarding this and the other assassinations of police officers in Seattle. Frankly it doesn’t surprise me and tells me that the black leadership not speaking out it somehow gives the impression of approval.”
My first question is very simple- who exactly are these so-called “Black leaders?” and secondly, who decides they are worthy of such a title?
Here’s one that may be a bit tougher for folks- why does it take a verbal damnation of these mens’ actions to “convince” or otherwise assure a large population right here in the PNW that Black people as a whole do not condone murder?
I’ll attempt a stab at a few of these.
Number one- Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and the Urban League are not leaders “of” the Black community- period. Sharpton and Jackson are self-important men with little relevance to the current state of racism or race relations- despite what they’ll surely insist themselves. Call me a Black rogue opp if you want, but the truth of the matter is there are millions of Black people in this country who share this opinion. Just because they crown themselves leaders, and are affirmed by the media, doesn’t make it so. David Duke refers to himself as a leader of all good White people- who agrees with him? How many would be comfortable with the rest of us deciding that what he said spoke for an entire race of people, regardless of personal behavior, beliefs or morals?
Number two- the “Black community” does not now, nor will it ever need to be accountable for what these two men did- period. If I as a Black person am somehow responsible for Monfort or Clemmons, then damnit every White person on the planet is personally responsible for the actions of Timothy McVeigh. End of story.
Number three- the fact that these so-called “leaders” have not come out and given public statements “condemning” the shootings (and the shooters) is not proof that said individuals “approve” of what happened. Instead it shows that we (meaning Black people) know that doing so is pointless- because we’re not responsible for what happened- the shooters are responsible for what happened. They acted alone- not on behalf of Black solidarity or the Black community. Can one even accurately define what the Black community is based on these two situations? Hell no. Give me a break already.
These kinds of attitudes and opinions are not really a condemnation of Black people or our “leaders”- but of those who write it, think it, and believe it.