The Killing of Korryn Gaines: More than Meets the Eye
Blacks have a tendency to view everything through a superficial lens, and this proclivity to gravitate towards simplicity in lieu of lucidity often leaves us gravely misinformed. While the vast majority of Blacks will readily admit that there is a significant issue surrounding race in America, very few have a vivid and lucid perspicacity of how and why it exists, where it originated or how to effectively engage it. We have become the masters of applying Band-Aids to bullet wounds.
While it has manifested itself in multitudinous ways, the reign of terror launched against African Americans has remained consistent. Unfortunately, because most Blacks fail to understand the dynamic element of the terror involved in the open and public killing of Blacks, they misinterpret its impact.
One common argument introduced by Blacks when a Black person is unjustly killed by law enforcement is why are we so emphatically against the killing of Blacks by White police officers, when far more Blacks are being killed by other Blacks? While we must definitely deal with this issue, the fact is that these two issues are separate and distinct, and must be dealt with as such. The truth is that fratricide is not an exclusive phenomenon that can only be ascribed to Blacks — it is the natural reality associated with the basic social construct under which we live and operate.
Since most violent crimes are crimes of passion, it makes sense that most of these crimes are perpetrated against those whom we spend the vast majority of our time dealing with. This is true among every racial group, including Whites, where the White-on-White murder rate is over 84 percent.
The truth is that the sanctioned killings, by what amounts to race soldiers, is not about diminishing the numbers of blacks, but to instill fear and terror. It is a not so subliminal message to stay in our place.
As I stated earlier, there has been a long list of unarmed African Americans who have been shot and killed by police officers, including Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Mike Brown, Eric Gardner (choked), John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Akai Gurley, Ezell Ford, Tyree Woodson and so many more. The latest name to make it on this infamous list is a 23-year-old mother of two named Korryn Gaines.
While much of the historical narrative surrounding the killing of an unarmed Black person by police has remained consistent. I have noticed that there has been a huge silence, especially as far as Black media is concerned when it comes to the killing of Korryn. I expected some well-known Blacks who have bully pulpits from which to speak to stand up and speak out, but, with the exception of Shaun King, they have been uncharacteristically silent. I believe that this is the result of the lack of independent ownership in media, where even channels that are dedicated to Black viewership are predominantly owned by non-blacks. I also believe that pressure is being applied from high enough up to collapse the usual onslaught of responses that normally accompany the senseless killing of Blacks.
While the manner in which this is playing out in the media bothers me, I am more agitated by the Black response, especially as it pertains to Black men. To say that I am disappointed in the behavior of Black men as it concerns Black women would be a gross understatement. There seems to be a growing number of Black men who take pleasure in deriding, degrading and diminishing the Black woman. Far too many Black men have found it to be an acceptable course of action to openly assault Black women, blaming them for the complete collapse of the Black community. It seems that none of these self-professed Kings are willing to own the responsibilities associated with their self-declared dominion.
From where I stand the leader is ultimately responsible for the failures of those under their leadership, but that does not seem to apply to the black male. He wants the perks and the power, but he shuns the responsibility and involvement it demands.
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The vitriol spewed by Black men toward Black women, starting with Tommy Sotomayor, has reached epic proportions. The Black male response to the shooting death of Korryn Gaines has been equally disappointing. A substantial number of Black men have thrown her under the bus, with some being willing to accept the narrative presented by the police and mainstream media, despite being completely aware of the track record of both.
I even read where one Black man said that he was perfectly good with what happened to her — she brought it on herself. I guess he never considered the pathology and instinctive response to being constantly harassed, falsely accused and arrested and even killed.
As a person who specializes in mental health, intergenerational transmission of trauma, cognitive distortions and African American behavior, it really bothers me to see so many ascribe to this young Black woman some state of psychosis or mental defect. What most fail to understand is that even if the report of abnormal neurological development due to lead poisoning is true, it does not automatically mean that she did not possess complete control over her mental faculties.
I have viewed a number of videos in which this young lady spoke and shared, and to me, she appears to have the capacity to reason. While her views may not align with others, I believe she understood what she was saying and what she was willing to do. For instance, one video offered her reciting the following poem.
“They know of our greatness. I’m just trying to taste it, while others try to waste it. And the White man is trying to trace it. But even in trying to find what is truly beyond divine, they could never go back far enough. We’re way beyond their time. Therefore, in the meantime, they hunt the kings and queens with crime. Used to hang us up with strings to trees and other things. Now they tote guns with beams and wrist rings, same old ankle chains, still beating us the same. Ain’t nothing changed. Except now they’re trying to survive, can’t find any use for us alive, not knowing we can’t die.”
Not only does this poem reveal that she has the ability to reason and sustain lucid thoughts, it also reveals that she has a certain level of self-consciousness — meaning that she is keenly cognizant of who she is and how she is being treated.
What most of the people who are attacking her will likely not be willing to admit is that a significant part of their response to her death is conditioned by years of being indoctrinated to stay in line. While they are willing to complain, the very idea of resistance, especially to the point of death, is considered crazy. They are not even willing to be fired, much less killed. What I am learning is that the diametric positions of two races, and the determination between each to survive, has created a reality in which the term “crazy” has become a relevant one.
If I were offered the latitude to speak on behalf of this young lady, I would suggest that her awareness of herself demanded that she demand a better status. I would argue that her knowledge of her history demanded that her inherent aristocracy be respected by those who genetically descended from her lineage. Perhaps she had reached a point in which death was preferred over simply surviving.
It is possible that she believed that her death would ignite the indignation of the Black man — forcing him to rise up in order to avenge her, and maybe, just maybe, she believed her death would unite a divided people. Whatever her reasoning for taking that fatal stand, Black men have not shown the same enthusiasm for resisting the system.
When I think about the keyboard, Black male revolutionaries of today, I am reminded of my favorite 2-Pac line: “Niggas love to scream “peace” after they start some shit.” We have a bunch of Black men who will rant all day against the injustices experienced by African Americans, until it is time to back up their rhetoric, and then they start talking about compliance and obeying the law.
The problem is that no group has ever won their freedom through compliance and acquiescence to the system that is oppressing them. Revolutions are not pretty. In fact, they are downright ugly. The truth, as I see it, is that Korryn Gaines had the intestinal fortitude that far too many of our men lack. She was definitely about that life. She showed a bunch of you cowardly Black men how to walk the walk with a greater ferocity than you talk it.
To the Black cowards who have chosen to deride her, rather than mourn her, shame on you. As far as I am concerned, your act of cowardice is deserving of death due to treason.
Let me be lucidly clear here; if we, as a race, are ever going to rise up and live at the level of our potential, we are going to have to be willing to take a stand — defending our women, children and communities at all cost. I really wish we had enough men to stand up, so that our women would not have to.
…and I don’t even want to speak about the coward that pledged his allegiance to her, swearing that he would never leave her side, and then dives out of a window leaving her to die alone. Coward. Her name is Korryn Gaines; say it!
My brothers and sisters, we are at a pivotal point in our struggle to obtain freedom and power. Be assured that the struggle will intensify and many of us will be forced to choose death as we stand or life as we kneel. What will you choose? ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D.
Join us this Monday and Thursday at noon CST on The Black Voice, as we address the killing of Korryn Gaines, Police Corruption, whether good cops actually exist and more.