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Berdine Dennard Berdine's Corner
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Kenney Dennard Publisher
'You Aint Gonna Do Nothing
But Make a Speech'
berdine dennard
Kenney Dennard

One of my all time favorite movies is Spike Lee's Malcolm X. Although I have a few favorite lines and scenes from the movie, one of my favorite parts comes midway through the movie. The police had nearly beaten an African American man to death and word was sent to Malcolm of what had just happened. When Malcolm arrived to the scene a crowd of people franticly explain to him what happened.

After explaining the way the man was beaten, one by stander exclaimed, "So what you gonna do? He'll rap a little. He's a Muslim. But you aint gonna do nothing but make a speech!"

This past week I've been steaming hot, as were a lot of other black people, after seeing what our justice system did to Troy Davis. But the very next day, I noticed that there wasn't much dialogue about the situation. A few days later, it was as if it never happened. That made me even madder.

It seems that this generation has a higher tolerance for nonsense in all forms. What happened in September with Troy Davis is unacceptable. Seven of the ten eyewitnesses that testified against him recanted their testimonies. This gave reasonable doubt. Yet, The state of Georgia and the Supreme Court refused to stop the process of his execution.

During Davis's final hours many protested outside the prison in Jackson Ga where he was to be executed. He had the support of ex President Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, The Pope and many other high profile individuals. Hundreds of protestors also gathered outside the Whitehouse while millions watched on TV, hoping that his life would be spared. It was not.

The very next day for the most part, for most, it was business as usual. There were a few write-ups in newspapers. A few of our so-called black leaders spoke on the issue. Pastors across the nation addressed the issue in our churches. But the following week little to nothing was said about Troy Davis outside his family and community.

The reason our people are so quickly hoodwinked and bamboozled as Malcolm said in my favorite movie is we allow others to pick on us. We have no line of defense. We're not like blacks in the 60's who had formed the Black Panther Party and who had valiant leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X that the world knew wasn't going to take anything lying down. This generation seems to take everything lying down. We're too concerned about us and no one wants to get too involved with anything else unless it concerns our immediate family or us. We'll rap a little. But then we're done with it. Until the next big thing.

In the same way blacks were lynched in the early 1900's in this country, Troy Davis was executed. It's just an updated version of a lynching. What made me even more upset was that reporters are sent in to witness and report on his last few seconds. They actually sit there and watch how many breaths he took and how many seconds he lasted after the lethal injection. They then actually took time on news programs such as CNN to let these white reporters come on live TV and say things like, "He was injected at 9:58 and he took 5 long breaths and then he was gone." Who needs to know that information? Is that not like rubbing it in to his family and his community that we just killed your son/friend.

I see it in the same way as I see the whites gathered around a hanging black man from a tree with smiles on their faces. There would be a whole community of whites gathered around to watch a young black man get executed and most of the time for a crime they did not commit.

I think we should really be mad. You're not going to do anything until you first get mad. We should all be angry, although many of us are not. Then we should all take steps to correct this problem starting with getting people in offices that are going to do something about stopping the death penalty. We need to mentor our youth so they will stop putting themselves in bad situations. Most importantly, we need to have more fight in us than bark. Our justice system is flawed. Next time it can be you or your family member. We are all Troy Davis.,


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