Young Black American Asks For Political Asylum in Mexico

It seems to me that we don’t lynch black folks anymore. We just let people, both in and out of uniform, shoot them without consequence. The result is the same. Terror. Mind your place. Behave yourself. Remember that your life is not equal to that of white folks. The randomness of being pulled over for driving while black (DWB) and then shot, or walking to your dad’s house while black and then shot by a self-proclaimed vigilante is akin to the randomness of the lynchings in days gone by. Only today’s terror take place in all 50 states.

Here’s my suggestion. I don’t want to see minorities emigrate. I want to see America full of every imaginable race living and working side by side as one. That said, some people of color are going to leave the United States for any number of reasons. Marriage to a foreigner, a new job, a spirit of adventure, just for example. So here’s my two cents: if you’re a person of color and you’re planning to emigrate out of the United States, when you’re asked why you want to leave for Brazil, The UK, Iceland or wherever, I humbly suggest that you ask for Political Asylum.

Political Asylum to leave America. It’s a radical idea for a radical time. If you’re a person of color here in the United States, you’re 30% more likely to be pulled over by police than if you’re white. A recent study stated that if you’re black and unarmed, you’re 350% more likely to be shot. That’s insane. And in my mind, at least, it’s cause to ask for asylum in another country.

It’s worth pointing out that as a 14-year-old New Yorker, I had a summer job with the 17th Precinct in Manhattan where I was a clerical aide and reported to the dedicated Officer Peter Toulou (sp?). That was the Summer of Sam, the 1976 Blackout, bombings by the FALN and more. I saw our police in action and doing remarkable work.

Of many memories, I recall seeing an officer sobbing into his hands. I typed up the after action report. He had interrupted a robbery at a pharmacy. When confronted, the thief began to pull an automatic weapon out of a plastic bag. The officer reacted quickly, shot and killed the would-be robber. But then the thief’s gun turned out to be a plastic toy and officer I saw was devastated that he had killed a man over a toy gun.

I know from personal experience that most police officers are good men and women doing an admirable and sometimes dangerous job. That said, we’ve seen enough video from Rodney King through today to know that this isn’t true of everyone wearing a uniform.

So like asking true patriotic Democrats and Republicans to step back from their respective parties just long enough to put their country first, we need to ask all the honest and valiant law enforcement officials to step up and put their country before solidarity to their badge. Can we please, finally, have an honest discussion about race, especially as it relates to law enforcement?

Of note, it appears that in order to be acquitted of shooting and killing a person of color, the catch phrase that will exonerate you is some form of, “I was afraid for my life.” That’s it. The facts are irrelevant. The murder victim’s upstanding status as a law-abiding citizen, video evidence, even witnesses, are all irrelevant if the shooter, cop or not, claims to have been afraid for his or her life. That catch phrase is a get out of jail free card that can — apparently — never be challenged in court. Who’s to say what you were or weren’t feeling at the time that you shot dead the unarmed black man with his hands in the air? That said, I’m not sure why it matters what you were thinking when you shot and killed an unarmed human being. I didn’t know that my feelings were a suitable defense in court. I did take the loaf of bread without paying for it Your Honor, but I felt hungry. I’ll have to remember that if it ever comes up.

Until the day comes when DWB is not a potentially lethal endeavor in these United States, I anxiously await the first person of color to ask for political asylum in a foreign country, say Canada or even Mexico for example. And, once granted, maybe we’ll finally take that overdue national look in the mirror.