What does justice look like in America today? If you ask the countless people of color (POC) who have lost loved ones at the hands of law enforcement’s racial profiling, they’d probably tell you a poor excuse at justifying the misconduct that continues to take their lives.
This week, Cleveland officials agreed to pay the family of Tamir Rice $6 million for his wrongful death. Rice, who was 12-years-old at the time of his murder, is the youngest of the many black victims who have died at the hands of cops on the streets of this country. While we all dream of the million dollar “come up,” no one wants the reason for their newfound fortune to be the result of their child dying. No amount of money can ever replace a life.
That leads me to the monetary settlement offered to Rice’s family in this case. The thing about this situation that bothers me is that under the terms of the agreement, Cleveland is allowed to admit to NO wrongdoing. They claim that no one is at fault, and it was just an unfortunate accident. The Rice family also has to drop their complaint against the two officers responsible for Tamir’s death. Um, hello? Does anyone else realize what that means? They essentially said if you agree and accept the lie that our officers did nothing wrong and that it’s not our fault that your son is dead, then we will give you $6 million. What a position in which to put a grieving family.
What is it? Do certain members of white America think that throwing money our way makes everything okay? How can it be that an agreement like this happened because come on, the “shoot first, ask questions later” narrative that exists is destroying black lives. Frankly, yes, Cleveland should pay the Rice family for their pain and suffering, but $6 million is not enough. How the hell are Erin Andrews and Hulk Hogan getting $50 million plus settlements in their lawsuits over just hurt feelings, and black families having to live on without their loved ones can’t break $10 million?
The rate at which black lives continue to end because of trigger-happy cops is appalling. We are regarded as dangerous and ghetto and “not worth it.” Just recently Florida cops ultimately decided not to save three black girls who stole a car and subsequently drowned when they crashed into a lake. Is that normal protocol, to watch a car sink and give commentary as it slowly disappears? No, they did not save them because, ya know, the girls stole the car. They are already a menace to society, so their lives don’t matter. That is really the part of the conversation that needs to be addressed. People in positions meant to protect and serve are picking and choosing whom to handle with care based on their preconceived notions. Black people never get the benefit of the doubt.
We are receiving the short end of the stick people. If a white woman can get over $50 million because a peeping Tom violated her right to privacy, how much more is a life lost worth? We need to go back to the drawing board. If our sons, daughters and fathers are killed, we cannot let the folks responsible get off with a few measly dollars. White people are out here getting more for situations with way less traumatic and life changing repercussions.
What? Do they think that we are so desperate that any amount will do when they systematically take our lives? Like giving us money will always satisfy us or is enough to rectify the continual public murdering of our babies? No, justice to us looks the same as it does for non-people of color. What the hell kind of country do we live in where a few million dollars can smooth over the taking of innocent black lives? That’s a travesty.
It is an insult and more that that, it’s another way in which POC are exploited. I mean hell, you already took my baby boy’s life now you low ball me with hush money? The sad thing is that most families who experience a loss in these types of situations probably don’t realize that the money they are offered doesn’t suffice for pain and suffering. You see the people offering the cash knows that $6 million is more than likely the most these families will ever see. And that is a whole other level of wrongdoing.
Welcome to America, where exploitation is the way the truth and the taker of life.