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July 03, 2004

Stanley Miller: Not Worth It

I'm irate this evening, and there are a number of reasons all having to do with this idiot GTA suspect and the cop(s) who brained him with a maglite.

The first reason is that I got a notice this afternoon that Ofari & company are going to discuss Bratton's fitness as Chief of Police. This is not a discussion that was a long time coming, this has everything to do with the idiot suspect, the zealous cop, and a six letter word that starts with the letter 'n'.

The second reason is the column in today's LAT by a cat named Steve Lopez, who begins with this farcical attitude:

Just to make sure all the bases are covered, I've decided to form yet another commission to look into the televised June 23 beating of a suspected car thief by Los Angeles Police Department cops.

Lopez goes on to makes sure we all know there are no shortage of blackfolks who don't care when white idiot GTA suspects are shot by cops, or think he should go 'back' to Mexico. And of course he makes sure that he mentions Al Sharpton and OJ Simpson, just in case anybody forgot about their relevance here.

The third thing that has me irate is that I have an eye appointment tomorrow morning and I cannot show up to Lucy Florence and express my outrage that any grown folks are making a stink about this non-issue. That's right I said it. NON-ISSUE. If you disagree, the comment facility on this website will accomodate several hundred megabytes. Type on.

But let me get to the meat of my point here. The beatdown and arrest of suspect Stanley Miller was not a politically motivated attack, so why should there be a massively calculated political response? To be blunt about it, it is a complete waste of political capital for any prominent blackfolks to weigh in significantly on the direct results or consequences of this particular police action. The reasons for this are several, but let me belabor the point.

If Danny Bakewell wishes to expend his energy and credibility playing Gallagher, that's his business. Let's try to remember something. I loved shopping at the new supermarket he built off Orange Grove in the Pasadena 'hood, but nobody elected him to anything. I'm not taking any cues from him, nor is anyone else I know. So why does it matter when he shows up to smash some melons for the reporters? It matters because he gets to be the 'so-called black leader' that snarks like Lopez write about. His role is already pre-determined by all the lazy people in Los Angeles who are unwilling and/or unable to deal with any level of subtlety when it comes to black politics.

Until such time as people like you and I (and there are plenty of us) get our fair share of air, everyone in Los Angeles suffers from this kind of dumbed down politics. I talked about the dynamic of black rage years ago. It's a trap. Here are some relevant excerpts. First from 1996

there is a vested interest in american politics to use black rage. white political majorities are particularly attuned to black rage, whether that is constructive or raw rage. in short, black rage is a legitimated form of political protest. a lot of blacks recognize this and make use of it. if i sit here in this forum and complain that black folks get harrassed unnecesarily by the same police that should be protecting them, that does not carry the same weight in american society as the artist ice cube writing the rap 'fuck the police' and having 17 year olds pump the beat in the car next to you with an evil stare on their face.

And importantly: (from 1999)

the result is that this gives more credibility to radicals who consistently *address* the issue, even if they have no solutions and no chance of attaining the power to implement any solutions. this is a classic case of whitefolks making themselves whiter than they need to be. in the end, the intransigent status quo remains in force, and blacks must resort to higher and higher pitched volumes to get america to wake up.

it is at this point where mau-mauing becomes more effective than ordinary franchise. but the mau-mauing does not take place in a vaccuum - the underlying tragedy continues. then whites excuse their unwillingness to listen from the tenor of the discussion. blacks excuse their hyperbole from white sangfroid. then somebody gets killed. suddenly whites realize there is some reality to the claim, but they can't figure out what black rhetoric is real - they blame the process. blacks say i told you so, but they can't figure out what white sympathy is real - they blame the process. blue ribbon bandaids are put in place, to keep 'the natives from getting restless', the issue gets incredible press, and then it goes away. the process is still broken

But here we have a not-so innocent man who is not seriously injured getting all this attention. This wasn't a shooting, and as far as I can tell, the suspect wasn't even hospitalized overnight. So if we are still playing the game of unelected 'black leaders' carrying weight and blue ribbon commissions and federal investigations, then please take the names of everyone in that charade so we can remember their foolishness come election day.

Los Angeles can not afford to let idiocy rule the day. That means sensible people like you and I have to start speaking up loudly and drown out the idiots scraping the bottom of the political barrell for cosmic symbolism. Miller is not worth it. Let's have some perspective here. Stanley Miller is no Geronimo Pratt. The controversy surrounding this matter is way overblown and there is no way that I can accept Bratton's credibility lying on such a thin case as this.

If there is any symbol that works here, it is Miller's theft itself. So called black leaders have stolen the car of respectable sensible black Angelenos' political voice, and now all the television cameras are on them instead of the people. When due process plays out and they are shown to be guilty of that theft and misdirection they should be taken out of the public eye. Meanwhile, we have no car. Who's thinking about us?

Posted by mbowen at July 3, 2004 12:22 AM

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