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marvin-gaye.jpgIn the late 1970s, R&B singer Marvin Gaye recorded the song, “What’s going on?”  With “What’s Going On”, Gaye meditated on what had happened to the American dream of the past — as it related to urban decay, environmental woes, military turbulence, police brutality, unemployment, and poverty.   (For more see www.xs4all.nl/~fsgroen/Albums-G/MarvinGayeWhatsGoinOn.htm). 

Gaye’s reflection on police brutality is still a reality with many African American males.  I think of Rodney King.  I remember one man (who was commenting on an article I wrote on hip hop) said essentially that King deserved this savage beating because of his past track record.  I think of two young men of a very prominent former St. Louis Cardinal baseball player who are constantly pulled over by police in Town & Country (Missouri) where they live with their mother.  (Could it be because Town & Country is a very affluent area?) I think of my godson who is a freshman at one of the premiere engineering schools in the United States – Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  My godson – one of the finest young men you would ever meet – went to New York City alone at night.   I know that my godson is fallen and broken however he was stopped not one time but three times because police thought he was someone who fit the description of a criminal (except my godson was wearing red; the offender was wearing black).  All three times he was told to spread them and searched with a bright search light illuminated on him.  This bizarre shooting in New York City of Bell and two of his friends has again prompted me to ask, “What’s going on?”  According to USA Today (November 27), police thought the men had guns; but investigators found none.  What’s going on?  Incidents like this just fuel my anger and cynicism.  Incidents like this make me want to scream from my housetop, “Injustice!”

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One Comment

  1. i agree with your sentiment and your question. however, i think it’s important to point out that there were five officers involved in the shooting you mentioned and they weren’t all white. i’ve only heard bits of the story since i’m not in the country but from what i’ve heard this is a case of police brutality but not one that was racially motivated. like i said though, i haven’t heard the whole story.


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