When the “Rule of Law” is Unjust by John Michael Lee, Jr., PhD

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I have been thinking a lot about the events in Ferguson and the Grand Jury’s decision to not bring back an indictment against Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown. The same decision not to indict Darren Wilson has been made over and over again by grand juries across the nation; thus, I was not surprised by it. However, as an African-American male, I am afraid. Although I have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Florida A&M University, a MPA from Georgia State University and a PhD in higher education administration from New York University, I still fear for my Black life at every encounter with the police. I was stopped by the police as I drove from Miami to Atlanta on yesterday, and all I could think in my head was “Lord please let me live through this experience.” I didn’t know whether to reach for my wallet, registration and insurance or not. I was paralyzed by fear.

I believe that the repetitive decision by juries who let guilty cops off the hook has made it “open season” for cops and others to kill us under the seemingly accepted notion that all African-American males can and should be considered threats that allow White Americans to claim to “fear for their lives” and “have no choice” but to kill us. Yet, I also recall something called Berek’s Code that I read in Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Illearth War. The Code states: “Do no hurt where holding is enough; do not wound where hurting is enough; do not maim where wounding is enough; and kill not where maiming is enough; the greatest warrior is he who does not need to kill.” In most cases where unarmed African-American males have been shot to death, they could have been tasered to submission, or beaten with bully clubs. Especially with no imminent threat to the lives of the officers outside of the notion- in their head- that all unarmed African-American males are imminent threats to cops with guns, tasers and other weapons. While I understand cops using force when faced with an imminent threat, an unarmed Mike Brown was not one of those threats.

I then think about the notion that President Barack Obama posited that the Ferguson jury’s decision carries “the rule of law” and people must accept it. However, the prongs of history come into my head, and I think of the “rule of law” that existed in Germany under Hitler that allowed for the deaths of millions of Jews. I then think about the “rule of law” in the Europe, which allowed for the mass enslavement and colonization of people around the world that included millions of African slaves who died in transit. Then I think about the ”rule of law” in the United States in the early part of the 19th Century that allowed white Americans to lynch African-Americans without fear of consequences.

I think about the “rule of law” in Iraq that allowed Sadaam Hussein to Kill thousands of his own people, and I think about the rule of law in Libya that allowed Muammar Gaddafi to commit mass murders.  If this were happening in North Korea, China, Iran, Iraq, Sadia Arabia and other countries around the world, Americans would call the systematic killing and mass imprisonment of a particular ethnic group of people as a the genocide and mass murder of people and Americans would call for these human rights issue to be addressed.  However, when we speak about the nation-wide murders of African-American males by cops, the mass imprisonment of African-American males in America and the mass economic enslavement of African-Americans in the United States, we call it the “rule of law.” The “rule of law” was not accepted in Apartheid South Africa, in “Separate but Equal” America or Holocaust Nazi Germany.  I submit that it is not acceptable today in the United States.

The world remains silent while America continues to use the unjust “rule of law” in a Nazi like fashion toward the detriment of its African-American people.  Where is the condemnation by the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, China and Russia?  Where are the countries of the world in the defense of the African-American people?  The irony in all of this is that we have an African-American president in the White House. A President who has consistently refused to address the issues of the same African-American people who came out to vote for him in historic numbers with the hope that he would in some way make life better for the people that look like him.

While President Obama has openly and unapologetically addressed women’s issues, gay issues, Jewish Issues, Hispanic Issues and immigration issues, he has conveniently and purposefully avoided addressing any issues as it relates to African-Americans. More concerning, is that African-Americans continue to-even in the face of an increasingly negative reality for Black people in America- to defend the President despite his unwillingness to openly address our issues. We make excuses about Republican opposition or the political limitations of him being an African-American and openly addressing Black issues. I am sorry, but there are no excuses that should be acceptable to us.

I am, however, inspired by the protests that have been sparked in communities all across America by people (African-American, Hispanic, White, Asian and American Indian) who recognize the grave injustice that has been done and who are willing to stand up for what is right. They are standing up in ways in which most civil rights organizations, politicians and so-called African-American leaders are not. While most protests have been non-violent, there have been cases of rioting, looting and lawlessness among a minority of people.  However, I believe that even their extreme frustration and cries of protest are symbolic of where we are in America right now and are being heard across the world.

These protests are similar to the revolutions recently seen in Egypt and Hong Kong by oppressed people.  This movement will not stop until the “rule of law” in our great nation protects the oppressed as well as the oppressor. Make no mistake; we cannot stand idly by while our innocent sons are murdered and then justified by unjust laws. This is a call to action for every American. In solidarity with all of my brothers and sisters, I will not be shopping during Black Friday through Cyber Monday. We must understand that there are two types of power in America, economic power and political power. The idea of boycotting ‪#‎BlackFriday is to show Political Power through a display of Economic Power that will make the nation take notice. I understand that we have become selfish, but change comes with sacrifice and action. Frederick Douglass told us a long time ago, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress! Power concedes nothing without a demand: it never has and it never will.” While I understand the deals are exceptional ($398 60 inch TV’s at Walmart, etc.), the innocent lives of African-American men are worth so much more (#BlackLivesMatter).  Some believe that this must be sustained over a longer period of time to have that impact, and I believe we can start tomorrow and continue until our goal is achieved. We must never forsake small beginning. While I understand personal gain, I ask that everyone to sacrifice on this Friday to show our discontent with our country.

The HBCU Nation Radio Show – This Week’s Lineup ( November 22nd Show )

November 22

WWW.TheHBCUNationRadioShow.com

This week on The HBCU Nation Radio Show…

  • Dr. Charlie Nelms, will share his piece, “Ebola: Reflections of a Black Father”.
  • Dr. Antonio Webb will discuss his book, “Overcoming the Odds”.
  • Ramon Goings will discuss his co-authored piece with Marybeth Gasman, Ph.D entitled, “Future of HBCUs May Rest on Adopting a Growth Mindset”.
  • Eddie Francis will discuss his piece, “Seven Tips for College Students to Use LinkedIn Effectively”.
  • Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad and Shaw Comprehensive Fund Development Services will share “The Wise Donor – Moving Beyond Emotion”.
  • Dr. Mark Sandilands will discuss the MCCI Marketplace and Healthcare Open Enrollment.
  • Kelly Fair will present The Freshman Memoirs featuring Tara Crawford and her piece entitled, “The Power of Prayer”.
  • Lady Sonya will present HBCU Queens featuring Miss Clark-Atlanta University, Chelsi N. Glascoe.

The HBCU Nation Radio Show airs Saturday mornings from 9AM-12 Noon EST on WRVS 89.9FM ECSU.  You can also LISTEN LIVE at http://www.ecsu.edu/wrvs/listen.cfm

We Are The HBCU Nation, Are You In?

The HBCU Nation Radio Show Presents its October 18th Lineup

October 18From Indiana| Dr. Charlie Nelms joins Anthony to discuss his latest blog via Huffington Post entitled, “Six Critical Strategies for Increasing HBCU Retention and Graduation Rates”. (Twitter @charlienelms ) http://www.CharlieNelms.com

From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to discuss this report entitled, “Ranking and Rewarding Access: An Alternative College Scorecard”, is Dr. Marybeth Gasman and Heather Collins. Dr. Gasman is the director of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions and a member of the report’s research team. Heather Collins is a co-author of the report and the assistant director of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania-Graduate School of Education.(Twitter @marybethgasman)(Twitter @CenterForMSIs)

Memphis, Tennessee | Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success: The 18 Things You Need to Know as a Fundraising Professional, Board Member or Volunteer”. Mel and Pearl, known for their love and strong support of HBCUs, will join a conversation with Anthony on their latest blog from www.FUNdraisingGoodTimes.com entitled, Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse Leads by Example. Mel and Pearl Shaw can be reached at (Twitter@SaadShaw | Facebook@SaadandShaw)

Prairie View, Texas | Nelson Bowman, III will discuss with Anthony his piece from MSIs UNPLUGGED , “Identify Your Institutional Niche, then Ask for Support”. Nelson Bowman III is the executive director of development at Prairie View A&M University and an Advisory Board member of Penn’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions. (Twitter @nelsonbowmanIII)

Dallas, Texas | Eddie Francis, Our “Go To Guy in all things PR & Marketing” Eddie and Anthony will discuss his blog, “10 Things to Think About Before Hazing”. Eddie is an award-winning mass communication professional whose career spans mass media, higher education, and career development. Eddie is an HBCU advocate, job recruiting consultant and author/presenter of the Black Greek Success Movement. http://www.eddiefrancis.com (Twitter@eddiefrancis)

Chicago, Illinois | Kelly Fair will share her “Mentoring Minutes: Freshman Memoirs entitled, ‘How to Pray Your Way To Success In College’ featuring Tara Crawford from Alabama A&M University. Twitter/Instagram @KFairTheMentor | www.kellyfairthementor.com |#HowardU @AAMU

Charlotte, North Carolina – Miss Johnson C. Smith University, SA’Keithia Hammond is our HBCU Queen of the Week! SA’Keithia is a Senior, double majoring in Business Marketing and Retail Management who aspires to become a entrepreneur in the cosmetology industry. Her ultimate goals are to fulfill her dreams as a successful entrepreneur and to create a non-profit organization that builds leadership and self esteem in young girls. Her platform during her reign is “The Three P’s, Preparation, Perseverance and Professionalism”. SA’Keithia and her Royal Court will prepare students for life beyond JCSU through perseverance and professionalism. www.JCSU.edu

www.TheHBCUNationRadioShow.com

Tune In Saturday morning, October18th, 2014 (9AM-12Noon EST) on WRVS 89.9FM Elizabeth City State University

Listen Live : http://www.ecsu.edu/wrvs/listen.cfm

The HBCU Nation Radio Show Presents the October 4th Lineup

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Indiana | Dr. Charlie Nelms joins Anthony to discuss his latest blog via @HBCU_Lifestyle entitled, “ Why I Still Love My Alma Mater 45 Years Later”. (Twitter @charlienelms ) http://www.CharlieNelms.com

Nashville, Tennessee | Crystal deGregory, Ph.D., founder of HBCUStory, joins us this week to discuss a very insightful piece that she wrote in HBCU Digest entitled, “HOMECOMING: A Missed Opportunity in Black College Philanthropy” www.hbcustory.wordpress.com | @HBCUStory

Atlanta, Georgia | Howard Clay, Jr. is the Publisher of BOSS Magazine (BE YOUR OWN SUCCESS STORY). BOSS Magazine is an educationally focused magazine for minority young adults. (Twitter @BOSS_Publishing , @BOSS_eMAG) http://www.boss-emag.com

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Dr. Caleph Wilson will join the broadcast in a conversation with Anthony about under-represented minorities in the S.T.E.M. disciplines, connecting with the community and the National Science and Technology News Service (NSTNS). Dr. Wilson is Staff Scientist in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute and the Department of Microbiology of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. #AlcornAlumni (Twitter @HeyDrWilson ) http://www.HeyDrWilson.com

Chicago, Illinois | Kelly Fair presents her latest “Mentoring Minutes: 7 Campus Safety Tips”. (Twitter and Instagram @kfairthementor ) http://www.kellyfairthementor.com

Dallas, Texas | Eddie Francis will discuss his video blog entitled, “Higher Ed Branding via the Workforce”. (Twitter @EddieFrancis ) http://www.eddiefrancis.com

Memphis, Tennessee | Mel and Pearl Shaw share insights from their book “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success: The 18 Things You Need to Know As a Fundraising Professional, Board Member or Volunteer”( Twitter @SaadShaw) http://www.FUNdraisingGoodTimes.com

www.TheHBCUNationRadioShow.com

Tune In Saturday morning, October 4th, 2014 (9AM-12Noon EST) on WRVS 89.9FM Elizabeth City State University  Listen Live :  http://www.ecsu.edu/wrvs/listen.cfm

The HBCU Nation Radio Show September 27th Lineup

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Marybeth Gasman, Ph.D and Felecia Commodore – Together, Dr. Gasman and Felecia Commodore will discuss with Anthony, their co-authored piece published in HBCU Lifestyle entitled, “Forward Thinking Presidents”. Dr. Gasman is a Professor of Higher Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Penn Center for MSIs and a staunch HBCU advocate.  Felecia Commodore is a PhD student in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. (Twitter@marybethgasman @FeleciaAlana)

Prairie View A&M University – Nelson Bowman, III., will discuss a very insightful piece published in HBCU Lifestyle entitled, “HBCU Alumni: Let’s Stop Being Reactive about Giving Back”. Nelson Bowman is the Executive Director of Development for Prairie View A&M University

Dallas, Texas – Eddie Francis, Our “Go To Guy in all things PR & Marketing” Eddie and Anthony will discuss his blog, “Why You Should Not Ride the Rep of Your New President | P.R. and Marketing in Higher Ed ”. Eddie is an award-winning mass communication professional whose career spans mass media, higher education, and career development. Eddie is an HBCU advocate, job recruiting consultant and author/presenter of the Black Greek Success Movement. (Twitter@eddiefrancis)

Elizabeth City, NC – Dr. Floyd L. Robinson will join Anthony in a discussion about the vision and the creation of WRVS 89.9FM and the W12BB-TV at Elizabeth City State University as The HBCU Nation Radio Show celebrates its one year anniversary on WRVS 89.9FM! Dr. Floyd L. Robinson, Professor Emeritus, who over three decades served as the director of the Marching Vikings, Chair of the Department of Music and Assistant to the Chancellor.

Memphis TN – Mel Shaw - Formally as Vice President of marketing for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Mel Shaw created and produced the Lou Rawls telethon which has raised more than $500 Million in annual gifts to date. He is nationally recognized for his work in creating and designing programs that combine marketing and fundraising — and increase revenue and alumni/volunteer engagement for HBCUs. Mel will discuss the first of a two-part series, “Four Benefits of a Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign “. (Twitter@SaadShaw)

Washington, D.C. – Lauren Victoria Burke, “Inside the Beltway” The HBCU Nation presents the “Inside The Beltway” segment with Lauren Victoria. Lauren and Anthony will discuss the latest news from Capitol Hill.  Lauren is the creator of @CrewOf42 and owner of WDCPIX. (Twitter @Crewof42)

Chicago, Illinois – Kelly Fair, Mentoring Minutes featuring “The Freshmen Memoirs” Kelly Fair will share her “Mentoring Minutes: Freshman Memoirs “Unplanned Pregnancies In College”. Twitter/Instagram @KFairTheMentor | www.kellyfairthementor.com |#HowardU

http://www.TheHBCUNationRadioShow.com

 **LISTEN LIVE : Saturday, September 27th, 2014 |  9AM-12Noon EST on WRVS 89.9FM ECSU  OR http://wrvs.ecsu.edu/live