In white folks do the darndest things news, Zackary Craft, a police officer from St. Joseph, a suburb of Kansas City, is in hot water for appearing in a music video wearing his work uniform, doting a sign that said “Cops Lives Matter” and reaching for his gun a few times.
CBS reported that the St. Joseph police department put Craft on temporary unpaid leave for appearing in the “Before This Bomb Blows Up (Racism Goes Both Ways)” video, performed by local white rapper Josh Smith, aka J Smitty. The recording shows Smith yapping off at the gums about how racism isn’t one-sided, while he spits on a picture of Rev. Al Sharpton and “breaks pictures of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, President Obama and hooded KKK members.” And then he burns those images, holding cards that say “right is right” and “wrong is wrong.”
Police spokesman Capt. Jeff Wilson went on record to say that in no way does the department, “condone the video in its entirety.” Meanwhile, Morgan Roach, Craft’s lawyer, claims that while Craft knew he was being taped, he did so “without knowing the words, content, or context.” Roach also claims that his client was “appalled” when he saw the video, CBS noted.
Smith confirms Craft’s account of the incident, saying that his “good friend” only knew the video was going show police in a good light, but didn’t know anything about the severity of the lyrics and images. “I feel really bad for [Craft]…I hope this all ends well for him and that he is able to keep his job and move on,” Smith said.
If you’re shaking your head right now, trust, you’re probably not alone.
Why would a police officer, knowing the racial tensions in his state given the high profile killing of Mike Brown and the demonstrations in Ferguson, jeopardize his coin by not asking questions about the lyrics or accompanying imagery in a video he was asked to be in?
Also, when are are folks going to get that saying “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean that Black and Brown lives are more important than anyone else’s. We just want to know why our lives are not as important as theirs? Why is it OK for police officers to kill unarmed people of color, using none of the de-escalation techniques taught in the academy, meanwhile Dylann Roof can kill a church full of Black people and he walks out alive? He gets Burger King while in custody, but Freddie Gray gets a broken spine.
And most important, when are folks going to stop talking about “racism going both ways?” Like “reverse racism” is an actual thing. It’s really not.
Racism is only about power. Power inflicted by the dominant structure onto those more vulnerable in society as a means to maintain that authority and dominance. Now, not saying that people of color cannot be prejudiced, because we can. Hate is hate, but the consequences of that hate are vastly different depending on who is the one doing the hating.
Translation: In general, when Black people don’t like white people, white people’s feelings get hurt or they get embarrassed. When white people don’t like Black folks, we don’t get loans, hired for jobs, accepted into college, offered an apartment, get a raise, etc. Not sure how “racism goes both ways” when the end result is a damaged personal ego vs. creating systematic and institutionalized barriers to keep people down.
Just something I wish the J Smittys and the Zackary Crafts of the world would think about before getting up and acting a plum fool.