Another Black Man Shot by Police in Philadelphia, October 2020

Protesters scuffle with police officers at 52nd and Market on the second day of protests after the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. Wallace was shot and killed by police officers at the 6100 block of Locust Street in West Philadelphia on Monday, Oct. 26. HEATHER KHALIFA / Philadelphia Inquirer
Protesters scuffle with police officers at 52nd and Market on the second day of protests after the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. Wallace was shot and killed by police officers at the 6100 block of Locust Street in West Philadelphia on Monday, Oct. 26. HEATHER KHALIFA / Philadelphia Inquirer

by Hayat Imam

I join all my friends in the fury and outrage we feel at the killing of yet another Black man at the hands of the police. I come to two conclusions, both pointing to conditions that are unacceptable and must be challenged.

The first is that the police are badly trained, inept and cowardly. Two police facing a man with a knife CANNOT end in the killing of the person. After the outpouring of anger and protests in past months over deadly exchanges with civilians, largely Black people, shouldn’t Police have learned something? Hasn’t every chief of police read the riot act to their personnel, reminded them the protectors of people must not turn on them as their worst enemy? I am remembering that in most States, the biggest portion of the budget goes to law enforcement. Where and how is that being used? There’s no sign that any of it is going towards training law enforcers in de-escalation, and dealing with their own racism.

The second scenario, a terrifying one, shows that the killings of Black people are done deliberately and carelessly by police because Black lives really don’t matter to them. The police act with the direction and the backing of the authorities. In every way possible, the, mostly White, superstructure has shown that they care nothing about the suffering of Black people. This Racism is endemic and it can spell death.

From an immigrant perspective, I recognize this uniquely White dehumanizing and devaluing of non-White lives. As soon as I landed in the US, 50 plus years ago, I heard apologists for the Vietnam war stating that Vietnamese people didn’t feel pain the same way we did, that Vietnamese parents didn’t love their children with the same intensity that we did (“we” being we white people). Beyond our borders too, the US extinguishes Black and Brown bodies with the coldest casualness, through war, bombings, sanctions, nuclear threat, drone attacks, arms sales, support for leaders willing to toe the line drawn by the US – all this in the name of global control of economic and financial power. If we are all to survive, we must directly confront this lethal tendency towards supremacy and arrogance in the US.