Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “A Rush to Justice”

May 31, 2020

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“What I want to see is not a rush to judgment, but a rush to justice.” — Kareem Abdul Jabbar

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge

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Excerpts from two letters to friends:

“I am, of course, utterly dismayed by the death of George Floyd, and as I said in my blog entry do see it as another flare-up of white male supremacy feeling anxious at the loss of its symbolic power. The possibility that Trump might be forced to vacate the White House represents a diminishment of their stature that they find intolerable, and hence they believe they must make the African-American body submit to being garroted. The fact that another white man would replace Trump is not sufficient salve for the fragile self-esteem of these white males. The President must be someone who unabashedly regards the patriarchy as belonging entirely to the value structures of whiteness, and so this public execution of Floyd is meant to send a signal to black voters: think twice. This is what we would like to do to all of you.”

It falls on all of us who oppose the genocidal death threat lurking beneath the surface of American “democracy” to speak out now, and demand along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “a rush to justice.”

*****

“I fear that this all too familiar grim event in America that will only deepen the birthmark stain of racial oppression; I fear that a program of systematic redemption will not come to pass in my lifetime, and that this nation will only plunge into yet more egregious turmoil. On a different scale than the riots after the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles, Minneapolis is now undergoing its own “Twilight.” If you haven’t read that play by Anna Deveare Smith, then start reading it tonight.”

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Imagine this:

It is late at night in Weshington, D.C., and the President cannot sleep. He is so tired that he has stopped posting on Twitter. Into the Oval Office walks Little Richard, as palpable and jaunty as he was at the age of 25. “Mr. President, you look like you could use a little down time. How about some music?” And at the snap of Little Richard’s fingers, a grand piano replaces the President’s desk.

“Wait a minute! Wait a minute!” says Trump. “You’re going to play for me? What a photo op! That’ll show African-Americans whose side I am on!” As Trump’s personal photographer enters the room with a videocamera, Little Richard launches into the opening chords:

Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Wham-bam-a-neck-press-a-knee-stays-down

I know a Prez named Trump; his twitter’s like a pump
I know a Prez named Trump; his twitter’s like a pump
“Protestors are just greedy thugs —
They should be squashed like slimy bugs”

Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shoote
Wham-bam-a-neck-press-a-knee-stays-down

I know a dunce named Pence; who often takes offense
I know a churl named Pence, who often takes offense
When football players take a knee
And call for solidarity

Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Tutti Frutti lootee-shootee
Wham-bam-a-damn-mess-a-knee-stays-down

(I wish to acknowledge the NFL player Eric Reid as the person who first publicly called out Pence on his hypocrisy regarding peaceful protest:

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/eric-reid-mike-pence-protest-tweets-nfl/qntol6b34h1p12sf70ntaemxy