Five days ago in economically distressed Rockford, Illinois, a 23-year old Black man named Mark Anthony Barmore was shot to death in a church-run daycare filled with children, as reported by the Associated Press.
Witness claim Barmore who tried to evade police, emerged to surrender from a closet in the church, but police officers shot him anyway.
Though this case is unfolding, and all the facts are not known at this time, the refrain in Black America and beyond is, "Would this have likely happened to a white person?"
Increasingly, Afro-Netizen has noticed clear acknowledgment of racism from white people about other white people's motivations -- even within mainstream media. This new, seemingly unprecedented phenomenon is a good and important trend that is not nearly as comprehensive or rigorous as it should be. However, the extent to which race and racism can be brought up appropriately at the urging of white allies may influence America's tolerance for having such meaningful public discussions that have rarely occurred heretofore.
Meanwhile, the national NAACP is calling for federal legislation to address and curtail future acts of police brutality.Barmore's funeral, a tragic fatality amidst an era that many optimists and delusional voters had quizzically embraced as post-racial with the ascent of Barack Obama to the Oval Office.
Post-racial in this context suggests that "getting beyond race" is the task and ultimate goal. For progressive-minded Americans, however, the goal is in acknowledging that race and racism are all too real social constructions that will endure until we embrace racial justice as a core component of the fight for universal human rights.
Rockford activists and concerned residents understand this in a blighted city north of Chicago with rampant unemployment, crime and urban blight.
They know these ills are all related, and that these socio-economic disparities highly correlate to race in ways that America's first Black president will not (and perhaps cannot politically) affirm, unlike his elderly, white Southern predecessor, former president Jimmy Carter, leveraging the white privilege he has towards shedding light on the truth too powerful for a sitting president in this day and age to co-sign -- irrespective of his race or political party.
Whatever level of culpability the two white Rockford police officers and the deceased Barmore had for what quickly escalated to a man's death -- as witnessed in a church by young children -- this much is true: a crime took place on that fateful day that is as political and resonant as the election of a Black president.
The questions remain in the aftermath of such symptomatic violence: Do we know what's on the referendum? When and where we must vote, and how to cast our ballots?