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What Would Justice for Sandra Bland Actually Look Like?


What Would Justice for Sandra Bland Actually Look Like?

Sonali Kolhatkar

Geneva Reed-Veal has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia for the arrest of her daughter, Sandra Bland, in Harris County. Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days after her July 10th arrest.


"A new survey of policing in the U.S. found that great disparities continue to exist between black and white perceptions. African-Americans are “nearly four times as likely as whites to describe violence against civilians by police officers as an extremely or very serious problem.” In contrast, “[t]wo-thirds of whites label police use of deadly force as necessary and nearly 6 in 10 say race is not a factor in decisions to use force.”

First, I’d like to know WHERE the survey was taken. I would expect this level of response in the Deep South. I often feel like Dianne Fossey viewing some of the locals as lower-level pack animals. Having heard their conversations and observed the typical thought process, I would say that the following contribute to it:

  1. Media’s emphasis on sports and this idea that only tough guys are winners… and everyone else a loser (Losers thus “deserve” what they get.)
  2. The Bible’s (particularly its Old Testament) focus on punishment… as if punitive response is “what God does.”
  3. The media messaging that dresses up Calvinism by always blaming those on the receiving end of violence & abuse FOR that aggression
  4. An overarching lack of empathy that is largely the product of items 1-3

People who do not want to examine their own inborn privileges justify the wrongs done to others.

After the sickening murders of Black citizens and the rousing of the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve seen too many Confederate flags drawn up flagpoles in my area.

This Ku Klux Klan level of White Supremacy is really the ultimate mark of insecurity. We see the same psychological response emerge in nations that feel humiliated from war and/or the logistics of impoverishment. The “fight back” reflex favors right wing groups; and these groups ALWAYS fix their membership on the idea of WHO is excluded. That means a scapegoat group must be featured.

With the economy across much of the Western world pillaged and plundered by the Shock Doctrine entrepreneurs and their bank hustler Hedge Fund collaborators, there is massive anger brewing. That anger is in search of a target.

Robert Koehler made a good point about facing the shadow (of guilt for past war actions) in order to expiate it. I have seen that here in the South that action is precisely what is avoided at all costs. And that is why in the place of that fearless moral inventory–one that would free communities from racism and the HABIT for war–a continued assertion that the scapegoat community “had it coming,” or “deserves it” is promulgated. It is used to displace guilt! Any possibility for reflection is drowned out by alcohol. Alcoholism is grossly under-reported in this “land of the free.”

P.S. I think Ms. Kolhatkar is a terrific journalist and I hope C.D. will continue to feature her incisive articles & essays.