Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, Howard University
In 1903 W.E.B. DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line, --the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.” In 1968 the Kerner Commission determined "Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—-separate and unequal."
In 21st Century so-called “post racial” America the problem is still race. African American’s like Derryl Jenkins are still being brutalized by the police in north Minneapolis, MN; shot in the back of the head while handcuffed like Oscar Grant in Oakland, CA; and mistaken for perpetrators and killed by fellow officers like Officer Omar Edwards in New York City.
Many questions still need to be answered about these latest tragedies. What leads these officers to perceive people of color as a threat? Why do the police feel the need to use excessive force first and ask questions later? This takes me to the continual discussion about racism (white supremacy), its perceptions, and emotional responses that people of color deal with all too often.