By Lucius Gantt
This week’s column is about the topic of the day and perhaps the topic of the year.
It will be much longer than the usual columns because it will take some time to explain a situation that the columnists you love don’t quite understand, one that the sports commentators like Stephen Smith, and others, don’t really have a clue about, and a topic that Presidents, politicians, judges and other elected and appointed officials know very well about what has been going on and why the situation has been twisted and turned and is far from resolution.
I’m writing about the Black man’s, and Black woman’s, debt!
In February, 1975, I was asked to interview for the position of News and Public Affairs Director at WFSU-FM, a basically classical music station, to create and develop a Public Affairs department. I came down from Atlanta, interviewed and got the job.
I needed to employ a staff. When I hired some qualified, or trainable, members of the Black Student Union, SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and The Malcolm X Liberation Front, eyebrows began to raise.
When I started using songs like Fela Kuti’s “Zombie” and “Expensive Sheet” (sic) as back ground music on radio documentaries arms began to fold.
When I taught students how to do investigative reports on politics and business, that’s when my days began to be numbered.
I was fired from the radio station and filed a law suit which I won that resulted in my getting a job at the campus TV station.
After a couple of years there, I was fired for doing TV documentaries, such as stories on how Goodwill allegedly took money from disabled workers and about FSU buying a cow for a homecoming barbeque, that were unacceptable to financial contributors.
Another suit was filed and it was settled with a sum of money large enough for me to start All World Consultants and The Gantt Report newspaper and the rest is history.
When I protested my work situation, I had to own my decision. I had to suffer the consequences. I was told that I would “never” get another state government job again. I told people that I would never want another government job.
As time went on, that was not entirely true. I did want a job after an injury detailed my lobbying and advertising business but I never got one.
I had to own my job decisions and related protests and suits.
Anyway, this brings me to the Colin Kaepernick decision to take a knee during national anthems before NFL football games.
Kaepernick’s decision was for a just cause but just like me, he had to own his protest and all that followed it all the way up to today.
What’s happening now doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the flag, the national anthem or even about him getting a job in the National Football League.
It’s all about “the debt”!
Kaepernick, feels, or felt, African Americans are owed, so to speak, equal rights and justice.
Debt is owed but the equal rights and justice debt for law enforcement misconduct, brutality and judicial injustice will probably never be paid.
Ever since Africans were brought to America’s shores as slaves, Black people have been owed.
When someone does something for you, in most cases, you owe them something.
You get a house, you pay a mortgage, so to speak. You get electricity, you pay a utility bill. You get a car, you pay a car note.
You get caught up in the judicial system, arrested or whatever, when fines are paid, probation costs are paid or when you do specified time behind bars it is said that you have “paid your debt” to society.
Kaepernick, accused of causing a pro football problem, so to speak, cannot pay his “debt” to the NFL and the debt owed to Black Americans for injustices done to us as a people or as individual parents or families will probably never ever be paid.
Let me explain why.
Law enforcers are not going to stop beating you or shooting you because they know they can get away with it.
Law suits to address police misconduct or judicial injustice are usually addressed primarily to the government. Even if individual cops are sued, the governments will protect the cops and lead the fight to deny compensation, or payment of the “debt”.
If governments did the right thing and disciplined and fired cops that brutalize and shoot unarmed Black men, women and children, every Black family in America would get money because every Black family has a member that has been a victim of police misconduct or judicial injustice.
Every case is fought by government because if one person gets paid what they deserve, suits would be filed in every courtroom.
The politicians, judges and prosecutors that you elect know there are bad cops, they know victims are owed but if they paid every debt, governments would go bankrupt!
They know if any kind of reparations are paid for how Black people are and have been mistreated there wouldn’t be a solvent government in the United, now divided, States.
Down the line, after people move on to another, situation, the very bad cops are pushed off the force, asked to resign or retire or just let go but no debt is ever paid.
It’s not the police departments that can fix the situation of misconduct and injustice, it’s the government, it is the Commissioners, the Councilmen, the Legislators, the Congress and the President.
They are the people that can budget money to pay the “debt”.
They won’t pay because government attorneys tell them, “Let me hire some of my friends” and give them big sums of money to fight cases of misconduct and injustice.
You can’t bring a dead person back to life but you can compensate an injured person’s family.
I doubt many victims will get compensated because any debt paid will result in many more requests for payment.
Kneeling won’t get equal rights and justice but getting rid of and voting politicians out of office that refuse to vote for equal rights and justice measures and to pay debts owed to victimized Black people is a start.
Knowledge is better than kneeling and the devilish lawmen and the politicians that protect them don’t want you to know that.
I love April Ryan, Joy Reid, Al Sharpton and the other folk you love but they don’t have a clue how protesters “own” their protests or how governments are responsible for paying debts caused by police misconduct, unequal rights and judicial injustice! (Buy Gantt’s latest book, “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing” on Amazon.com and from bookstores everywhere. Contact Lucius at www.allworldconsultants.net. And, if you want to,“Like” The Gantt Report page on Facebook.)
By Lucius Gantt