Shame on Bill and Ray

April 8, 2016 2 By Michael
At the dawn of the 21st century, former NFL player, Ray Lewis was charged with the murder of two Black men from Ohio during the 2000 Super Bowl held in Atlanta, Georgia that year. Sixteen years later, Lewis took to his Facebook soapbox to chastise Black Lives Matter for protesting the killing of Black people by white police officers. Photo: politico.com

It is hard to understand why Bill and Ray do not have any shame. At the dawn of the 21st century, former NFL player, Ray Lewis was charged with the murder of two Black men from Ohio during the 2000 Super Bowl held in Atlanta, Georgia that year. Sixteen years later, Lewis took to his Facebook soapbox to chastise Black Lives Matter for protesting the killing of Black people by white police officers.
Photo: politico.com

Shame, shame, shame on Bill and Ray is about all I can say about their pathetic attempts to blame Black people who bemoan inequality in the American Justice system.

Ironically, on the same day that former National Football League player, Ray Lewis, posted a diatribe on his Facebook page chastising Black Lives Matter for protesting the alarming death rate of Black people at the hands of police officers, a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia confronted former President Bill Clinton over his 1994 Crime Bill, while he was on the presidential campaign trail for his wife Hillary Clinton.

Shame on Bill and Ray for blaming the victims of the most horrendous attack on members of the Black community in America. Both should know better. Neither come to their assault on the Black community with clean hands.

Ray Lewis still has not taken ownership of the Black Lives lost following a 2000 Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. He and others in his entourage were charged with the murder of two men from Ohio who came to town without tickets to the big game, but just wanted to be in the festive spirit of the day.

The two were shipped back home in boxes and no one was brought to justice for their deaths. So before Lewis takes issue with Black Lives Matter for objecting to the killing of Black people by police officers, he should come clean and tell us who the Black people were who killed those two Black men. Until Ray Lewis acknowledges that those two Black men did not deserve to die at the hands of other Black men, he should shut up.

Bill Clinton was heckled yesterday as he spoke on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton's run for president at a Philadelphia rally. Photo: The Internet

Bill Clinton was heckled yesterday as he spoke on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton’s run for president at a Philadelphia rally.
Photo: The Internet

Bill Clinton should not get a pass either. During his presidency he lobbied and passed the most repressive criminal legislation that targeted the Black community since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

In 1850 when white men could not find the decency to outlaw human slavery, they effectively turned their backs on Blacks who had the courage to escape their enslavement by permitting the return to enslavement of any Black person found away from the white man who had previously owned them.

One Hundred and forty-four years after the Fugitive Slave Act made it a crime for an enslaved person to free themselves from this odorous economic exploitation, Bill Clinton signed into law the Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act of 1994.

Today, Clinton argues that this legislation imprisoned drug dealers who were pushing crack cocaine in the Black community. To be fair, I welcome any legislation that cracks down on drug dealers who peddle drugs into the Black community. However, Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act of 1994 did the same thing that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 did. It criminalized the behavior of certain Black people, while giving a pass to the white men in the administration of President Richard Nixon, who are on record claiming responsibility for introducing crack cocaine into the Black community as a method of destabilizing the Black family.

The problems with Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act of 1994 are twofold:

First, it destabilized Black families by removing Black men from the home and placing them in state and federal penal institutions for long periods of time, thus weakening the Black community at a time when it was flexing its political muscle and  was demanding a larger slice of the economic pie. In short it made the “victims look like the criminals,” as Malcolm X had warned us the American system of justice was prone to do.

Second, the Clinton Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act of 1994 did not have any provisions to bring to heel the white thugs, operating under color of federal law, who provided the crack cocaine to Black businessmen and told them it was okay for them to sell this drug in their community. In essence, making the “criminal look like the victim,” as Malcolm X also predicted.

It is nauseatingly shameful for Bill Clinton, 22 years after he looked the other way to the sins of President Nixon, to now denigrate “Black Lives Matter” advocates.

Black people and decent people everywhere have a right to call Clinton out for his crime bill that went after the victims of federal government action and gave a hall pass to the white men who destroyed the Black community.

Sometime between now and the 22nd century we have to come to the realization that it is not okay to blame Black people for problems that have been beset upon them by white people, without correspondingly laying blame at the doorsteps of the plantation owners.

But until that time, Bill and Ray should respect the work of Black Lives Matter.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.