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Linguistic relativity and justifiable homicide – “Guilty until proven insolent”


On June 25, 2014, the Justice for Andy Lopez Coalition brought a law suit against the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department for the October 22, 2013 shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, California by two Sonoma County Deputies. The suit states Andy Lopez’s civil rights were denied because “… the sheriff’s department encourages deputies to prematurely shoot suspects who pose no threat or danger to deputies and the public at large.” The Justice for Andy Lopez Coalition echoes what Melanite (non-Caucasian) citizens across the country know all too well – very little sensitivity training is administered to police and neighborhood watch groups with regard to civil or just treatment of non-Caucasian populations.

No need to look to Iraq or Russia for human rights violations. According to, “Americans killed by cops now outnumber Americans killed in the Iraq war…Cops have killed well over 5,000 Americans since 9/11.” Needless to say, the overwhelming majority of these murders have been committed against Melanites. For far too many Melanite families, justifiable homicide has become a common occurrence in their communities.

On June 2, 2014 Alejandro “Alex” Neito of San Francisco was shot by a SF police officer in the city’s Bernal Heights district as he sat in uniform eating a burrito before reporting to work as a security guard. Here in Oakland, California eighteen-year-old Alan Blueford was wrongfully shot and killed by Oakland police officers in May of 2012. And who can forget the slaughter of 22-year-old Oscar Grant (2009), handcuffed and shot in the back by utterly incompetent BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer, Johannes Mehserle?

Unfortunately these events are not limited to the Bay Area alone. The Blueford, Lopez, Grant, Neito, Trayvon Martin and countless other Melanite families are left to agonize over the shooting deaths of their loved ones while the murderers commonly receive paid vacations (a leave of absence) before receiving the usual “not guilty” verdict from juries given limited options to find otherwise. Coincidence; isolated incidents?

Make no mistake, this is not a police problem; it’s a people problem. These killings reveal the cultural climate of fear and xenophobia (antipathy of those that are different) imbedded deep within American society. Thanks to the internet and other forms of electronic media, these biased values are constantly being shared, promoted and programmed around the planet. Every American has, and every child is being raised on an endless litany of racially-charged, yet politically correct phrases that encourage all people to view dark human beings as a subhuman and “minor” species.

Linguistic relativity – the science of influencing thought patterns through the use of words – conditions people to act accordingly. Incessant over-usage and abuse of two simple words (dark & black) automatically brainwashes people to stereotype, fear, devalue and dismiss all melanin-dominant (dark) hue-man beings. We have all been programmed to do this with the following common phrases: black sheep, black ball, black cloud, black list, blackmail, black magic, dark side, dark day, dark mystery, dark memory, dark past, dark history, dark secret, darkest hour, Dark Minds (television program), Dark Temptations (television program), etc. It’s time to expand our vocabularies. We must stop dehumanizing and vilifying dark and Black people by abusing the words “dark” and “black” to describe any and all negative concepts, behaviors, situations, circumstances and ideas. (To be continued)

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