On New Year's Day of 2009, Oscar Grant was shot in Oakland, Calif. The shooter was a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer by the name of Johannes Mehserle. Grant was 22-years-old at the time of his death, and the shooting was captured by cell phone cameras and disseminated throughout the Internet. Adding insult to injury, the Grant family just found out that there will be no African-American jurors in the trial of Grant's shooter. Jack Bryson, whose sons were with Grant the night he was killed, is angry about the jury selection:
"This is like a slap in the face," Bryson told the Associated Press. "This case came all the way to Los Angeles, after the judge in Alameda County said they couldn't get a fair and impartial jury there.
"This is the best you can do, and you did this in two days. We could've stayed back in Oakland for this."
The Oscar Grant shooting case has been racially divisive, to say the least. Up until this point, there has not been any logical explanation for the officer's decision to shoot Grant in the back that night. What's most amazing about this shooting and others is how officers are often acquitted even after it appears that they were clearly in the wrong. This only adds to the frustration.
Los Angeles County has 9.8 million people, with approximately 10 percent of them being black. So the fact that blacks were excluded from the jury is surprising in light of the pool from which the jury was selected. What is not surprising, however, is the fact that the defense attorneys wanted to keep African Americans off the jury.
What's most egregious about cases like this one is the sense of powerlessness that many in the black community feel, when one of our own is killed by police in what appears to be a highly questionable situation. Police are not accustomed to having their authority questioned, and some of us forget that officers are human like the rest of us, often carrying a temptation to abuse their authority. Unless a reasonable explanation can be provided regarding why this officer shot an unarmed young man in the back, there is no reason for anyone to believe the officers should be found innocent. Let's hope these jurors do the right thing.
01-June-2010 - In an effort to tackle the latest crisis, the horrendous BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, Bill Maher thinks Obama needs to act more like a "real black president" and go in to the BP meetings flashing his gat.
27-May-2010 - CNN was a little embarrassed after accidentally playing a rap song with the N-word in it. The gaffe was part of a segment about a 103-year-old woman, Gladys Flamer, who still drives herself around and lives alone in Coatsville, Pa.
25-May-2010 - Mattel has launched a new line of Barbie dolls called "Back to Basics (pictured below)," which features several dolls, white and black, in (what I can only term) "after-5" wear: There are off-the-shoulder dresses, strapless minis and plunging necklines. The whole thing is absolutely freaky. It's like some odd soft porno featuring call-girl dolls.
24-May-2010 - The 21-year-old R&B sensation recently went on a Tweeting tirade against Atlanta-based celeb gossip blogger Sandra Rose. Reportedly, Brown resorted to attacking the blogger's complexion by using juvenile "you're so black" jokes.
Aol Black Voices. is the premiere site for African American news, viewpoints, and community. Visit BV daily to get informed, connect through our profiles, and express yourself on our message boards. Get the latest coverage of black news, black entertainment, black stars, politics, black style and beauty, black relationships, money, and more. Share your voice at BV!