I am thankful my Chicano sons are alive

mind times;”>EditorialBy Armando Vazquez

stuff times;”>I am the father of two young Chicano males. If they approached you, certainly you could mistake them for being Mexican, yet they are as American as any blued-eyed blond-hair kid  they went to high school with about a decade ago. My two brown Chicano kids survived/lived through their somewhat turbulent and chaotic adolescent years in white America. Yet I must confess, even today, every time my cell rings late at night my heart starts racing and I get an ache in my belly. My immediate reaction, and simultaneous prayer, is that both my young men are okay–not shot by the police.  That is always my default, I cannot help it.

For far too many parents of color it is the one and only default we have, “I pray my sons do not get shot by the cops tonight.” Today, my sons are college graduates, highly intelligent, highly sensitive, super caring young men.  The cops don’t see that.  What they do see are two brown men potentially out to do them harm. More than ever the cops will shoot to kill young men of color and ask questions later: much like it is done in my country of Mexico, cops and thugs killing young men with impunity.

I cannot remember when more black and brown young men were killed nationally by the police than in 2014 and the year is not over. America, we are at WAR with our young men of color, a never ending war. Why? Some disingenuous sociologists, law enforcement experts, politicians, fools, racists, will contort themselves hypocritically to misinform and bury the truth as they simultaneously fan the flames of intolerance. Fear and hatred create the necessary evil which is the man-made chasm of the “divided electorate.” The divided and hate filled America that they so artfully have crafted and seamlessly perpetuate. Us versus them, it is nothing more than a game. It is life and death to our young men of color. That deadly evil that was planted in the American psyche is now being harvested throughout the land.

So we, America, have become a nation driven by fear and hate, so we kill. The Brown Family has asked the nation for four to two minutes of silence after the grand jury decided not to recommend further action against the cop who killed Michael Brown. We respect the request but what must follow is calamitous screams for justice throughout the land. No justice.  No Peace.

This is what James Baldwin said about American racism, stupidity, mendacity, police killing and police brutality in 1960: ”The white policeman…finds himself at the very center of the revolution now occurring in the world. He is not prepared for it…naturally, no one is.. and, what is possibly much more to the point is, he is exposed, as few white people are, to the anguish of the black people around him…One day, to everyone’s astonishment, some one drops a match in the powder keg and everything blows up. Before the dust has settled or the blood congealed, editorials, speeches, and civil-rights commissions are loud on the land demanding to know what happened. What happened is the Negroes want to be treated like humans.”

Armando Vazquez and sons

Armando Vazquez and family

In my town of Oxnard, the city that I love, the cops have killed at least four Chicano youths in the past few years and have militarized the community through the enactment of three civil ”gang” injunctions. We are a community under siege with a police force that is non-responsive and impervious to the demands of the local community to submit to a citizen review and control protocol, a system of operation and management. You would think that we were asking them to perform institutional suicide. So as long as cops supervise the internal operations of abuse, misconduct, investigations and discipline of their own officers, this country will never see cops being charged with negligence, much less murder, and the killing of men of color will continue unabated and unpunished through this nation.

This year Thanksgiving means absolutely nothing to me. However, I am thankful every day that my two Chicano sons come home another night safely, not having been shot by a cop for driving while brown. Luck has run out on too many of our young black and brown brothers in this country we call home.  They are dead and the only “crime” committed on their deadly night of infamy was being black or brown in America and running into a killer cop.

Armando Vazquez is a retired CEO, Executive Director, Business-Owner, teacher, community builder, group leader with demonstrated work history designing and implementing a variety of business, management, educational and vocational community support programs. Successful organizer of activities designed to promote and advance individual and community. Well-disciplined consensus builder.

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One Response to I am thankful my Chicano sons are alive

  1. Diane January 21, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I would hate to imagine our nation without Law enforcement officers!
    I have a brown Grand-daughter that is currently in college and she is a great student and will become an educator when she graduates!
    I am more afraid of her being attacked by lawless gang members than Police officers.
    If you raise your children to be law-abiding and respectful of
    the police usually the outcome will be fine.
    I also am against corruption by our officials. I have seen enough
    factual crime shows to know there are a few bad apples in any group. Thank God most officers are good cops.


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