The tensions are understandably high after the countless police shootings of unarmed black men, not just in recent times but in years past – but radical responses, whether physical or rhetorical, ramp up the temperature against Black activism and gives ammunition to those opposing it.
A former Miss Alabama, the first African American to win the contest in the heavily conservative Southern state, Kalyn Chapman James, has stirred controversy with some raw, unedited remarks on the recent shootings in the country, both of black young men and the retaliatory killing of cops.
The past week has been a tumultous one in the US, as the police killings of black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castle was followed by the equally brutal killing of police officers during a protest in Dallas.
According to James, although she’s torn up inside about the deaths of the cops, she doesn’t actually feel too surprised about the shootings, and not too sorry for the cops, even if they know they weren’t complicit. She described the since killed gunman, who murdered five cops in cold blood, a martyr.
“I don’t feel sad for the officers who lost their lives and I know that’s not really my heart,” a at times tearing up James told the camera.
“I value human life. And I want to feel sad for them but I can’t help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr.” She added.
She certainly might not be alone in that feeling, she certainly represents a certain fraction of the frustrated African American- but the furore these comments are set to spark, irrespective of all the caveats she put in there, would hinder more than help the much needed conversation over racial disparity in America’s justice system.