Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, was featured on Press TV world news segment discussing the recent rash of racist killings of African Americans. The US has a long legacy of racist violence., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
‘The US has seen sudden increases in ongoing racial killings’
Interview with the Director of the Pan-African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe
Sun Apr 8, 2012 5:33PM GMT
The United States has undoubtedly witnessed a rise in ‘racial violence
and tensions,’ an analyst tells Press TV, referring to the series of young African American males killed in the US.
The comment comes as outrage has climbed among the African-American communities across the United States as more black American citizens fall victim to suspicious and apparently racial shootings.
Following Friday's killings of three more African-Americans in north Tulsa, Oklahoma, community leaders in the northern part of the city, where the shootings took place, described the incidents as "hate crimes."
Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clarke, 54, and 31-year-old William Allen were killed and two other African-Americans suffered injuries in separate early morning shootings in what is widely perceived as racially-motivated attacks.
Press TV has conducted an interview with the Director of the PAN African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, to shed more light on the issue.
What follows is a transcription of the interview:
Press TV: Mr. Azikiwe, we see people on the streets calling out slogans with the theme of justice in particular, “justice is color blind.” What we are seeing in America is quite the opposite?
Azikiwe: I think the slogan is reflective of the demand that justice should be color blind; historically it has not been color blind not here in the United States and of course we’ve had this reported rash of series of killings of young African American males.
The Trayvon Martin case of course in February was one of the most glaring. On March 26th there were demonstrations that took place across the United States that brought out tens of thousands of people calling for the indictment and prosecution of Mr. Zimmerman.
But that has still not been done; we’re right now some 6 or more weeks in the aftermath of that tragic killing of a 17-year-old.
Unfortunately some elements within the corporate media here in the United States are trying to build a case to justify such vigilante actions against this young 17-year-old African American.
Of course the shootings that have been reported in Oklahoma, a place which has a long legacy of racial violence against African Americans. You know some 91 years ago the African American community there suffered from a wholesale onslaught resulting in the deaths of 300 people.
The entire community was burned down in 1921 in Tulsa. People still have a historical memory of that occurrence. This is clearly a rise in racial tensions and racial violence in the United States and we think it’s clearly related to the economic crisis that is still very much evident here in the US.
Press TV: Indeed, you spoke of vigilantism, what do you think about the stand your ground law, I mean how much has it added fuel to the fire of racial profiling in the US?
Azikiwe: Well, in the media and also through the criminal justice system, the African Americans are disproportionately impacted.
You look at the prison population, most of the people, over half are of African and Latin American descent. So this is clearly a reflection of the bias that is exercised on a regular basis through the criminal justice system. Of course the prevalence of hate organizations has accelerated over the last 4 years with the advent of the candidacy and eventual assumption of office by President Obama.
The Southern Poverty Law Center which is based in the southern state of Alabama says that the number of active racist and vigilante organizations in the United States has accelerated over the last 4 years, the death threats have increased against not only the African American elected officials but African Americans in general.
Then of course the unemployment rate and poverty rates are disproportionately impacting the African Americans and the Latinos in the United States so it is clearly a problem. It needs resolution by the federal government.
We hear very little direct attention to these issues but I think the African American community particularly over the last several weeks has put this issue very much on the agenda.
Coming up on Tuesday April the 10th, there is going to be another national day of action calling for the indictment and prosecution of the man who was in fact the suspect in the killing of Taryvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.