AFRICANGLOBE – Filmmaker Spike Lee has said the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown by a White police officer Darren Wilson is part of an ongoing “war on the Black male” taking place in the United States.
“I just think there is a war on the Black male, and it’s tearing the country apart, in my opinion,” Lee said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on August 19. “It’s not just killing us — it’s educational system, it’s the prison system, it’s these young Black men growing up with no hope. It’s systematic.”
Lee, known for Do the Right Thing , Malcolm X and Inside Man , said people were taking to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri because Black communities were fed up with ongoing racial tension and discrimination they face from U.S. authorities.
He said Black communities had reached “tipping point” after facing a string of similar deaths where Black men faced brutal violence from police and many were protesting because they ‘can’t take it any more.”
Lee was among those paying their last respects to Michael Brown whose funeral was held Monday (August 25) at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.
Lee had earlier told CNN : “When people get to a point, to the tipping point they can’t take it anymore and I’m not saying that people should burn down stuff, riot and loot and I don’t want to the use the word riot. I’m going to use the word uprising.”
He said: “This is not the first time we’ve seen this, and I just hope that things will really blow up, the people aren’t happy with the verdict of this upcoming trial.”
In the interview, also published on CBS St. Louis’ news website, Lee rejected suggestions that the U.S. is now a post-racial society and highlighted some incidents of historical violence against Black Americans.
Lee said: “Many people thought that the moment that President Obama put his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and took the oath, racism would disappear – gone, for the post-racial era [but] that is not the case.
“If you look what happened in Ferguson, it happened in L.A. with the Rodney King verdict and Liberty City in Miami and happened in Detroit ‘67, happened in the assassination of Dr. King and happened in the Harlem riots.”
Lee also said mentioned other cases that have sparked protest among them Trayvon Martin, another unarmed Black teen who was shot dead by a neighbourhood watchman in Florida in 2012. His death also sparked protests.
Lee also said the US authorities should not be using military-grade weapons to control protests sparked by Brown’s shooting.
“We don’t need snipers on top of tanks pointing at civilians. I understand that there’s tear gas and provocateurs, but we need somebody who’s going to cool things down.”