Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the deeper meaning of Freddie Gray

Former NBC star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offers keen analysis of image of Freddie Gray being dragged into van.

For the last two weeks, I have been processing massive volumes of information on a daily basis related to the arrest of Freddie Gray.

Last week, of course, the volume went beyond massive.

I vowed to try and systematically keep track of the best insights and smartest analysis I came across. That was a vain hope.

But whenever I have time near the end of the day from here on out, I am going to share the best piece of work I found in any medium -- especially when it drills down on the deeper meaning of Gray's death.

Today's comes from former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writing at Time.com.

I always respected Abdul-Jabbar's intellect and intensity. And he brings that incredible focus to Freddie Gray in Baltimore with these words. Note what he says about the image of Gray being dragged into the van - the image we saw on citizen video. I think it is brilliant.

What happened in Baltimore isn’t just a one-and-done situation. This wasn’t just a slight sprain in the ankle that we’ll be able to walk off by morning. This was a violently shattered bone that will have America limping forward on crutches for months to come, maybe even years.

One thing that history has taught us is that civil unrest is rarely just about what incites the incident. From what information the public has been given, Freddie Gray’s death seems like a malignant cocktail of negligence and abuse, and the charges brought against the six officers seem to confirm that. But we’ve seen this all before—many times.

So why now? Why Baltimore? Why Freddie Gray?

The Baltimore uprising isn’t just about Freddie Gray. The image of the cops carrying him, his legs dangling uselessly, his neck crooked awkwardly is a visual manifestation of the impotence many African Americans have felt over the past year as death after death of black people at the hands of police keep adding up....

For African Americans, it feels as if we are all gathered together in the path of giant steamroller. We shout up at the driver to put on the brakes, but he keeps shouting for us to get out of the way. But there’s no place to go. We keep backing up and backing up. In Baltimore, it felt as though everyone’s back was against the wall, and there was no place to back up to anymore. If shouting doesn’t get the driver’s attention, maybe something more drastic will.

Read the full piece here.


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