When They See Us…Then Read This

It’s been a while since I have posted on my blog and yes I have been seriously slacking, to the point that I am embarrassed to even have a site up. I’ll work on that in the near future and I promise to add more stuff.

So….on May 31st Netflix dropped a new series called, “When They See Us”. This series co-written and directed by Ava DuVernay tells the story of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise better known as the Central Park 5. These black and brown kids were accused of raping a young white female jogger and leaving her body to die one eventful night back in 1989. Throughout the series, you see how the police and prosecutor coerced, manipulated and forced these kids to confess to a crime they did not commit. Ultimately these young men were exonerated once the real rapist confessed to the crime. These kids not only were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they also fell into a system of corruption that treated people of color less than human. Their convictions were a perverted use of justice that utilized every mean necessary to just put these kids away and forget about them. There was no physical evidence, no opportunity to get lawyers on their behalf during the initial accusations and they as underage children were forced to sign confessions under all the aforementioned circumstances.

As I watched the series on Netflix, I was first and foremost disgusted at the treatment of these young men. I also felt remorse and embarrassment over the female jogger who was raped and left for dead. I wondered about her story during all of this and how she felt about it all. Obviously, she should not have been in that situation and raped, but I wonder how did she deal with the aftermath. Did she think that those five kids did the actual crime? What exactly did she remember? During the course of the series, it was explained that she had no memory of what happened. She was a victim. Those five young men were victims.

This series touches so many social issues that we deal with today. Rape, racism, corrupt court systems and corrupt police. Some 30 years later we still suffer through the countless news reports and stories of these issues. Our country also has a racial problem we are dealing with that seems to be growing more and more. Our President provides a polarizing narrative each and every day that makes a lot of people wonder if he himself harbors these racial undertones. Our President is also the same businessman back in 1989 that put out a full-page in the New York Times say that these same Central Park 5 kids should be hanged and horsewhipped! Years later WE, if you voted for him or not elected him to the highest office in America. Our court systems today have shown similar tactics when we see cases like Ferguson and the killing of Trayvon Martin where people of authority are set free from killing young black men. Women all across the GLOBE are raped every day which in its self is a sad commentary. Our moral center has been skewed. Our compassion has been eliminated. Our direction has stopped moving forward.

So when you look at this series “When They See Us”, take time to do some self-reflection. How can you change the narrative? I’ve seen African American fathers on social media express that they want to watch this series with their son’s and take the time to discuss everything that happened. From such a horrible and horrific story, there can be a glimmer of hope if we get these son’s to think and be aware of the consequences for EVERYTHING they do. There is also a push on social media to go after some of the people involved in the prosecution, hold them accountable even if it’s 30 years later.

Ultimately if you haven’t, you should watch this profound series.