THE BLOG
12/05/2014 03:05 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2015

Cameras Won't Save Us

Remaining as objective as possible when discussing issues affecting black America is becoming more and more difficult as the number of extrajudicially killed black bodies continues to pile up.

On Wednesday, a grand jury decided not to pursue criminal charges against the New York police officer responsible for the death of unarmed Eric Garner. A death caused by chokehold -- a prohibited method of 'subduing' alleged assailants. A death ruled a homicide by the New York City medical examiner. A death caught on camera.

Let that sink in: a death caught on camera.

Video footage of Eric Garner's killing went viral back in August. Since then, at least seven other unarmed black people have been killed by law enforcement officers. This body count includes John Crawford and 12-year-old Tamir Rice -- both of whom were killed while toting BB guns in Ohio, an open-carry state.

Crawford and Rice's deaths were also caught on camera. Both were also considered to show improper police conduct. And Crawford's killer, like Garner's, will not be indicted.

The decision has not come back on Tamir Rice.

On Monday, in order to increase police accountability in high-profile cases, the Obama administration announced it would be allotting $263 million to hopefully better police training and fund 50,000 body cameras in local precincts.

President Obama's efforts in this arena are commendable since research has shown body cameras result in a significant decrease in police brutality. Officers not wearing cameras were twice as likely to be reported for using excessive force than those who were not, according to a 2013 study.

But if body cameras are supposed to make officers more cognizant of their actions, what was different about Eric Garner and John Crawford? If we have concrete proof that their lives were unjustly taken, why weren't the killers indicted?

Footage won't aid in decreasing police brutality against black Americans because black death is seen as a spectacle. Video cameras are simply revolutionizing America's most infamous pastime:

By the 1890s lynchers increasingly employed burning, torture, and dismemberment to prolong suffering and excite a "festive atmosphere" among the killers and onlookers. White families brought small children to watch, newspapers sometimes carried advance notices, railroad agents sold excursion tickets to announced lynching sites, and mobs cut off black victims' fingers, toes, ears, or genitalia as souvenirs. Nor was it necessarily the handiwork of a local rabble; not infrequently, the mob was encouraged or led by people prominent in the area's political and business circles. Lynching had become a ritual of interracial social control and recreation rather than simply a punishment for crime.

The killing of black people seems to be gawkable. It's seen as a festive event meant to foster camaraderie amongst those who see black life as insignificant. It's a public humiliation where the moans, cries and screams of dying black victims fall upon deaf ears -- just like Eric Garner's declarations that he couldn't breathe did not seem to register with Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Just like John Crawford's proclamation that the gun was not real was silenced with a spray of bullets.

And just like, I assume, Tamir Rice will not be heard.

If you do not believe this, watch the couple who found it humorous to mock the death of this innocent man. A man who had a wife and kids. A man who did not deserve to have his life snatched from him.

Again, I try my best to remain objective when I write about race but I'm running out of facts and statistics. My objectivity is wearing thin.

To Eric Garner and his loved ones, I wish I could say that your country's justice system failed you but it didn't. America did to you what it seemingly aims to do to all of us who aren't white. I wish I could say prayer will change things but it won't. Black people have been praying for years and it has gotten us nowhere.

I don't know what to say to you or Akai Gurley, or Mike Brown, or Tamir Rice, or John Crawford, or Ezell Ford or any of you who were killed for being Black in public. I wish I could say God will handle it, but America's God is a white male who only gives mercy to other white cisgendered men.

So, Eric, I'm sorry but I have no words for you. No explanation. No reasoning. All I have is fear that nothing will change for you or people like us. That's it. I'm so sorry I don't have more.