Conflicted On Tookie
Tookie Williams the founder of the Cripts gang is set to be executed for a crime he says he didn't commit. If he did commit the crime many supporters say that since he has changed his ways, and is nearly 60 years old, his death sentance ought to be commuted to life imprisonment.
If you are against the Death Sentance then you'r position is clear: Tookie must have clemency. If you are not against the death penalty and you're black and 'conscious" then you have a problem. See as a person aware of African History one cannot say that opposition to the death penalty is "African." In fact in terms of African-American culture, the death penalty is something many blacks agree with. The reasons for this are multiple but are currently based on the consequences with the 2% criminal element that manages to make the lives for the 30% of black folks who are poor, miserable, and the 60% who are not,shake their heads upon seeing that 2% on the news. It is also the case the African Americans, specifically those who grew up getting spanked, see that the consequences for such gang activity is death. I bring up spanking because the over-arching justification for such behavoir is that the pain inflicted as a child will act as a deterent to later bad behavior which may lead to crime. A taste of the punishment if you will.
But being conscious black person you realize that if the death penalty was inacted back in say th 50's against one Malcolm Little we would not have the hero Malcolm X. See Malcolm Little was a criminal thug. He was the redhead devil in prison. It was the prison time was what lead Malcolm to the NOI and his transformation to Malcolm X. When we agree with the death penalty (disregarding the un-equal way it is implemented) we agree to end the lives of potential Malcolm X's. The issue here is redemption. Do we as a people believe in redemption? If so then we have to ask if Tookie Williams has been redeemed is he a danger to our society? Can he be a force for good in our society? If we agree that he is no longer a threat, that he ican be a force for good, then should he be executed? Should he even be in jail? Let's be real here, Most violent crime, for which tookie was jailed for, is committed by younger people. While the familty of the deceased would like for Tookie to continue to "pay" for his crime, why is incarceration, where he cannot make direct amends for hid crime, the only means for his "payment?"
Thus is the conflict, Do we hold Tookie to his gang creed and let him die and be an example to young gang members of where they will end up? Or do we show the youth that they can change thier lives and society will recognize that change? It's a hard question if you don't oppose the death penalty.