Sunday, April 5, 2015

No Accountability, No Justice



I was driving in Oakland the other day and saw a billboard that said simply “Fruitvale” on it. My mind immediately went to Oscar Grant and the film Fruitvale Station.

Want to know how delusional I can be? Every time I hear in the news about cops killing an unarmed Black man, I imagine the cop saying, “Oh, no! I can’t believe I did that,” and then think back to Ferguson. (Yeah, I don’t imagine their anguish for the innocent person who has just been killed.) But as I was driving, I wondered WHY? I mean, why would they think that? Why would they worry?

From the officer who killed Andy Lopez (teenager!) to the one who killed Michael Brown, every single cop has gotten off. They have nothing to fear as there is absolutely no accountability for their actions.

Why would cops stop killing unarmed people of color when they know they will not face any consequences?

But if one of these cops were truly held accountable, would they think twice? If the district attorney’s office and the Justice Department were held accountable by someone other than a pained and frustrated public, would that help?

In April of last year, a number of young girls were kidnapped in Nigeria. When interviewed by an English TV station on the issue, a prominent US actress stated, "These men thought that they can get away with this, that they could abuse them in such a way, sell them, rape them, take them as property, because so many people have gotten away with this in the past because of this culture of impunity.”

Clearly, that one sentence stayed with me. Why? Because it is true. Where are the drones searching for these young girls? Where are the countries banding together, organizing search parties to find them? By no means do I mean to simplify a very complicated political situation, but violence against women seems to be another issue where few are held accountable.

We have women who are trafficked into this country and used for the sex trade, we have women farm workers who are constantly being sexually assaulted, we have an epidemic of women being raped (in colleges and outside of them), and we have women who go to prison because they defend themselves against violent husbands (such was the case with Marissa Alexander, for example: http://sistahvegan.com/2014/12/17/redux-cisgender-black-male-straight-lives-matteror-on-dismissing-the-black-feminist-queer-praxis-behind-the-movement/).

Where is the accountability?

Within the animal movement, we re-victimize those who are the most vulnerable as well. Accountability, such as it is, falls always on those who are seen as the least empowered among us.

Over and over, when slaughterhouses are investigated, workers are caught committing egregious cruelty to the animals.

But very rarely are those who are responsible for this type of environment held accountable – the owners.

I would imagine that when and if the owners of slaughterhouses are separated from their families and held accountable (and, better yet, the slaughterhouses are shut down), things will be different. Because honestly, it is the owners who need to be held accountable.

There are loads of examples of these situations – companies blame suppliers when issues ranging from slavery and child labor to wage theft and dangerous working conditions are raised.

Is there a better way to hold some of these people accountable? I don’t know. But what I do know is that they should not be allowed to profit from such deeds – cops continuing to carry a gun and collect a paycheck certainly should not be an option, nor should corporations profiting from egregious cruelty, death, and torture.

Justice demands accountability.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these blogs. I'm in the process of reading Bleating Hearts and Foodispower.org was listed. My husband and I are vegan since we watched the documentary Earthling. The suffering we cause all the animals is horrific. You address some topics I hadn't considered. I like to know that there are others passionate about justice and compassionate towards animals and people.

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