'Barack Obama day late & dollar short in tackling America's race crisis'

© Lucas Jackson
This is really a critical crisis in racial relations for America, and President Obama’s words are welcome, but he has done far too little and it is far too late, Lee Jasper, race relations activist, told RT from London.

Downtown Dallas turned into a melee as five police officers were killed and seven wounded as protests following shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota erupted in violence and chaos.

RT: These shootings don't look like accidents, and police were clearly the targets. How could this have happened on the streets of America?

Lee Jasper: Well, first, it is only right to offer condolences for all of those who suddenly lost their lives or have been injured as a consequence of the attacks in Dallas. But I don’t think you can ignore the backdrop one at which a black community has faced the reality or police extra-judicial killings on the streets of America. It is always bizarre to African–Americans and Black people worldwide, how we can believe in Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, and yet we get a video that shows quite graphically what is happening to young black men in America at the hands of the police and somehow we have to suspend our belief and wait for an investigation...

RT: After the attack, Barack Obama came out and spoke about gun control. Is the lack of gun control the real reason for the bloodshed?

LJ: I think it is part of the issue. The routine arming of citizens and police officers in America has certainly contributed to the extent to which America is the most violent society on earth. We have sporadic mass shootings of disaffected teenagers in Columbine, in schools and places of worship right through America. We have white supremacists armed who engaged in that violence. We have police officers who are acting disproportionally violent towards African- Americans. This is really a critical crisis in racial relations for America, and the president’s words are welcome, but he has done far too little and it is far too late. In the words of an American saying, it is a day late and a dollar short for President Obama in relation to tackling this crisis.

RT: Obama also said that black people have a higher chance of being shot and killed by police. What about police brutality across the states, why are so many African Americans victims of police violence?

LJ: This is a consistent cultural trend in American society just as it is here in the UK. Racism is a way of life. Lots of white people don’t see it, because they are rarely affected with it. Unless they married to or know somebody who is black, who has suffered and they can relate to that. But this is a cultural strand within America and here in Britain, and it is one that infects the point of delivery all services, whether that is education, housing, employment, or indeed criminal justice and law enforcement.

You got to have the kind of legislative prescription that punishes those officers who would act disproportionately violently when they are meeting Latinos, African-American, African-American women, Muslims, or whomsoever. Until we have that kind of judicial accountability for the actions of our police services and democracies like Britain and the UK, then racism and racists within the police services will be a continuing problem for us all.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.