JEFF TIEDEMAN: Straight From The Vest — Black Lives Matter

Anyone who’s picked up a newspaper, watched the TV news channels or followed social media the past two days probably has seen or read the accounts of two more young black men who were shot and killed by policemen.

The first was 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., who was shot and killed early Tuesday morning after police responded to a complaint about an armed man threatening people outside a convenience store. Sterling was being held on the ground by the police when he was shot.

And Wednesday morning, Philando Castile — behind the wheel and with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter — was shot by a police officer after a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul.

Both shootings were captured on video and in each case, call into question whether the shootings were justified.

Both incidents, along with the many other similar ones across the country over the past few years, are extremely disturbing to me, the grandfather of two African-American youth. The younger boy, 13, lives in Cincinnati, while the older one, 17, resides in Grand Forks.

I happen to agree with the statement issued by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who along with members of the state’s congressional delegation, asked for the Justice Department to investigate the death of Castile.

Dayton said, “Would this have happened if those passengers were white? I don’t think it would have. I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists.”

That statement really hit home with me. A couple of years ago, my oldest grandson — 15 at the time — had just recently got his North Dakota driver’s license when he was stopped for speeding. I don’t remember how fast he was going, but it wasn’t more than 10 mph over the speed limit.

Upon approaching my grandson’s pickup, the white female police officer told him to keep his hands on the steering wheel, not first asking for proof of insurance or registration.

When he told his grandmother and me about the incident, we were appalled. There was no way the officer would have said the same thing to a white teenager. Heck, I’ve been stopped for speeding three times in my lifetime, and not once was told to keep my hands on the wheel. Clearly, race was the motivation for the police officer’s action.

We’ve told our grandson, because of his race, that he needs to be aware of what could happen to him if he’s ever stopped again by a police officer. We’ve warned him especially not to make any sudden moves.

But that’s not the answer to the big picture. The status quo will only result in more senseless killings. More needs to be done in terms of police officer bias training, and white Americans need to step forward and demand change. They need to quit saying there is no racism.

Until that happens, young black men like my grandsons will never know the freedom and peace of mind that’s enjoyed by their white friends.





3 thoughts on “JEFF TIEDEMAN: Straight From The Vest — Black Lives Matter”

  • Rob Sand September 27, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I get “Black Lives Matters”. In 1968 I took a couple African American studies class. It was taught by a Black man who began teaching at U of Montana that fall. He had know MLK Jr. and it was that spring when MLK was assassinated. The class was very helpful at giving us young White students an understanding of the history and experiences of African American citizens. It was a challenging class for some of the white students. Defensiveness by White students and challenges by the few Black students was handled well by the teacher.

    I was visiting the Sacred Stone Camp when a young group of African Americans arrived. I asked if they were active with Black Lives Matters. They were very involved. It was great visiting with them and it is exciting that they and the Native American Water Protectors are finding common ground.

    We all need to find common ground.

  • Big Tobacco September 28, 2016 at 12:23 am


    The most comprehensive study done on the topic comma by Harvard mind you, shows that whites are actually statistically speaking more likely to be shot by cops in the exact same scenario.

    The fact that everyone can name the black people who resisted arrest and were shot should say something in itself. I bet not one of them can name a single police officer who was shot or a person who was killed in black on black crime.

    If they are that terrified to be killed by a cop, they should be much more terrified every time they see someone of Their Own Kind.

  • Big Tobacco September 28, 2016 at 12:30 am

    But oh yeah, I forget, speaking of equality makes you a racist nowadays. If you talk out against black lives matter people rioting, or preaching oppression by the white man, you are considered a racist. Even though what they are seeking is their own special privilege.

    Black lives matter is a terrorist group created off the false narrative of “hands up don’t shoot” which was deduct. Watch the Youtube videos of them trying to find white people to beat up just because they are white, they are literally all over YouTube.

    They can talk about whites all they want, but if a baseball player speaks out against black lives matter protesters, they get suspended for the rest of the season and branded a racist. So what we have is a society where you can’t speak out against people committing crimes due to the color of their skin, but it’s perfectly okay for them to Riot against whites because the black cop shot a black person holding a gun and not cooperating. Makes sense

    But that’s none of my business.


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