2015: From legal lynchings to justifiable homicides (Part 1)
Two thousand fifteen may be a new year but there is nothing new about the inordinate amounts of ambivalence and violence routinely leveled against black and brown citizens of/in the USA. Name one unarmed Caucasian child in America who’s been “shot and killed accidentally” by the police. On the other hand, there have been so many black and brown children, men and women shot to death in this country that it’s not possible to name them all. The times have changed but the paradigm of racism remains the same.
Within just the past few years the following families have been devastated by fatal shootings in the USA: Joel Acevedo, Rigoberto Arceo, Javier Arrazola, Andres Avila, Jason Bitz, Alan Blueford, Steven Bours, Michael Brown, Elizabeth Bustamante & John Cabrera, Roscoe Cambridge, Marcel Luis Ceja, Caesar Ray Cruz, Jordan Davis, Jose de la Trinidad, Manuel Diaz, Ernest Duenez , Tony Francis, Eric Garner , Oscar Grant, Kenneth Harding, Martin Angel Hernandez, Justin Hertl, Andy Lopez , Ismael Lopez, Jeremy Marks, Trayvon Martin, James W. Moore, Alejandro “Alex” Neito, Mike Nida, David Raya, Brandon Robinson, David Silva, Justin Bernard Singleton, Idriss Stelley, Joe Whitehouse, Doug Zerby … and the list goes on.
Though mainstream media reports these murders as isolated incidents, racism is the lynchpin connecting them all. Racism and its foundation, white supremacy (the xenophobic ideology of white superiority, white entitlement, white preferential treatment, white privilege, white God, white Jesus, white rights, etc.) continue to ignite deadly scenarios of injustice and inhumanity across the country.
At the end of World War II a news reporter asked a black, female New Yorker what would be an appropriate punishment for Hitler? She replied, “Paint him black and send him to America.” Although there are currently more than 1000 white supremacists gangs in the USA, these violent groups of militant terrorists have never been discouraged or considered “a threat to America.” Conversely, Herbert Hoover and the FBI attacked and labeled the Prince of Peace, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “the most dangerous man in America.” The USA chose to eliminate Dr. King rather than eliminate white supremacy.
Between 1865 (after the 13th amendment ended enslavement capitalism) and 1964 (passage of the Civil Rights Act), lynching Blacks became a national pastime where Blacks were lynched with impunity. These social events were family functions where bold executioners took advantage of every photo opportunity to pose with the tortured bodies of their Black victims as if they were trophies of slaughtered prey. These disturbing images of America’s horrifically racist history are captured in the book Without Sanctuary, (2000), by Hilton Als & James Allen.
Racism and white supremacy are the reasons why the state of Mississippi refused to outlaw slavery (ratify the 13th amendment, 1865) until the 20th century … 1995! Not much has changed because legislation does not alter perception. However, nowadays guns have replaced the nooses; and rather than documenting the executions, photos are taken of communities and protestors full of disbelief and righteous indignation while the assassins fade into a backdrop of inevitable exoneration. (To be continued …)