There’s an ancient curse “may you live in interesting times” and I think each and every one of us can say that 2020 certainly fits the bill. The pandemic, and the attendant economic crisis resulting from it was shocking enough. But now the news for days and days has been about protestors who are rightfully marching about the police brutality experienced disproportionately by minorities.
I don’t personally know what it is to live as a black person in America. My complexion is not only fair, it’s so pale that even the lightest of makeup is too dark for me. But there’s no doubt in my mind that racial inequality not only exists, but they have a bull’s eye painted on their backs. Yes, all lives matter, but there is a disproportionate amount of violence and bad or fatal outcomes by law enforcement with people of color as seen more recently by cases like Treyvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and a sad litany of so many other names. This isn’t new, the fact we have video of George Floyd’s death, and the clear fact he wasn’t resisting has galvanized a nation. Much as the death of another black life incited a nation decades ago.
In August, 1955 fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was attacked by two white men in Mississippi in a lynching that left him dead and mutilated because he had spoken with a white woman who was the proprietor of the grocery store he was in (it’s hard to know exactly what was said, since various witnesses later admitted they lied). Her husband and brother-in-law tracked him down days later, abducted him from his great-uncle’s house, and proceeded to brutally kill him, tossing his body weighed down with a 75-pound metallic fan and wrapped up in barb wire into the Tallahatchie River. The body was discovered three days later. His mother raw with rage and grief, insisted on an open casket. She wanted people to see what had been done to her son, and see they did. Fifty thousand people saw his corpse with their own eyes at the funeral in Chicago. Thousands more saw it when photographs (with the mother’s permission) were published in Jet Magazine, and his death especially with the visual violence seen on his body by so many became a major catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. You can see one of those photos here: The 100 Most Influential Images of All Time (view at your own discretion). The perpetrators were acquitted of his murder, and because of double jeopardy laws bragged a short time later as they confessed in interviews they had in fact killed him.
Continue reading “Black Lives Matter, Wotan Network, and Taking a Knee”