On Sept 3, 2014 a “Speak out against racist repression from Ferguson to New York” was held at Cuny’s Hunter College campus. It comprised of speeches and edited excerpts. Students skipped class to join and participate in the rally, even if it was only to lend moral support to the cause.
This is one of the speeches delivered by a Hunter student:
“when I was 17 I was arrested; I fell in with the wrong crowd of guys one night. I got off with a slap on the wrist, even though I resisted arrest because they were undercover officers. The same police department gunned down an unarmed black teenager named Denzel Curnell; that was earlier this year (in Charleston, South Carolina). The same police that laughed and said “boys will be boys” because I’m white, and it was in the south, later gunned down a boy who was about the same age as myself. Why does “boys will be boys” only apply to white boys such as myself, and how long does police violence have to go in until things change?”
Others spoke about Victor White III handcuffed and suddenly dead in the back seat of a police car in Louisiana; Kimani Gray; Ramarley Graham; Eleanor Bumpurs; Patrick Dorismond; Alberta Spruill; Sean Bell and the list goes on.
In these deaths of Blacks by White police (and Black police with fanonian complexes) the modus operandi of (police) justice is to first kill Blacks, then kill their character. Kill Garner then justify by saying he shoplifted. Kill Brown then justify by saying he looked like a demon. Kill Oscar Grant then justify by saying he had a weapon. Even if it was only a perceived weapon, as in Brown’s or Grant’s or Crawford III’s case. Or in Iraq’s case. They too ‘had’ weapons of mass destruction, and they, too were killed off for having perceived weapons. But, let’s stay in America and look into our past, and we see many cases of Blacks being killed off.
George Stinney was 95 lbs and 14 years old and had to sit on a phone book because he wasn’t tall enough to reach the electric chair to be killed off. After he was killed off for ‘sexually abusing’ two white girls, the autopsy report said that the girl whom he supposedly molested was NOT sexually abused. Yet for 70 yrs this executed child-man remained a completely black, killed-off character, literally and figuratively. It was only on 17 dec 2014 that this child was exonerated.
Stinney had no rights, but maybe he still wouldn’t if he was alive. Another Black man, Dred Scott was not killed off, but had his rights taken away. He was alive but had no rights to even be heard. A Black [slave] in Missouri, Scott’s owner had taken him to a free state where he sued for his freedom and the case went to the supreme court. Chief Justice Taney famously declared there that “Black people had no rights which the White man was bound to respect”.
Today, we cannot utter those words because it is not politically correct to voice out, illegal and unconstitutional, but actions can sometimes speak louder than words. The recent spate of killings of Blacks prove that white America is still ‘not bound’ to respect the rights of the Black man. From Dred Scott to Stinney to Michael Brown to Eric Garner, they all had a death sentence on the spot. First they killed them, then killed their character.
This is a love poem by Aya de Leon from Ferguson to Black residents, which describes the deep hurt Blacks feel when they’re killed off and their characters killed off. It is an informal emulation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43: “How Do I Love Thee?” published by the feminist wire (thefeministwire.com) on 22 Aug. 2014.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee with the blooming red rose of police bullets to thy firstborn sons.
Like a coy and unsigned suitor’s note leaving thee to wonder exactly who sent these flowers.
I love thee in the full knighthood of riot gear body armor that exposes only my amorous motives.
I love thee with the sharp cracking kiss of a baton on your tender temple, wrist, shoulder…
I love thee with the seductive siren perfume of tear gas.
I love thee with the steady, rumbling march of tanks on residential city streets.
I love thee with the warm, heavy-armed embrace of curfew and martial law.
I love thee with the sly lover’s denial in public, all the better to heighten my passion in night’s clandestine shadows.
And when thou would protest against my love with smoke and gas-choked breath,
I shall but love thee better after death.
After the death of these Blacks in history and now, does America not learn its lessons? If we say it has, and if we say we’ve come a long way (and undoubtedly we have, to some extent and more in some states) why do such crimes against humanity continue to repeat in sometimes strikingly similar ways in this twenty-first century country of affirmative action? One of the purposes of history is to learn lessons from it so we don’t repeat past fatal, life changing and cruel mistakes. We teach others lessons, but it is high time we teach ourselves a real history lesson- and give Blacks and all people of color the right to be respected. To breathe. To have rights without rallying for them, or without arresting our intellectuals who stand up for these constitutional rights. Without having to prove their worth or innocence because they’re first guilty before being innocent.