Monday, March 10, 2014

Every Month is Stop-and-Shoot-Blacks Month

February's over but the celebration never ends.

The verdicts matter. Zimmerman’s acquittal lent legal imprimatur to the understanding that it is open season on young black men; Dunn’s mistrial on the key charge of murder did nothing to discredit that. But these tales go beyond the legal arena: they reflect a violent, racist culture in which the black body, particularly when it is young and male, is considered fair game. One can list only so many isolated incidents before it becomes impossible to deny a pattern.

When it comes to “stand your ground” laws, it appears there is no ground that free black men are entitled to that cannot be violated by a skittish, trigger-happy white male. Add this freelance stop-and-shoot to the official stop-and-frisk, and you have a large portion of the nation living in a state of terror rooted in policy, practice and culture. It is depressingly emblematic of how little black people feel their lives are valued that Darrin Manning’s mother said, after his police encounter, “I’m just grateful that they didn’t just kill him.”

According to a 2013 report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a black person is killed by police, security guards or vigilantes every twenty-eight hours. Add to that the fact that one in ten young black men is behind bars and one in two has been arrested, and America starts to look more and more like a huge penal colony, even as the challenge to the black community shifts from the discriminatory to the existential.

This is not just a problem for black people any more than the NSA’s intrusions are just a problem for Muslims. In a world where some need papers to prove their freedom, nobody is truly free. “As citizens, we must prevent wrong-doing,” argued Hannah Arendt. “Because the world in which we all live, wrong-doer, wrong-sufferer, and spectator, is at stake.”
Younge never uses the word, but the unpunished murders of innocent African-Americans is plain and simple lynching.

Somebody check - are there even anti-lynching laws on the books?

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