Monday, August 18, 2014

The Tangled Web of Racism

I killed a spider the other day. It was where it didn't belong. More precisely, where I didn't want it to be: in my personal space. It posed no real threat that I couldn't manage. Clearly, I'm bigger and more powerful than it was. And even though it, too, was a living creature, I guess I didn't place as much value on its life as I did mine. Not saying that's right; it's how I've been conditioned. In fact, most people fear spiders, right? I'm sure they serve some purpose. What that purpose is, I have no idea. Never have been interested enough to discover what that is. So, without much thought, I killed it and moved on. I'm sure they'll be others and I'll probably eliminate them too. After all, in my rationale, they simply do not belong around me and I have no patience for "creepy things" that make me uncomfortable. And perhaps this is also the mindset of some white Americans and its view of black Americans.

Perhaps that's how white law enforcement officers saw Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Ramarley Graham, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, now Mike Brown, and so many other countless unarmed black men and women who lost their lives during an officer's "line of duty" or at the hands of a "concerned citizen." Perhaps that's why findings indicate that in a six-year span, a black man was murdered by a police officer on an average of twice a week in this country. Perhaps much like journalist Melissa Harris-Perry reminded us--in a piece chronicling this epidemic--that in 1857 Chief Justice Roger Tanney declared in the Supreme Court that Dred Scott had no right to sue for his freedom because, as a black man, he was never intended to be an American. Perhaps the black man was never intended to be seen as human either. And so, much like that spider, he, too, has become just another insignificant, annoyance that must be eliminated. Perhaps...