by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
I only just saw this and perhaps many of our readers have already seen it, but it's incredible. And I say one thing with regards to the comments I read on You Tube; it's pointless responding to the racists that support this and justify it for whatever reason. They are pathetic cowards who have found a secure little niche for themselves in front of a computer screen. As I watched this I could barely control my anger. If it was my daughter I'd want to kill him. At school, we were beaten with sticks. But it was the norm. If I complained, my dad would add another beating. But this is a man, a white man in the South and he is armed. Any person and especially a white person, with a grain of decency should condemn him.
As it happened I am in the middle of reading about Reconstruction as I was informed of this event. I happened to be reading about the resistance of the now freed black population in the South to signing contracts and going to work for the same people who owned them as slaves, their land had been returned to them. I do not have time to go into it here but there was resistance to this in many forms throughout the South. The now free or so-called free black population was in a war to get what they fought for, and thousands of them fought for the Union Army. There were also heroic Union officers that supported the freedmen, officers who were removed from their posts.
Newly freed slaves refused to comply with eviction orders to leave land they'd settled. They were asked to "forgive" their former masters. here is one response to that:
"You ask us to forgive the landowner of our island. You only lost your right arm in a war and might forgive them. The man who tied me to a tree and gave me 39 lashes and stripped and flogged my mother and my sister and will not let me stay in his empty hut except I will do his planting and be satisfied with his price and who combines with others to keep away land from me well knowing I would not have anything to do with him if I had land of my own------that man, I cannot well forgive. Does it look as if he has forgiven me, seeing how he tries to keep me in a condition of helplessness."
And when we witness the same institutionalized racism being carried out today in "peacetime" 150 years later these comments from that past seem almost prophetic.
“No land, no house, not so much as a place to lay our head…..Despised by the world, hated by the country that gives us birth, denied all our writs as a people, we were friends on the march….brothers on the battlefield, but in the peaceful pursuits of life it seems that we are strangers.”
I read one nasty comment on You Tube about "black aggression". What gall, what sheer hypocrisy. One wants to invoke a little "aggression" on the author of that statement I have to say. It's like when workers are forced out on strike and defend ourselves against police violence used to break it that we are accused of being violent as if taking away ones livelihood isn't itself an act of violence.
What we see in the protests against police brutality, racism, discrimination in all aspects of society, housing, employment, etc is black people, mostly workers, acting in self defense against a society in which racial discrimination and violence is endemic. We are all victims of it, but not all in equal doses.
I read that this young girl struck out at this psychopath. Good for her. It is yet another example of black self defense, it's as old as history here. As Emiliano Zapata once said, "Better to die on my feet than live on my knees."