Modern American Lynching

Even though I did not support him as a candidate, when Barack Obama was elected, in my white liberal hope for the future of this country, I said this was a dagger in the heart of the endemic racism in American society. More the fool was I.

Four months ago a 68 year old black man in White Plains, New York inadvertently set off his Lifeline medical alert device. The police responded to this possible medical problem, knowing that Mr. Kenneth Chambers had a heart problem, by breaking down his door, tasering and then fatally shooting him after he told them that he was fine and didn't want them in his house. A month ago seventeen year old African-American Trayvon Martin, walking home with Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea was gunned down by white police wannabe George Zimmerman because he looked “suspicious”.

These are the forms that modern American lynching takes place. The U.S. was formed on the basis of the twin evils of slavery of Africans and the genocide and theft of land from the Native Americans. James Madison, the main author of the U.S. Constitution wrote that the true nature of the slaves was that of inhabitants debased by servitude “considered by our laws, in some respects, as persons, and in other respects as property” and that “it will not be denied that these are the proper criterion.” The enslavement of African people and their descendants was seen as necessary for the development of the New World.

By 1774 slaves constituted nearly 20 percent of the total private wealth of the white male landowners of the thirteen colonies. This status of humans as property continued for the first seventy years of this country as capitalism developed out of the exploitation of slaves and the Native Americans. The conditioning of poor and low class whites used the idea of white supremacy as a method of controlling both them and their supposed inferiors. For the past two hundred plus years the message of the educational system, the politics, the culture and the churches has reinforced the idea that in some ways black people are less than human.

In June 2010, Anthony Hill was shot in the head and then dragged behind a truck in South Carolina by a white man. Theresa Ardoin was similarly beaten to death and dragged behind truck last year in Beaumont Texas. In 1998, James Byrd Jr. was beaten and then dragged behind a truck in Jasper Texas until his head came off. The ugly face of racism lives in every nook and cranny of this country. Malcolm X once said that, “Everything south of the U.S.-Canadian border is the South”.

Until all Americans are willing to look at and come to grips with the real evils that are part of the foundations of this country and the cause of many of the current situations, we cannot have the exceptional, just and democratic society we have been told exists for all.
Larry Kerschner  3681 Cooks Hill Road Centralia WA  360-880-4741