Here we are, centuries of generations passed when the first colonizers stepped foot on our indigenous elders sacred land to begin their horrifying brutal campaign of slaughter and slavery in the establishment of our far from “perfect union” only to witness that this historical brutality continues to enslave our progress as we mourn the executed lynching of Troy Anthony Davis. Michelle Alexander did not lie when she said that we are experiencing “The New Jim Crow.”
There really is no way to put the legacy of violence, hatred and systematized oppression into words, tears or action. This is hard to do because we live in a world where the oppressive hand of colonialism can put people through hundreds of years of violent oppression and boldly stare them in the face in 2011 and say that the past has no bearing on the present. Millions of men, women and children have died at the hands of American barbarism through war, slavery, “territorial expansion”, the death penalty, police brutality, etc. but they will point the finger at the man behind bars and say that “he’s the criminal.”
Our nation’s addiction to violence, co-opted by our laws and upheld by the highest court in the state of Georgia and our Supreme Court of The United States has unjustly liberated Troy Davis. While he was living he found freedom in his confinement. However, even more oddly, the lethal injection that he received for a crime that he swore to his last breath that he never committed, liberated him from the hypocritical bullshit that we must fight daily with compassionate understanding and fixed resoluteness.
“The length of black life is treated with short worth.” Mos Def
It is really hard for me to go forward in confidence. It is really hard for me to believe in our humanity when the life of a man who was not proven guilty and whose potential innocence has gone with him to grave was a living representation of many other men who look like me. It is even harder when we come to understand, look at it plainly in the face with unflinching honesty and simply say, “It ain’t nothin’ new.” The history of violence against innocent men of African descent goes back to slave holdings in West Africa, before the first slave ships headed west to begin a long legacy of rationalized hatred and violence. The continuation of that illness in the new millennium is a giant step backwards. “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” is what W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in 1903 and in 2011 that problem is still asking for resolution.
The deeper, sadder, completely irrational (insane) side of this American nightmare is that I know, emphatically, that it could happen to me, someone I know and love, or simply any other black/brown bodied individual. Yes … I am Troy Davis. So, the next time you wonder why “black people” seem angry, or have a chip on their shoulder, or are quick to “play the race card” … remember Troy Davis (the latest in a line of innocent black men that have been murdered by the “authorities” of this land).