Modern Day Lynchings

It’s finals week for me and I’m coming to the conclusion of my first semester as a seminary student.  I’m currently in the midst of writing a paper about the Black Church’s response (or lack thereof) to police brutality in the Black community. Sadly, I’m coming to the conclusion that what has been happening to Black bodies is intentional and meant to send a clear message. What we have been seeing with the deaths, non-indictments, and lack of justice for Black people are modern-day lynchings. Historical sources, studies of the police and legal materials have shown that the police brutality takes place today in minority communities is sociologically and historically related to lynching. Historically speaking, lynchings were meant to send messages. These acts were far more than the murder of one Black person, they were a tool used to control the entire Black population. Lynchings were meant to maintain a social order, and to constantly remind Blacks that they would never have the freedom and equality that whites did. Lynchings weren’t about the victim being guilty or innocent, they were about turning the victim into a symbol that sent a message to the Black community. Seeing a Black person hanging from a tree, was a reminder to every Black person that no matter what they achieved, how polite they were, or how educated they were they would never be granted the same dignity and protection under the law as whites. The message that is being sent now through police brutality is the same message that was being sent through lynchings. The deaths of Blacks at the hands of the police and vigilantes like George Zimmerman, are not about whether their victims were guilty or innocent. If it were, they would have let it be handled by a court of law, which is where guilt and innocence is decided (or supposed to be) in this nation. These deaths were meant send a message to the Black community. No matter what you achieve, no matter how polite you are, not matter how educated you are, or how many times a Black man gets elected as President, you will never be granted the dignity and protection that whites have under the law. It’s just disheartening to see that even after all of the “progress” that’s been made with race relations in our country, that we’re still essentially fighting the same issues all over again.

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