Askia MuhammadOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Too Late to Try to Intimidate Folks With Nooses

At my age, I’m not so certain I can just vanquish a young skinhead, “Alt-Reich,” “Alt-Right,” Nazi, KKK mob singlehandedly. But I certainly believe that so long as I am not the aggressor in any confrontation, the Creator and the laws of nature will favor me to prevail. At least, I reckon, one of them will end up in as bad a condition as me.

I’ve not written about personally engaging in physical violence, not in decades of bylines. But today, with jokers hanging nooses at school yards and museums, and with U.S. military personnel in civilian attire being stabbed to death in separate incidents in Portland, Oregon and College Park, Maryland, I have become much more sensitive to my surroundings when I’m out in the public.

In words and actions, an old white bully has reemerged. Emboldened by the rambunctiousness of the 45th president of the United States, who promised once to pay the legal defense for a 70-year-old white man who sucker-punched a 20-something black man who was already in police custody for protesting during a Trump campaign rally.

I see their ugly online rants. They love to use the vilest profanity. When they address Muslims, they fill their mouths full of swine jokes, especially referencing bacon. Some of the fast food providers seem to have fallen in line, adding that filthy meat to every imaginable menu item. To me, it appears political. “Wave the bacon flag. Then they’ll know we’re a real patriotic, Amerikkkan company here.” … Oh, and don’t forget the ugly references to goats and sex when Muslims are the targets of their hate.

It’s like the tolerance in rural Greenwood, Mississippi — 30 miles from my hometown — in the summer of 1955, when two saddle-tramp brothers went with a posse of tough guys like themselves to the home of Emmett Till’s uncle to get the 14-year-old Chicago kid, visiting for the summer, a lesson in “Mississippi Manners.” It’s called “eyeball rape,” and all “niggers” (the commonly used term at the time) need to know that it comes with a death sentence.

So, Emmett’s own uncle, surrendered the child without protest, confessing later he thought they would only “beat” the boy … only “beat” the boy and so you surrender your own flesh and blood to a lynch mob? The hatred was so intense and even acceptable in the eyes of white folks, that after a two-hour show trial, the two “good ol’ boys” were acquitted, then knowing they couldn’t be tried again, they confessed their crime in an interview with a national news magazine. Such days of docile acceptance of wanton racial violence will not be accepted today.

The Kluxers today think that behind The Donald and his war council, they will have a near gain and a short journey over all of their adversaries, because? Because they are Amerikkkans! USA! USA! Mission accomplished! Not! Their nooses, their murders will not stop the uprising among Black people in this country demanding Freedom, Justice, and Equality; let alone turn the clock back to a time before Emmett Till.

The racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, Muslim haters with their daily displays of hate, are making the mistake Amilcar Cabral warned revolutionaries against a half century ago: “Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories.” That’s all they do. The 45th president appears to often prefer his own made up lies to the scientific truth. His supporters are overjoyed.

To be sure, there is a cadre of Black youth who may appear to be hopelessly lost to vice and low achievements. But when Michael Brown was unjustly murdered by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri three years ago, I saw them on the news reports: on their bicycles, popping wheelies, wearing so-called “wife beater” undershirts with their pants sagging, because that’s the way they were dressed when they got “woke.”

That rage became “Black Lives Matter,” became Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, became “Justice Or Else,” became “10,000 Fearless” ready to take to the streets to say, in no uncertain terms, this tyranny cannot persist.

Their hands, dripping in blood from Korea, to Vietnam, to the Dominican Republic, to Grenada, to Panama, to Iraq, to Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan, back to Iraq again, to Libya, Syria, are now draping nooses on U.S. school yards and libraries.

How can the haters believe with their noose-language and murders that they can still defend the homeland, if they’ve disenfranchised a third of the people and turned them against their bigotry disguised as patriotism? What homeland?

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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