The Downsizing of the Lynch Mob
There’s an old axiom unique to our history that what goes around comes back around, that the things we most sinfully covet may be repressed, but will always linger just enough until a future time of revival, under a more tolerably masked identity. An example would be how slavery was outlawed, but, after emancipation, evolved into sharecropper indentured servitude through credit for farming tools so onerous those debts could never be repaid. When that system of slavery finally collapsed in the World War II era, the lust to preserve the means of keeping blacks in bondage spurred this new century’s recreation of the old plantation system through the innovative private prison industrial complex, where big corporations can tap cheap or no cost labor, as did BP Oil when megagallons of oil, washed up from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, necessitated cleanup of the Gulf Coast beaches.
Inequality for blacks once was a cherished means for poor whites to feel at least a rung above the lowest, those separate restrooms and water fountains, balcony required movie theater and back of the bus seats, and all of that other stuff. But the revival of those good-old-days of Jim Crow had to await a sympathetic United States Supreme Court ruling that basically declared racial animus no longer exists; the Civil Rights Act therefore equally irrelevant as those old laws that denied corporations their right to be people just like you and me. Voter ID becomes a legitimate means to restore racial inequality, though out of sight of SCOTUS justices truly wearing the blindfold of a revered but antiquated statue.
Thank the Lord, at least, that we have so evolved as a people that the history of the lynch mobs has become impolite to talk about, the very last lynching so 1968 ago that even a Google search fails to identify the name of that last victim on record. Anybody know who he or she was? Does anybody really care? I mean, we don’t travel for miles to enjoy and picnic around such entertainments anymore, so let that last gone-to-the-rope rest peacefully anonymous in respect for a forgiven nation. Yet still this means of keeping black people from full citizenship, mindful of their betters, has been another loss to white privilege that lingers in those wistful for days gone by.
Then comes Trayvon Martin, that cocky (dare some say “uppity”) black man—and don’t say he was a child, because 16-year-old blacks are not children; never have been nor never will be—he brought it all on himself for scaring poor George, who had a right to defend himself when the pot-smoking vandal didn’t show proper respect by subordinating himself to a stranger at least considerably paler in skin tone, maybe not white enough, but close enough. Besides, black males have no business walking around after the sun goes down unless they’re looking for trouble. Poor George was just looking after his neighbors, alone, and in brave pursuit of a hoodied black. How was he to know Martin was one of those neighbors he was on watch duty to protect, not a menacing one of them.
So how dare the President lecture us about race? Go on and on, even declaring he could have been Trayvon Martin 35 years ago? Really, did anything he said make any sense? After all, we didn’t have anything to do with what happened that night, so how unpresidential of him to even comment on something that should not concern him. The jury ruled. Time to move on.
Why didn’t Obama, when he had to admit things were not as bad as they used to be, at least applaud, as an example, that we don’t form lynch mobs anymore to hang people like Martin, that, as we the people have been downsized by corporate persons, political persons have downsized the rope to a gun in the hands of a mob of one. More efficient than the excesses of those in the too-much-black-blood-on-too-many-white-hands olden days, don’tcha think? And cheaper, too, than a black man alive to tell his side of the story.