Monday, July 15, 2013

Your Presence is a Crime against the state--every glance of the eye is a threat

"Your very presence is a crime against the state, every glance of the eye is a threat."--Richard Wright, Native Son

Novelist Richard Wright wrote those words for the defense attorney in the trial of the hero Bigger Thomas, who killed a white woman in fear. But we can say the words apply to Dred Scott, subject of the 1857 Supreme Court Case when Chief Justice Taney said, "No black man has rights a white man is bound to respect." Taney's words came again to haunt us when Emmitt Till was murdered in Mississippi for reckless eyeballing and whistling at a white women. These days, the black man is killed simply for walking while black.

James Baldwin took issue with Richard's notion that Bigger Thomas represented the feelings of the Black nation, that we would ever feel so isolated and depressed that we would resort to murder, and yet on this day, a black mother of a son uttered the words that she felt like getting a gun to kill the first white people she saw on the street. Of course, by 1968, James Baldwin, in an interview with me, stated it was a wonder we all haven't gone stark raving mad, and that it was a miracle for a black father to raise a son in such a hostile environment. Does America understand or give a damn about the fears of black mothers and fathers while their sons are out on a night in town? Of course not, after all, whites need not fear for their sons if they are stopped walking or driving while white!

In Amiri Baraka's Dutchman, the young black man Clay asked the white woman Lula what was their conversation about? She replied, "It's about you. Everything we've been discussing is about you and nothing else." America is about race and nothing else. It has always been about race and nothing else. To quote James Baldwin, "Nothing else happened here but you (the black man)!" To suggest any other topic of importance is grand denial since America is essentially  about the containment of the African slave population so whites can enjoy white privilege, i.e.,  their version of freedom, democracy, capitalism and Christianity.

For the Africans caught in the American slave system, there is only one question: how do we liberate ourselves finally and totally, by whatever means necessary? If it doesn't happen today, surely it will happen tomorrow, for sure, the giant shall not be contained, and if need be, he shall liberate himself, and if necessary, destroy America in the process, but he shall be free!
--Marvin X

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