Open Season on African Americans


by E. Faye Williams

(—I read with interest that our neighbors directly to the south, in Virginia, were experiencing an uptick in the numbers and presence of coyotes. Although dog-like in appearance, these predators threaten outside pets and other small wildlife. In rural areas, wild hogs destroy millions of dollars of commercial agriculture. Even normally non-threatening animals have become problems. Locally, Dulles Airport programs hunt for deer to reduce the potential for aircraft-deer collisions on runways! The expanding range of what’s called “nuisance” animals has created increasing problems.

Except for programmed hunts, elimination of these nuisance animals is open to individual citizens. There’re no limits or special requirements.  A farmer experiencing crop damage may kill as many offending hogs as his judgment considers necessary.  Unlike “game” animals, there are no closed seasons—it is ALWAYS open season for nuisance animals.  Sadly, it appears as though many in this country have come to emotionally accept the fate of the nuisance animal as comparable with the fate of African Americans and other people of color.

The recurring murders of people of color demonstrate a callous disregard for the lives and humanity of the victims.  This is not new!  Further back than anyone living can remember, African Americans were brutalized and murdered without regard for their circumstance or humanity.

In memory, there was no or little difference between law enforcement and the KKK. The badge you saw during the day was replaced by a hood at night. In Black communities, law enforcement’s only mandate—“control the niggras!” This mandate gave complete license to law enforcement to be as brutally creative as they chose. The Black community was at the complete whim, mood or mercy of any law enforcement person they might meet.

The woes of Black folks were increased by the activities of the “night riders,” the Ku Klux Klan or similar organizations.  Their extra-legal activities gave a new dimension to controlling the Black community.  Their activities are legendary. A Black person was fearful of looking at a White person in a manner that could be perceived as insolent or disrespectful.  This was dramatically demonstrated by the fate of Emmitt Till.  No wonder most Blacks cowered and looked down in the presence of a White person. The foundation of their control was fear.

Considering how far we’ve come in time, most would pray and think that we are long past those times. They would be wrong!

Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and now, Jacob Blake are more notable names on a long list of victims of .  Neither age, gender, nor social status distinguishes one from another. Their common characteristic is their race. Whether a part of the culture of their agency or the result of an established personal bias, officers involved with those individuals have chosen “nigga control” above “serving and protecting.”

In addition to the travesties of the police, we’re now menaced by a new generation of “White supremacist vigilantes.” The most recent example is given in the person of Kyle Rittenhouse. He is 17.  He’s a resident of Illinois and lived 21 miles from Kenosha, WI. His mother drove him and his AR-15 to Kenosha where he, according to an interview (with him), was there to do his “duty” to protect property and maintain order. This terrorist killed two and severely wounded a third. Right-wing analysts and #45 weigh in with the opinion Rittenhouse’s activities were appropriate and his actions were taken in self-defense.

If this trend is called “Making America Great Again,” I want no part of it and will VOTE to do my part toward eliminating the leadership which condones and encourages this type of violence.

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is President of the National Congress of Black Women.)

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