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The (Not So) Strange Fruit of America’s Modern-Day Lynching

Stop saying kneeling is Anti-American.


There’s no way of properly documenting the number of lynchings of black people throughout American history. The deaths of many of these citizens occurred while they were counted property or as free men throughout the 20th century. While racial tensions boiled over in the southern United States, the hangings of black Americans was a national epidemic that poisoned all areas of the Red, White, and Blue.

If you ask Americans if they believe if lynching people of color is something that we need to be worried about in today’s society, there’s a hefty percentage that will let out a resounding no. Honestly, they aren’t wrong; we don’t regularly see black people snatched from their homes in the middle of the night only to be strung up and executed in front of an audience. However, there is a modern-day style of lynching that not only includes the murder of black bodies but of character, stripping people of integrity and attacking their morality both before and after facts have been presented.

***

American terrorist James Harris Jackson traveled from his home in Baltimore, Maryland, to New York City with the sole purpose of killing as many black men as he could. The 28-year-old decorated Army veteran unleashed his evil during St. Patrick’s Day weekend when he found his victim, 66-year-old Timothy Caughman, a man who stayed afloat financially by collecting cans from the trash. Jackson pulled out a sword and repeated stabbed Caughman while he was digging through a garbage can. The victim stumbled into a police station bleeding and injured before he died. Jackson turned himself in and told police that this murder was just practice. He intended on unleashing a bloodbath of slayings against black people in America’s media capital.

No, Caughman’s body wasn’t hanging from a tree, but he was like the thousands of black men, women, and children in history who have been stalked, chased down, assaulted, kidnapped, and murdered because of the skin color assigned to them before birth.

***

National Football League star Colin Kaepernick has been a vocal leader in the new wave civil rights movement, but he has been met with opposition from within the league while facing public scrutiny. His decision to kneel during the national anthem was a silent protest against the oppression of people of color and the killings of primarily unarmed black people by law enforcement. Folks went wild and viewed Kaepernick’s actions as a personal affront to their patriotism. Point is, it was easier for them to be offended by his actions than it was to take the time to investigate problematic racial issues plaguing our society.

Now Kaepernick faces a dilemma. He’s free agent in the NFL and has yet to be picked up by any team. Considering his record and longevity in the league, this is highly irregular, leaving analysts to believe that Kaepernick has been blackballed. He was the 17th-best starting quarterback in the NFL last season, but somehow can’t seem to get an offer from any of the 32 teams. It wasn’t a secret that he ruffled feathers with his kneeling protest and post-game interviews where he openly spoke out about political and racial subjects troubling our nation.

He was denigrated. People purchased his jersey only to record themselves lighting it on fire. He was accused of treason, being anti-American, anti-police, anti-white, and anti-establishment. Kaepernick was the subject of negative articles, memes, and social media posts from people that were committed to tearing down his name. All because he knelt down to stand up for those whose voices go unheard.

The sad thing is, people will go above and beyond to vilify Kaepernick, but they’ll remain silent about people such as James Harris Jackson. Who’s really anti-American between these two?

***

So what we’re telling the world is soccer player Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who was convicted of having his ex-girlfriend killed and fed to dogs, can return to his sport. Dozens of American football players physically abuse their significant others, sometimes with the incidents caught on camera, and after being arrested and enduring public scandals, they pay a fine and continue to be celebrated as they make their way back on to the field after a short-lived suspension. However, Colin Kaepernick takes a stance against the oppression of people of color which turned into an international movement to help spread awareness, donated $50k to ship food and water to Somalia in the midst of their record-breaking famine, and gave $50k to Meals on Wheels after President 45’s budget slashed the Health and Human Services funding by 18 percent, but he’s the problem.

They aren’t stringing him up from a tree either, but they’re hoping to murder something within Kaepernick, or any others that follow him, by making him an example. When black people were lynched, their decaying bodies were left hanging from trees and posts for days, often as warnings for others that they, too, could find themselves on the wrong side of a rope if they didn’t fall in line.

Our modern-day lynchings come in the form of technology and media, and you don’t even have to be a celebrity-type figure to experience it. People are losing friends, loved ones, their jobs, their social circles, and even being shunned and asked to leave their churches because they’re standing up for inequity. When faced with adversity, will you still march? Will you still protest when white nationalists go recruiting in your neighborhoods or schools? Will you still speak up? Will you donate you time and resources to those in need? How will you respond when the mob mentality comes chasing you down with the ropes of oppression and torches of injustice like thieves in the night?

Kneel anyway.

Read next: American Slavery
Erika Marie
Erika Marie

Imperfect Christian. Spiritualist. Writer. Diviner. Activist. Dark. Lovely. Wakandan. Crafter of @xoearthie. Insta: @EarthToErikaMarie. Twit: @EarthToEMarie. www.xoearthie.com

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The (Not So) Strange Fruit of America’s Modern-Day Lynching
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