Once again, the great America is making headlines.
In this month of July, there is nothing glorious about the summary executions of African-Americans by white police officers. No offense to those capable of reading the thoughts of those trigger-happy police officers—they are racists. This hunt for black prey shows to what extent America is not recovering from its most serious affliction: racism. Isn’t this the country where a candidate for the next presidential election publicly gushes xenophobia and entire crowds applaud?
When I was an adolescent, I loved Westerns. With great jubilation, I followed the exploits of those palefaces who killed the Apaches as easily as flies. I admired the strongest, the one who drew his weapon at lightning speed, who got himself out of the most complicated situations, leaving no survivors. I perceived the cowboys as good men who were ridding humanity of “bad guys,” in other words, “redskins,” and those whose faces were anything but pale.
At that time, I never wondered why, in these Westerns, blacks always had the role of servants or fools. However, these films conveyed an ideology: the supremacy of the white man. The evidence is obvious: Reason is found at the end of a gun barrel.
As an adolescent, I learned that African-Americans fought for their civil rights, their human dignity. Without the right to vote, they were even forbidden from accessing numerous public spaces, just like dogs. On public transportation, they were obligated to sit in the back of the bus and to give up their seat for any white passenger if it was crowded.
I learned that the Ku Klux Klan, a criminal organization advocating white supremacy, lynched and hanged black people with impunity. I was only 13 years old when Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the nonviolent leader of the civil rights movement, was assassinated by a white man. He had become the CIA’s number one target. For what did they blame him? The act of fighting to be recognized fully as a man.
If white America treated its African-American community fairly, why would James Brown have sung “I’m Black and I’m Proud”? Why would the poet Langston Hughes have written “I, Too, Am America”? And James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time”? All of this has left its mark on my 20th century childhood and allowed me to understand the “black question” in the United States.
I have often heard preachers affirm that “blacks are exaggerating,” that “they have a victim complex.” Perhaps, but those whom the police continue to kill, do they represent a threat to public order? Were they armed? Little Tamir Rice, 12 years old, playing with a fake pistol—did he represent a danger to the white police officer who killed him? Isn’t it curious to see that for years, jurors who come to a decision on these affairs are white people who exonerate the alleged perpetrators? Where I am from, there is a saying that goes: The cockroach cannot be innocent in a court where the hen is the judge. Fortunately for humanity, not all white Americans are racists.