It is in America’s DNA to mistrust and be fearful of black people or anyone who speaks out against the poor treatment of blacks. When the early boatloads of enslaved Africans reached the shores of the Americas in the early 1600’s, there was already a social order in place, that forced black people to the bottom of society. A century later, The Making of a Slave ( A speech that was said to have been delivered by Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712. Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to the colony of Virginia in 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners there) became the official blue print of how to totally destroy the black spirit and mind through physical violence. Since virtually every black person that arrived in the Americas or born on American soil during the first 300 years were considered slaves, essentially, the foundation of the New World was rooted in a social order that promoted and sustained itself by means of subjugating black people. Just think, slavery existed in the Americas for four centuries, while blacks have only been emancipated for 151 years in the United States.
With 300 years of psychological and physical damage to the minds of blacks and whites, who were programed to believe that the black man, woman and child were inherently inferior, makes the very difficult task of unlearning the systematic racism that exists deep in the pores of our culture, our laws and our everyday existence. Though we have made tremendous gains in technology and science; socially, we are still at an impasse. America still struggles and struggles terribly to treat black people as full citizens. It still does not give black people equal representation, opportunities, protection or privileges.
When we continue to see unnecessary force being used on black men, women and children by law enforcement, it is simply the reminisce and vestigial components of a time when to be black, meant that the black body belonged to someone else. As unfathomable as it may seem, unfortunately the laws in America continue to be enforced in this archaic fashion. A runaway slave did not get to determine his or her own path or plot in life. If a slave ran away, they were considered a fugitive. Depending on the values, economic standing or mindset of the slave owner, the fugitive slave might be spared upon capture, so that they could continue to produce and be profitable. However, there were times when an example had to be made. Black bodies were beaten, battered, crushed and torn on public display, so that anyone else who thought to runaway would surely be aware of the inevitable consequence of physical torture and in some cases death. These were the original policing practices of black people in America.
Centuries later we are still witnessing the outcomes. When the slave did not comply, they were beaten back into submission. In 1816, to comply was to acquiesce to being nothing more than an ox or a mule; a beast of burden. To be noncompliant meant to want to be free, to be human and to actually act upon those notions of freedom and dignity. Slavery in the United States was legally abolished in 1865 with the Thirteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, granted black people equal rights and protection under the law. However today, blacks are not asking to be freed. Black people are asking for equal protection. If a white man can sit in a parked car and not be approached or questioned or searched, then a black man should have that same right. Nonetheless, it seems as if law enforcement are still being trained in the ways of America’s barbaric past; under the philosophy that black people are inherently criminal.
The spirit of Willie Lynch and the Fugitive Slave laws are still entrenched in the social and cultural fabric of the United States and are alive and well within the legal system. Without equality, there can never be justice. Black people in America have been emancipated for well over a century, but in 2016, America’s ghosts continue to haunt her, one dead unarmed black body at a time.