Yes, yes, yes. I have posted almost exactly this same picture at least a dozen times. It is the Jefferson County courthouse in Monticello, Florida. This is the view facing north. It is a lovely and fairly typical small county southern courthouse. Yes, we try to make everything look like a fucking plantation house or at least the plantation house we all envision from watching Gone With the Wind but trust me- there were and still are plenty of those monstrous houses in the south, the oldest of them built by enslaved human beings. This particular courthouse was built in 1909 so it was probably built by "free" Black men for the most part and by free I do not mean they worked for nothing but most likely right next to it.
And here we are. 2023 and Tyre Nichols, a beautiful young man who, from all accounts did not have an evil bone in his body, was beat to death by five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.
Who were also Black.
Have I watched the video?
There is no way in hell.
I have no words to relate how I feel about the death of this man who was guilty of nothing, nothing, nothing and certainly not anything deserving of execution by police officers.
If I was the mother of a Black son, I don't know how I would stand the fear of having my child out of my sight, no matter how old, how able, how professional, how educated, how well-mannered, how peaceful, how rich, how good and kind he was. I would say that what happened to Tyre Nichols is beyond imagining but of course, it is not.
Except for the part about the color of the officers who killed him. Who could have imagined that? What is happening here?
I do not know.
But I do know this- the governor of my state is trying, as we speak, to disallow the teaching of an African American studies course in college AP classes in Florida. He claims the course amounts to indoctrination.
Take my word for this- DeSantis is ALL for indoctrination. Just not the kind that doesn't try to push the idea that the white race is the right race, that real history is white history, and that people of any color beyond ecru, or of any gender besides cis-male, are not worthy of the rights and freedoms and opportunities that this country opines to offer.
He is proud of the slogan- "Florida- where woke goes to die."
The governor of my state. And let me tell you this- he is going to run for president and I would not be the least surprised if he won.
I'm rambling. Again.
But it's all connected from the first people forced into the hold of a slave ship and brought to these shores to do the work that white people considered too hard and too brutal for anyone but animals to do, to the complete lack of education for Black and white students about what was done to and done by the people who were forced to labor like oxen under the unbearable sun of the south, resulting in ignorance-based racism, the tolerance of violence against people (especially men but also women) of color, and the total lack of any sort of reparations or even simple acknowledgement and apology for what has been done and what is being done right this very second and will keep being done until major, major changes are made and I see no sign of that happening any time soon.
I was going to write this evening about feeling a little better (no test results yet), going to Monticello, having a lovely lunch with my husband sitting outside on the chilly patio so as not to give anyone covid if I do have it, the gorgeousness of another perfect Florida winter day, the way my arugula is growing, blah, blah, and blah.
And that would have been okay.
But my heart is too sad, my mind is too confused at the vast differences between rhetoric and reality, my mother-soul is so sore and aching, thinking about any child calling out for mama whose pleas go unanswered. I feel that like a hot knife in my gut.
This country was supposedly a grand and beautiful experiment but it never really was. It was established on the blood of the people whose land we took and then it was built with the labor of enslaved people, trafficked people, disrespected and disdained people of all colors and nationalities while the powerful people, the rich people, controlled everything and everyone like puppeteers, and we all stood in the audience and we laughed and we laughed until we cried.
And then we said The Pledge of Allegiance, our hands over our all-American red-blooded hearts.
That's all I have to say tonight.