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.
AGAIN. I can't even...No fucking way. Yet here we are , witnessing yet another.ReplyDelete
What a mess of a country we are in.Delete
I could not begin to express my heartache and feelings as eloquently as you did. All I can add is that I am heartsick too, and NO, I see no major changes that can even begin to address this violence, and I believe your governor is truly an evil dick. At least your physical body may be feeling a tad better today? which is good.....but the heart......oh, hearts are hurting everywhereReplyDelete
I think DeSantis is an evil monster. And the worst part? He is NOT stupid.Delete
Yes to all you said. I can't talk about it. I'm praying for his mother.ReplyDelete
Times like this I wish I prayed.Delete
Your post was so eloquent and from the heart....a broken one. I could never have put it into words as well as you did. Your govern is evil incarnate. Sadly, he's not alone. I'm not of the Christian faith and not into the 'prayer thing'.....but if it would truly help, I'd be first in line at this point.ReplyDelete
I am exactly with you about the praying. How I wish it helped.Delete
I wrote about this today too, including an explanation that answers your question about what is happening that black cops killed a young black man. I won't rehash it here in your comments but did you know there was a sixth cop doing his worst along with the others, and that cop has not been fired, named or charged and all we know about him is that he is white. Hmmm. Race in America is a brutal story.ReplyDelete
But I'm glad you're feeling better!
Yes. I figured it out pretty quickly- justice is swift when the perpetrators are Black. Just one more form of racial hatred.Delete
Jesus Christ. The relentless barbarity of the state.ReplyDelete
And the people, too, I have to add. Too many of them, anyway.Delete
It's all plain awful--and it seems it will continue to go on and on in this country. The racism we built this nation on and with it so deep of a stain that we'll never escape it.ReplyDelete
I have no words for how much I despise Florida's horrific governor. I think you're right that he just might be the next President. He seems so adept at culture wars and stirring up the kind of hate that seems to win elections. I want to shut it all out, but I realize that that too comes from a place of privilege. It seems that we're just plain f--d. We've gotta burn it all down before we can ever having anything resembling the kind of country I long to live in.
Ooops. Not anonymous at all--Susan Z. from OhioDelete
Susan, I think your perspective of DeSantis is correct. He is wily and smart and has observed Trump well. If he does become president, the country may well be burned down before it's over.Delete
Oops. Not anonymous--Susan Z.ReplyDelete
truer words were never spoken. "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.ReplyDelete
And then we said The Pledge of Allegiance, our hands over our all-American red-blooded hearts."
Even as a child I hated saying the Pledge. Every fucking day in school we stood there, facing the flag repeating those words. I knew in my heart they weren't true.Delete
i don't have a flag in my room and we've never said it as a class in my building, even over the PA and for that i'm thankful. xxalainaxxDelete
Thank you for your words Mary as I have none to express my outrage at our society in this country right now. WTF .Well said and painfully trueReplyDelete
Words are not adequate, are they?Delete
I saw that sickening beating on the TV news last night and despaired once again for your country. Do they never stop to think the person they are beating could one day be themselves or a family member? does that not horrify them enough to stop? to say, "wait, what are we doing? This isn't right?"ReplyDelete
I have no idea what goes through their heads but it seems to me that some sort of primal animal killing thing comes over them. It's the only thing I can think of that would explain it.Delete
I don't think there is a predominantly white country anywhere in the world (apart from parts of Europe) that wasn't built on the blood and pain of others. What I don't get is how it continues to this very day. Enough already.ReplyDelete
Well, Europe definitely had its serfs and peons although they were generally the same color as the masters. I do not know why it continues though. Because it can, I guess.Delete
I started to watch that video but I just couldn't. Just why????????ReplyDelete
I can't. I just can't.Delete
Those county courthouses speak of solidity, pride, style and economic comfort. I remember parking right outside the lovely county courthouse in Moultrie, Georgia back in 2002. Some men were tending the surrounding lawns. They were dressed in prison clothes and all of those men were black. I said, "Good morning" to one of them and we talked for a while. He had never met anybody who was not American and I had never met anyone who resided in an American penitentiary. As you suggest, though slavery officially ended a long time ago the signs of it still remain. I have watched some of the bodycam footage of the night that Tyre Nichols's life ended and it is very hard to work out exactly what is going on but it is clear that he was not brandishing a weapon. I think he tried to flee because he was frightened. He did not deserve to die.ReplyDelete
I'm sure I've seen that courthouse, Mr. P.Delete
Take my word for it- prisoner labor is slave labor. There is no difference except that the master who is getting the free labor is the government. In this way we perpetuate the horror.
I am glad you spoke to that man. That was a grace-ful thing for you to do.
You have said it so well, just what I feel. Thank you.ReplyDelete
You are welcome, and thank you, Peter.Delete
Exactly this. Such awfulnessReplyDelete
Well said, Mary. It's tragic. Your words express my feelings.ReplyDelete
I wish I could write more fully what I feel but thank you, Ellen.Delete
Too awful to contemplate.And totally incomprehensible.ReplyDelete
Yes and yes.Delete
And the sad, horrific truth is that there will be another death at the hands of the police in the next week, nothing will change. With regard to your troll of a Governor, he may be popular in Florida, but I doubt he'll do well in the rest of the country.ReplyDelete
You are no doubt right about the fact that there will be another death at the hands of the police and probably sooner rather than later.Delete
I wish you were not right about that.
I fear, however that you may not be correct in your assumption of the rest of the country's feelings about DeSantis. Did Trump not get elected? Was he not hugely popular? DeSantis has studied his playbook and he is insane and he is also intelligent. A very, very dangerous combination. But how I HOPE you are right.
Trump for all of his derangement was charismatic. DeSantis, while intelligent is not, I give you as an example the debates with Crist, DeSantis looked like a fool. He's just not that good a speaker. I hope I'm right, because if I'm wrong and he does manage to carry it off in a Presidential election, we are well & truly fucked.Delete
Beautifully said Mary- good for you- brother whiteReplyDelete
Thank you, Brother.Delete
I can't even speak just thinking about what mothers must think of every day sending their children to school afraid they might be shot. Or letting their young son go to the corner for a soda pop. Or praying that their daughter will not become pregnant and be unable to obtain an abortion even to save her own life. As Buffy St. Marie said, "My country tis of thy people....you're dying!"ReplyDelete
I knew that your governor was trying to delete African American Studies but I thought it was in high school!!! College??? Public colleges? Where people go to learn about the world and how things work and run and great literature and philosophy? And art? African art and Persian Art and Greek Art? Those colleges are now going to pare down the only curriculum where people in our education system learn anything? We ARE dying!
Yes. We as mothers can all relate to the horror of the knowledge that none of the children are safe. Buffy St. Marie was right but now she might say, "You're fucked" instead of "You're dying."Delete
I don't know.
We are dying. We are also fucked.