The world in which we live is full of danger, which means there is much evil and many amoral people intent on the demise of black people. Let’s call it Genocide. We see this in the multitudes of unarmed black people killed at the hands of the law. When I journey back in time to recall history, I am reminded of a time when slave catchers roamed the nation, under cover of law, to hold people of color in bondage. Today, the same thing is happening undercover law by the police. Not to mention the 21st Century version of slavery – prisons and jails. I am sure you know that the Constitution gives license to do this in the latest amendment added after slavery.
Back in the day people of African descent were required to carry “freedom papers” to prove they did not belong to another so-called human being and slaves were required to have a pass to leave the plantation. When they did not have papers or could not produce them, the encounter often ended with an outcome that resulted in a brutal act or death by the “Good Christian folk” who owned that slave. This was vital to upholding a system of racial slavery through a body of laws that restricted and criminalized black mobility and autonomy. The fact of the matter – slavery never ended!
These laws resulting in blackness being synonymous with enslavement and the movement and activities of black people were severely curtailed. There was no right to bear arms that were banned for the purpose of control. This applies to felon today! This legal system relied upon all white colonists to police and survey black bodies. They were the eyes and ears of the law, and the courts gave them great latitude in assessing where black people could and could not be at any given time.
Over time, the criminal justice slave system became more sophisticated with the courts requiring blacks to carry documents that validated their rights to be in certain spaces and their ability to navigate their freedom to move. Enslaved people carried pieces of paper called slave passes, documents written by their owners, which indicated their destination, time of departure, arrival and return, and sometimes the purpose of their journey.
Even free people of African descent were required to carry “freedom papers” at all times to validate their free status and hence delineate the places where they could be. Any white person, regardless of their legal authority, could demand to see these documents and interrogate a black person at any time, without any justifiable cause. If the black person in question could not produce such documents, they could be arrested, beaten, maimed or murdered with impunity. Today, they call this “Stop and Frisk”!
Towns and communities hired groups of white men, everyday citizens, to “patrol” Southern space, which was a more formal arm of this system of surveillance. These vigilantes had the power to control and police black movement in any way they saw fit, with the sanction of law behind their actions, no matter how brutal they might be. Black people lived in constant fear of these men that evolved into the KKK. Today, they call it “Stand your Ground”!
People of this ilk during and after Reconstruction created “Black Codes” as they sought to maintain cheap, servile labor force throughout the South, they also criminalized black movement and were arrested for violating Black Codes.
After the arrest, they were fined, jailed, and often-times their labor was sold to white landowners who forced them to work as though they were slaves again. Over time, this kind of law and order morphed into its most extreme and horrific manifestation; the lynching of African Americans throughout the twentieth century.
The legacy of America’s racial past is similar today in many ways. This mindset is part of the reason black males are suspicious and criminal to many whites who assume they are “up to something”! Simply because they were moving through what they perceive as their space believing it is their right to do so. It’s called liberty today!
Case in point a wealthy white dentist shot and killed a lion and the world is in an uproar. There is a black person – man, women, child – killed just about one per week by the police and white America do not exhibit the same uproar. Like the lion, black people are becoming endangered species, which in reality is the goal – genocide!
History is known to repeat itself, or it just remains the same. Some say; we are witnessing a return to America’s wretched past – I say it never changed – we just have accepted it! The system is designed to protect the system, and this whole idea speaks to privilege. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…