Modest Proposal Regarding the Attempted Re-Murder of Emmett Till
“They murdered that boy, and to hide their dastardly act, they tied barbed wire to his neck and to a heavy gin fan and dumped him into the river for the turtles and the fish.” Prosecutor Gerald Chatham
That boy is still dead. News at 10.
I’m neither a doctor, scientist nor shaman. But I think once you have made a hueman boy carry 75-pound cotton-gin fan, strip him naked, beat him damn near to death, snatch out his eye, and then shoot him in the head, and then tie his fresh corpse to a cotton-gin fan with barbed wire (to keep his dead body from escaping?), and then throw his body into the to the bank of the Tallahatchie River, it would be reasonable to conclude that black boy is irrevocably, irreversibly, irretrievably dead. No need to kill him again.
Nevertheless, this is precisely what, to quote Martin Luther King Jr. before the first time he was murdered, “some of our sick white brothers” have been regularly attempting. Perhaps you have heard: Since 2007, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center has placed a sign commemorating Till’s murder at the location where his body was found.
The first sign was stolen. Maybe they beat it and threw in it the river, for old time’s sake.
The second sign was riddled with over 100 bullets. On July 26th of this year, the replacement sign was shot up. Maybe some sick white re-murderer should revise Lionel Richie to fit this new tradition: once…twice…three times a murder.
Nevertheless, as Black people have done throughout the American nightmare (deeply interwoven with dreams and visions: the beautiful jazz of our witness), let’s look at the bright side. See the cup half full. Make lemons into lemonade.
I submit a modest proposal to reduce racial violence in the United States. At least against people.
I agree with Martin that, despite the impression given by sensationalist media, only some of our white brothers are some of our sick white brothers. Although discerning who the some are can be a wearisome exercise. But clearly there are some whom the Good Lord has handed over to reprobate minds. There are some so entrenched in America’s original sin and founding deformity, racistitis, that nothing can change their minds. Not a Civil War, Reconstruction, Silent March, Civil Rights Movement, Michael Jordan nor Michael Jackson can change their minds.
So here is my proposal: Legalize the re-murder of dead Black people. Encourage it. Sponsor it. If some of our sick white brothers spend their time, energy and ammo re-murdering Black people, perhaps they will have nothing left to kill living Black people.
Think about it. We can place signs next to every Civil Rights memorial for some sick white brothers to shoot. Create legal civil rights memorial shooting zones. Place a sign next to the Dr. King memorial. Designate hotel rooms strategically located for long distance shooters.
The Memorial to 4400+ lynched black men, women and children in Montgomery Alabama is a particularly attractive possibility. Some sick white brothers wouldn’t even need guns. Just hand out tire irons, baseball bats, bricks, and of course knives for their enjoyment. They can use the knives to cut off souvenirs to proudly feature in family Facebook posts with their children.
We can create a Trayvon Martin memorial so some sick white brothers can practice standing their ground.
By exhausting their hateful time, energy and ammo re-killing Black people (and Native Americans, LGBTQs, Muslims, Jews, righteous white people, etc. etc. etc.) they can be properly marginalized. Groups of some sick white brothers legally shooting signs will quickly lose sexiness for media coverage. Signs don’t bleed, and if it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead, right?
Media coverage would run alongside viral video of dancing cats and random car crashes in the evening news, causing news casters to chuckle unconvincingly.
Then Huemans of all hues can figure out what kind of country we want to be; what kind of people we want to be; and issue demands on ourselves to make it so. It begins by making the Golden Rule… do unto others … a golden revolution. We may well need to take power ourselves.
But rest assured and fear not: some sick white brothers will still be able to re-kill us to their hearts’ content.
However, one stipulation: Those bullet riddled memorial signs are never replaced until completely destroyed. Every desecration remains as accusation.
As Alvin Sykes, the president of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, told Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger “The sign going back up is a sign of progress,” he said. “The bullets are showing how much further we need to go.”