Applying for naturalization

I read the account of the beating of Bakari Henderson and the first thing I thought of was Poland, so eager to wave the Confederate flag in honor of Trump’s arrival.  I wondered at the time if they recognized the significance of what they were doing.  Did they understand that many would see it as though the Polish Right were telling a segment of the American extremist Right, yeah, we know what you wanted to do and together, we’ll take it as far as you want it to go?  None in the Republican Party found that too troubling.

 

This is what indifference looks like.

 

I realized that for some time now, in addition to our history, Europe has been reading the standardized playbook about how to justify the killing of African-American men.  And that is to put the blame squarely on them.

 

When you do that see, the first thing that’s mitigated is the charge.  That’s why no one in this case is being charged with murder, so far, but rather, involuntary manslaughter.  The bouncer’s statement to a local paper that Henderson “took an ashtray and threw it at me” and his admission that he responded by “punching him in the face and two or three times in the body” ties it all together; bolstering the claim that Bakari was the aggressor and everyone acted in self-defense.  The Americanized threat of the big dangerous black man has gone global.

 

The Absence of a Trump Tweet

And through it all, the White House, so far, remains quiet.  Conspicuously absent is a Trump Tweet about the incident, followed with a statement of concern and condolence for the Henderson family.   It would be heartening to see the same level of concern and national support (a Tweet) shown for Otto Warmbier, who died mysteriously after being in North Korean custody for over a year, to be shown here. I think such a declaration would tell the world that America values its black citizens.  Am I being naively hopeful if I say that a statement like that could be that first step-so far untaken-in mending fences with the African-American community?

 

Black travelers often bring home an unwanted souvenir: racist abuse

 

Like the Wandering Scholar above, I’ve experienced that same belligerent racism she met abroad, right here in America.  Sometimes immigrants attempt to assimilate into our society by taking an encoded stance against black people.  I find it to be particularly true for some opening shops in Black neighborhoods.  Some, not all.  Something akin to a Gentleman’s Agreement, it’s almost as if to them it’s a prerequisite for citizenship that to be welcomed in America, you must display the same disdain and prejudice for Blacks that many other Americans have.  It’s like an unspoken, yet nevertheless still very gradable part of the naturalization test.

 

Would it be sensationalist of me if I were to call Bakari’s death the result of a lynching rather than a bar brawl?  The absence of any real follow-up coverage tells me there’s a desire to play down such incidents, characterizing them as isolated, with no real social significance or pertinence.    To them I say, open your eyes, please and recognize it for what it was.   Let’s not wait until we see a rope or smell the smoke of burning flesh to call it as it should be.

 

I keep thinking about that flag; and strange fruit.  How America handles this will speak volumes to both Europeans, the world and to us here at home.  Will she proclaim that yes; we hold our African-Americans as dear to our heart as we do every American?  Or, will her indifference say that black citizens, at home and abroad, are suspect, un-entitled and worst yet, prey?  Doing the latter rather than the former, gives a whole new meaning to the words pledging allegiance.

Comments

Leroy Added Oct 9, 2017 - 9:48pm
So, what can the US government do other than see that justice prevails? Ten people have been arrested.  Seems no doubt that the Greek justice system is trying to get to the bottom of it.   What more do you want, a national day named after him?
 
It's different that Otto Warmbier.  There was some hope.  He was still alive.  He at least got to die at home.  In Henderson's case, he is dead.  There's nothing left to do other than seeing justice served. 
 
Is Europe racist?  There are racists everywhere, even among the black community.  Europe can take the moral high ground when blacks are in the US.  Up close and personal, it is a different story.  I can't say I saw any overt racism in Europe.   Nor is racism as bad as you claim in the US.
John G Added Oct 10, 2017 - 4:19am
I know nothing more than what's in the media about this but it occurred to me that it seems more likely that being American was more likely a reason than being black.
The Serbs have a lot of reasons to hate the USA.
Ben McCargo Added Oct 10, 2017 - 10:27pm
To Leroy, thanks much for your input but the fact that you ask if i want a statue built for the dead brother simply because I commented how tricked up it is that he got beat to death in a simple bar fight, speaks volumes to me.  And you say that racism isn't as bad as I claim in the US.  It's preventing you from empathizing, my brother.  Can I tell you what's really tricked up?  I'm old enough to remember when Europe was a haven for American blacks.  We were offered refuge in some places.  There's a new sheriff in town though now it seems Leroy.  Be good.
Ben McCargo Added Oct 10, 2017 - 10:31pm
To John G. - you may be right with that cause being an American doesn't endear you to many around the world now.  But I stand by that if you're an African-American, it might be a tad worse.  What I was saying is that peeps take their direction, their cues from other peeps, especially from those in power.  With Trump saying the things he does, some get emboldened, you know.  Appreciate the comment though.  Be good.
Leroy Added Oct 11, 2017 - 7:10am
"To Leroy, thanks much for your input but the fact that you ask if i want a statue built for the dead brother simply because I commented how tricked up it is that he got beat to death in a simple bar fight, speaks volumes to me."
 
I never mentioned a statue.  What exactly is your point, other than some imagined grievance against Trump?
Donna Added Oct 11, 2017 - 3:01pm
Ben,
Outrage is an understatement! I get the point, yes i would call it  a lynching. 
Aunt lives in Europe, says things are as bad as she has ever seen them, she is 78. 
Dived we fall, United we stand, those words, have a whole new meaning with our current situation. )0(
wsucram15 Added Oct 12, 2017 - 9:10am
I just want to know if people are so outraged..why they arent doing anything about it?
Ben McCargo Added Oct 12, 2017 - 7:49pm
To Leroy: no, no statue was mentioned but you did say national day so i just assumed we'd go all out wid it, you know.  To your point though, there's nothing imagined about grievances against President Trump.  They are very real, can be verified and ultimately will have to be addressed. And guess what-eventually even members of his base-are you a member?-will have to stand up and take notice. Be good.
Ben McCargo Added Oct 12, 2017 - 7:51pm
To Donna: As long as as many of us as possible think like that-unity, togetherness, tolerance-then there's hope, I'm hoping.  Tell your Aunt, don't give up.  Be good, Donna.
Ben McCargo Added Oct 12, 2017 - 7:53pm
To wsucram15: As bloggers, aren't we doing something?  Or don't you believe that the pen is mightier than the sword?  Maybe we're all just bullshitting?  Nah, I don't believe that.  What did you have in mind?