Bear Witness to Modern-Day Lynchings

David J. Leonard writes at the Huffington Post that these crimes against blacks are still part of American life.

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Rekia Boyd

David J. Leonard writes at the Huffington Post that these crimes against blacks are still part of American life.

The history of racist violence, of lynchings, of state violence, or a complicit media and systemic injustice, all of which define the era of Jim Crow, remain a reality despite our purportedly post-racial moment. A recent report from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) entitled "Report on Extrajudicial Killings of 110 Black People" elucidates the contemporary struggle against lynchings. In the first six months of 2012, the police, security guards, and self appointed agents of "justice" have killed 110 African-American men, women, and children. Since its publication, there have been 10 additional killings in total, 2012, which means that in 2012, there has been 1 killing every 36 hours.

Of those who lost their life at the hands of a police or security officer, 47 did not have a weapon at the time of their killing. Another 40 were said to have a weapon (including a cane, a BB gun and a toy gun), although witnesses have disputed these purported facts. A small number of those killed, 21 people, were armed at the time they were sentenced to death. None were afforded the presumed right of innocence until proven guilty.

Many of these deaths are the consequences of stop and frisk policies, racial profiling, and a culture of White racist stereotyping of African Americans as criminals and suspects. According to Rosa Clemente, a member of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and former vice-presidential candidate of the Green Party, "Nowhere is a Black woman or man safe from racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance, and overriding suspicion." In the press release, she notes "all Black people - regardless of education, class, occupation, behavior or dress - are subject to the whims of the police in this epidemic of state initiated or condoned violence." ...

Among its victims are: Rekia Boyd, an innocent bystander shot and killed in Chicago; Dante Price, who was shot 22 times, while trying to pick up his children; and Travis Henderson, a "a suicidal man sitting in a church parking lot with a gun ...

Read more David J. Leonard's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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David J. Leonard is an associate professor in the department of critical culture, gender and race studies at Washington State University, Pullman.

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