It is still hard to believe that millions of us saw Eric Garner die. He died with what looked like a half dozen heavily clad policemen standing on his body, twisting and crushing him especially his head and neck. He was a big man, too. They must have felt like clumsy midgets as they dragged him down.
Watching the video, I was reminded of the first lynching I, quite unintentionally, learned about: it happened in my tiny lumber mill town before the cows were brought in and young white girls on ornate floats became dairy queens. A big man too, whom my parents knew, he was attacked also by a mob of white men (in white robes and hoods) and battered to death by their two by fours.
I must have been a toddler overhearing my parents talk and mystified by pieces of something called “two by fours.”
Later, building a house, i would encounter the weight, the heaviness, of this varying length of wood, and begin to understand.
What is the hatred of the big black man or the small black man or the medium sized black man the brown man or the red man in all his sizes that drives the white lynch mob mentality?
I always thought it was envy: of the sheer courage to survive and ceaselessly resist conformity enough to sing and dance or orate, or say in so many outlandish ways: You’re not the boss of me! Think how many black men said that: “Cracker,* you’re not the boss of me;” even enslaved. Think of how the legal lynch mob so long ago tore Nat Turner’s body in quarters skinned him
and made “money purses” from his “hide.”
Who are these beings?
Now we are beginning to ask the crucial question.
If it is natural to be black and red or brown and if it is beautiful to resist oppression and if it is gorgeous to be of color and walking around free, then where does the problem lie?
Who are these people that kill our children in the night? Murder our brothers in broad daylight? Refuse to see themselves in us as we have strained, over centuries, to see ourselves in them? Perhaps we are more different than we thought. And does this scare us? And what of, for instance, those among us who collude?
Gather. Come see what stillness lies now in the people’s broken hearts.
It is the quiet force of comprehension, of realization of the meaning of our ancient
and perfect contrariness; of what must now be understood and done to honor and cherish ourselves: no matter who today’s “bosses” may be.
Our passion and love for ourselves that must at last unite and free us. As we put our sacrificed beloveds to rest in our profound and ample caring: broad, ever moving, and holy, as the sea.
Invite your friends over, turn off the phones, and unplug the laptops. It’s time to celebrate Mother Earth up close and personal! (Don’t forget to clean up with some plant- and mineral-based Green Works® afterwards to keep the theme going all day long.)