By Michael Javen Fortner
With audacity and grace, the “Mothers of the Movement” have reminded us of the humanity of their slain children and the inhumanity of the racist practices that took those innocent lives. Standing united at the Democratic National Convention, in the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, these brave women spoke for the dead. They shared their heart-wrenching stories and exposed the ugly, real-life consequences of so-called “law and order.” Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in a jail cell after being arrested during a traffic stop, told us that when “a young black life is cut short, it’s not just a personal loss. It is a national loss. It is a loss that diminishes all of us.”
In some corners of the right, these earnest pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Fox News, talk radio, and their consumers never miss the chance to defend police brutality. Voicing the vitriol of a conservative fringe, Rudy Giuliani recently lectured black parents, telling them to “teach your children to be respectful to the police.” Of course, respect did not save Philando Castile’s life or the lives of many others. At the same time, the push for criminal justice reform has been embraced by many conservative intellectuals and officials. Many have begun to acknowledge that black lives have not mattered as much as their colorblind faith suggested they would. They realize that, as the leader of the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, Newt Gingrich, admitted, whites “don’t understand being black in America.”
Almost a half century ago, crime was on the rise. Continue reading The Last Hurrah of the “Silent Majority”?