Re “Congresswoman Is Shot in Rampage Near Tucson” (front page, Jan. 9):
I read with deep shock, horror and sorrow of the massacre in Arizona on Saturday and write to express my outrage at this barbaric event and my condolences to the victims.....We must do all that we can to work together as fellow citizens of a democracy and civilly debate these polarizing issues (like immigration reform) until we resolve them, instead of resorting to violence, which will consume and destroy us all.
Henderson, Nev., Jan. 9, 2011 [printed as Letter to the Editor, NY Times]
I meant that the death of Kennedy was the result of a long line of violent acts, the culmination of hate and suspicion and doubt in this country. You see, Lomax, this country has allowed white people to kill and brutalize those they don't like. The assassination of Kennedy is a result of that way of life and thinking. The chickens came home to roost; that's all there is to it. America—at the death of the President—just reaped what it had been sowing
Malcolm X quoted from Daniel Pipes' website
Well, it seems to me that the movement itself is playing into the hands of racism, because what you want as a nation to be upset when anybody is killed, especially when one of us is killed...it is almost as if for one of us to be recognized, a white person has to be killed. Well, what are you saying?
Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael) (quoted from Eyes on the Prize)
Until the killing of black men, black mother’s sons
Is as important as the killing of white men, white mother’s sons
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes
from Ella's Song (Bernice Johnson Reagon's song version of Ella Baker's speech before the 1964 Mississippi Democratic Party state convention)
Yesterday, I was having brunch at my house with several women from my partner's church. We were all talking about the shooting attack in Tucson. I mentioned that this kind of rampage has been going on all around us in the Bay Area for years and "we" (white women) don't seem to be equally shocked. One of my guests responded, "they are just shooting each other." Another guest responded, "these shootings are confined to specific areas, and I don't go into those areas." And this is how "we" wash our hands of responsibility.
Then, in this morning's paper, I started reading the above letter to the the Editor of the NY Times and was overwhelmed by the double standard the dominant culture applies in the shooting of white people versus black and brown people. This double standard made me think of
- Malcolm X's response to the shooting of Kennedy and
- Ella Baker's speech before the 1964 MFDP state convention and
- Stokely Carmichael's (Kwame Ture's) response to the double standard shown by white America in the different responses to Jimmie Lee Jackson's murder by an Alabama State Trooper and the killing of Rev. James Reeb. President Johnson sent flowers to Mrs. Reeb but not to Mrs. Jackson.
When will white America understand that we are all connected...what happens to one will happen to us all? Where this applies to murder, unemployment, health, housing or global climate change.