From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Donald Trump Is Not Being Lynched. But The Effects of Lynch Culture Are Real
Date October 23, 2019 2:57 AM
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[Donald Trump says we’re witnessing a lynching. A lynching
isn’t something you can win. Emmett Till was lynched. He was 14
years old.] [[link removed]]

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Jeneé Osterheldt
October 22, 2019
The Boston Globe
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* [[link removed]]

_ Donald Trump says we’re witnessing a lynching. A lynching isn’t
something you can win. Emmett Till was lynched. He was 14 years old. _

“All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a
lynching. But we will WIN!” President Trump wrote Tuesday. But a
lynching isn’t something you can win., Pablo Martinez
Monsivais/Associated Press


Donald Trump says we’re witnessing a lynching.

He refers to the impeachment inquiry as a lynching. Merriam-Webster
defines lynch as “to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action
without legal approval or permission.”

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans
win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President,
without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” he tweeted
[[link removed]]
Tuesday morning. “All Republicans must remember what they are
witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”

A lynching
[[link removed]]
isn’t something you can win. Emmett Till was lynched. He was 14
years old.

In 1955, Till was a Chicago teen visiting family in Mississippi. A
white woman claimed he grabbed her, whistled at her, and made crude
comments. She lied
[[link removed]].
Her husband and his friend kidnapped him, tortured him beyond
recognition, and shot him in the head.

They used barbed wire to tie his body to a cotton gin fan and threw
him into the Tallahatchie River. His killers were acquitted by an
all-white jury.

What happened to Till? That is a lynching. Last Saturday, the Emmett
Till Memorial Commission unveiled the fourth marker
[[link removed]]
dedicated to him since 2008, when the original sign was stolen. The
signs have been taken, vandalized, and shot at over and over.

The latest memorial is bulletproof. Sixty-four years after his murder,
racists don’t want us to remember Till and the racist violence that
eats at the soul of America.

Not enough of us learn about the true history of the country in
school. When “Watchmen” debuted on HBO Sunday night, it opened
with the Greenwood massacre, the terrorist attack of a Tulsa
neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street,” where there were 300
black-owned businesses.

The scenes show black people murdered in the street, businesses on
fire, and a plane dropping a bomb. This is not TV exaggeration. This
happened in America. And it was clear from social media Sunday night
and all day Monday that thousands of viewers had never heard of what
is referred to as the “Tulsa Race Riot
[[link removed]].”

It’s been almost 100 years, and this month, archeologists are
[[link removed]]
Tulsa for evidence of mass graves. At least 300 black men, women, and
children were murdered; 10,000 were displaced. And it took a brilliant
television show to get the country talking about it.

Be clear. There was no riot. It was terrorism inflicted on black
people by white supremacists, the kind of people Trump likes to
believe are “very fine.” Trump is the same man who called Black
Lives Matter activist Mercutio Southall Jr. disgusting and said he
deserved to be “roughed up”
[[link removed]]
by Trump supporters at a rally in November 2015.

The delight he takes in the pain of black people
[[link removed]],
the way he encouraged the country to turn against football players
protesting police brutality and oppression — this is the way of
supremacy. Racists used to smile and pose for pictures during

Trump believes in the lynching of black people. In 1989, he spent some
[[link removed]]
on full-page ads to bring back the death penalty to execute Korey
Wise, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Kevin
Richardson. Teenagers. Five black and brown boys wrongfully accused of
raping a white woman. He wanted The Central Park Five, now known as
The Exonerated Five, dead. He didn’t care about proof. He just
wanted murder.

Last year, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice
[[link removed]] opened in Alabama. The
site includes 800 6-foot monuments to symbolize thousands of racial
terror lynching victims — the Equal Justice Initiative researchers
documented 4,075 victims between 1877 and 1950.

It is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of
enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, racial
segregation, and Jim Crow. People who even in 2019 are considered a
threat upon sight, their skin criminalized.

Earlier this month, Atatiana Jefferson
[[link removed]]was
killed by a police officer who was supposed to be performing a safety
check. Black people are not safe in this country. But Trump considers
his impeachment inquiry a lynching.

People say it’s a distraction and we shouldn’t pay attention.
Except we must. This is a man who encourages hate. His own supporters
happily wear shirts
[[link removed]]
that read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.”

Two years ago, when I was a Kansas City Star columnist, I was swarmed
with e-mails, phone calls, and letters laced with racist rhetoric and
Trump support. The n-word was the norm in my inbox. The words “tar
and feather” were a cheer.

“You are exactly why tall trees and ropes were made,” a reader
named Jeff from Montana wrote to me.

Any time I wrote about Trump or the NFL, or protested police
brutality, I would get this kind of violent response
[[link removed]].
My life was threatened twice. One reader thought I should be tied to
the back of a truck and dragged out of town.

This is not shocking. I am not an isolated incident. What I’ve
experienced is subtle compared with what those who’ve come before me

Ida B. Wells risked her life as an investigative journalist — a
black woman, traveling the country and exposing the horrors of racism
and lynching.

“Our country’s national crime is lynching. It is not the creature
of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the
unspeakable brutality of an insane mob,” she said in a speech
[[link removed]]
in 1900.

“It represents the cool, calculating deliberation of intelligent
people who openly avow that there is an unwritten law that justifies
them in putting human beings to death without complaint under oath,
without trial by jury, without opportunity to make defense, and
without right of appeal.”

Black men were murdered for looking white men in the eye. Black women
were raped by white men as punishment. We like to think of these
things as America’s tragic history.

Except black people are still dying. They are still being tortured.
They are still being convicted upon sight.

We don’t want to remember our racist truth. We want to shoot holes
through America’s reality the way supremacists tried to destroy the
memory of Emmett Till.

It’s easier to be retroactively heartbroken while learning of
American tragedy and being entertained on HBO than it is to recognize
the truth of right now.

Lynching was real. It happened. And the effects of lynch culture live
on today.

Police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, segregated schools,
excessive sentencing, and the continued racial inequity are all rooted
in racism and the supremacist mentality that believed lynching was
some sort of national justice.

Trump was right. We’re witnessing a lynching. But it is not his.


Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at [email protected] Follow
her on Twitter @sincerelyjenee [[link removed]].

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