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The Bitter Fruit of a Broken Reconstruction

Op/Ed By Julianne Malveaux


Julianne_%20Malveaux( – After Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota there was Dallas.  After rouge cops unceremoniously killed two black men, there were five police officers killed by a deranged sniper who reportedly said he wanted to kill white police officers.  Too many commentators attempted to characterize the sniper, Micah Xavier Johnson (referring to his middle initial X, as opposed to his whole name, to be racially provocative) as a “revenge” killer connected to the Black Lives Matter movement.  Too many, like the unrepentant racist and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, used the sniper’s actions to excoriate the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The phrase Black Lives Matter is not racist because it simply reflects our nation’s history.  From our founding until today, there have been too many opportunities to legalize the facts that black lives do not matter.  The fact that our constitution reduces enslaved African Americans into a fraction of a person suggests that black lives did not matter, at our nation’s founding, as much as white lives did.  The differences in the terms and conditions of indentured servitude for whites and enslavement for Afrodescendents further cemented the notion that black lives did not matter as much as white lives did.  The persistence of enslavement, and the contradictions that came from the practice of “breeding” (i.e., treating black people as animals to increase “stock”) heightened contradictions because people were selling their children and siblings.  What did they think of themselves if they felt they had to couple with people they found “subhuman”?

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