During the Watts Riots I watched the fires on Alameda near Imperial Blvd., from my sister’s second floor apartment on Fernwood Ave. and State Street, in Lynwood California in 1965. With my two brothers in law, both armed with rifles and their impotent racist bravado at full cry!
Fast forward to 2015 and the string of police murders of black people, men and women, the past few years. But one might locate the possible beginning to the Zimmerman murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, and has simply escalated to this point, as if the two Brown v. Board Supreme Court decisions and the Civil Rights era in America had never occurred. But this is indicative of the rise of the Southern Strategy of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and the appointment of Neo-Confederate/Originalists like Rehnquist and Scalia to the Supreme Court. And then Alito and Roberts as the representatives of the legal expression of American Political Romanticism, that didn’t die but simply retreated to fight another day: it has arrived in the siege mentality that afflicts the white dominated police forces of America, well armed for the coming insurrections, with the spare military equipment from the Pentagon.
Mr. Silverman’s almost hand wringing essay, in which he mentions the Kerner Commission report, fits the Financial Times ideological requirements. But ponder this thought: that from this historical/political/ethical constellation will come the births of the New Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seal, Eldridge Clever,Stokley Carmichael! The thought/idea that Black Lives Matter will evolve into the the idea and practice of self-defense, against police violence, is hardly an historical anomaly. Unless like Mr. Silverman, and his readers, the active cultivation of political myopia is a habit of being.