Filmmaker Keith Beauchamp posted on his Facebook page a comment sent to him about his upcoming series, “Injustice Files,” which will air on cable television.
The comment was from an irritated white man, “Greg,” who objects to Beauchamp’s series, which will concentrate on cold murder cases, many of which involve the murders of black people that were never solved.
“Greg” calls Beauchamp a racist, and says that he is only interested in “demonizing” white people. He mentions a double homicide in Atlanta where, I am supposing, two white people were murdered and the case is still unsolved. He asks what would happen if John Walsh only “profiled” black suspects on his program…
And so on.
I read “Greg’s” post several times, shaking my head more each time I read it. Surely he knows that in this country, the scales of justice have not been balanced as pertains to people who lost their lives during the Civil RIghts Movement. . Surely he knows that literally scores of murders of people, black and white, went untried, that in scores of cases, even when a suspect was known, no arrests were made, and blatant lies were told about how they must have died. Surely, he has read how it happened, over and over, that in spite of compelling evidence against a person who might have killed a person during that time period, jury after jury returned a verdict of “not guilty,” allowing murderers to go free and leaving families feeling betrayed and violated.
Surely, he remembers how Myrlie Evers had to fight to get authorities to pay attention to the case of her husband, and how that case was “cold” for years and might still be, had it not been for her persistence. Surely, he feels some measure of outrage that the murderers of the three Civil Rights workers, killed in the South, never paid for their crime? Does he know that Viola Liuzzo, a white woman, daughter of a Tennessee coal miner was a 40 year old mother who died in that struggle? Does he know that she drove, alone, to Alabama, to work for justice and though it was pretty much known not only that members of the Klan murdered her, but who, exactly, those men were, her case was pretty much ignored by law enforcement officers in that state?
I shook my head when I read “Greg’s” comments because they showed why America is so sick when it comes to race. Too many Americans do not want to take their heads out of the sand; it is easier to just “blame the oppressed” (I refuse to use the word “victim) for having been oppressed, and in that way, assuage their own complicity in what has gone on.
For years, local and state governments, as well as the federal government, turned their heads as lynching was happening everywhere. A black person (and some whites as well) merely had to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and say the wrong thing, and a lynching was on. I guess “Greg” doesn’t know the story of how scores of white Americans would head on over to a lynching, bringing picnic lunches and cameras, to take pictures of a soul hung from a tree. I guess he never heard of how black people were not only hung, but their extremities and genitals often cut off and their bodies burned…
It’s part of our history, and it’s grotesque, but the saddest thing is that these American citizens were killed and slaughtered and nobody cared.
This program is about unsolved Civil Rights cases. Thank goodness.The fact is that is that way too many cases involving horrendous murders of these brave and committed people have gone cold. Thanks to some people who do care, like Beauchamp, some of these murders are being solved, and it’s only right. It’s right, and it’s long overdue.
Wanting to find out who killed someone’s father or mother or child doesn’t make one a racist, Greg. It makes one a person of conscience who wants to see justice. The families of those people who were so badly treated and forgotten deserve to see justice just like anyone else.
A nation cannot get well unless and until it acknowledges that it is ill, and America has been way too reluctant to acknowledge that its most devastating illness has been and continues to be racism. The same Constitution that you quote has lofty phrases that speak of freedom and liberty, and the Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal.” OK, so the founding fathers didn’t mean black people when they wrote that, any more than they meant American Indians or women to be included in the equality mix …but time and history have allowed people to understand that declaration in its fullness.
All people ARE created equal, Greg, and are indeed endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights ..among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness …and justice.
Beauchamp’s series will not demonize whites, but will show that hard work has resulted in justice for some families who have suffered for far too long.
That’s a candid observation.