I watched Dave Chappelle’s “equanimity” and “the bird revelation”, and like usual he was cutting edge and funny. His comedy involved everyday cracks at our current dealings with the LGBT community, racism, politics, and voting. He gave us the opportunity to not only laugh at ourselves but at him.
Entering our second year of the Trump administration who has almost single-handedly dismantled any progression we made under President Barack Obama we need some laughter. some suspect he is re-ordering the legacy of Obama some may think it is because he’s racist, some may think it’s because he’s an egotist, perhaps its both. One thing for sure whatever the reason we know that the result of his actions will affect a lot of people. I mention Dave Chappelle because he made a poignant observation. He retold the story of one of Americas greatest shames, the story of Emmett Till’s gruesome murder. For those less familiar, he was the 14-year-old young black teenager from Chicago who went to Money, Mississippi to visit his relatives and was murdered. Upon visiting he had been a patron of the store where a young white woman Carolyn Bryant was a cashier, the same woman who later accused young Till of whistling at her. Two days later he was dragged out of and kidnapped from his relative’s home and murdered by Bryant’s husband and half-brother. They beat the teenager brutally, dragged him to the bank of the Tallahatchie River, shot him in the head, tied him with barbed wire to a large metal fan and shoved his mutilated body into the water. His mother wanted the nation to see what had been done to her son.
His face and body had been gruesomely abused. That image took up pages in magazines and newspapers all over the nation. This was pivotal in this nation’s history. For many this was an influential moment. White America was getting to see what the life and times were like for people of color. Some things came together in terms of change because these white men took “justice” into their own hand and the rest of America couldn’t hide the murders of us anynore. They played judge, jury and executioner. Even if it was for nothing more than whistle. A very courageous woman decided that the country she loved as her own, had not loved her or her son back. And she bravely showed America its face by sharing her greatest pain at what was probably her most vulnerable moment, and though we did not perfect what came next, but we worked because of that beautiful pain. It put a face to turmoil, pain, marginalization, terror, and everyday life of blacks throughout the United States. It effected whites, & blacks, it effected Americans, so much so people felt the need to work for a better and brighter America. Had this young boy not been murdered, and had his mother not shared it, we would be worlds away from the America we inhabit now. Now that’s not to say our country is perfect. It is far from it, between calling Mexicans rapists, Muslims terrorists, African-Americans/blacks lazy, jailbirds who are ungrateful to our oppressors for the gift of affirmative action to the issue of “white” disenfranchisement, we have a long way to go. But what is not lost on me is Chappelle’s observation that that hideous ugliness made us aware of better. For all Trump’s ridiculousness, and his obvious murdering of what being an American with a dream should be, he is our savior. He is our hope, our greatest potential for change. And you may say how? But it is simple, he represents so brightly what is so wrong with this country. It is weighed down with baggage as heavy as the large metal fan they hung around Emmett Till’s neck. Everything that we see is like the rotting bloated flesh that Till’s mother exposed us to. We are rotting from the inside out.
And like the young white woman who grew to a ripe old age and confessed on her death bed that Till never whistled at her, we, us, Americans will have to come clean, and clear this nations conscience. Like her we cannot go back and change the lie that bore murder, but it can set us f