Looking at the present social unrest and tumult pervading the United States from east to west and north to south, reflections on the 1960s Civil Rights Movement to “right the wrongs” of Jim Crowism, segregation, legally sanctioned discrimination stemming from the “peculiar institution” of chattel slavery from 1619 to Dec. 6, 1865 (ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) and the vicious, inhumane atrocities against Blacks, historically, come to mind.
Most indigenous Black, baby-boomer Mississippians know of the tumultuous 1950s-’60s in the aftermath of scores of Blacks mysteriously killed after the savage, barbaric butchery of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Money in 1955, not to mention the scores of others killed thereafter.
For many Black Mississippians, what is happening nationwide now with the rash, reckless, overhasty, hair-trigger shootings and killings of Blacks by police officers is déjà vu — reminiscent of when historian John Hope Franklin wrote “Racial Equality in America” in 1976. Franklin, perusing Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia in 1781 wrote, “For Jefferson was no more certain than many of his spiritual descendants some two hundred years later… that the social order should accommodate itself to the complete or even substantial equality of blacks and whites. … Negroes were inferior to whites and for the good of all they should be kept in subordination.”
A devious notion of “law and order” in 2020 is finagled to induce subordination. Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega Y Gasset asserted, “It is foolish for the party of ‘law and order’ to imagine that these forces of public authority created to preserve order are always going to be content to preserve order that that party desires. Inevitably they will end by themselves defining and deciding on the ‘order’ they are going to impose — which, naturally, will be that which suits them best.”
Herbert Marcuse, therefore concluded, “Law and order are always and everywhere the law and order which protect the established hierarchy.” Hence, 92-year-old former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark queried, “Who will protect the public when the police violate the law?” Police violations now plague Blacks nationwide — raising Robert A. Dahl’s question of “Justice, Fairness and Equity” in view of Republicans’ cacophony of “law and order” (power) coming “…from the barrel of a gun” to cite Mao Tse-tung.