Crazy Faith Ministries
Whenever I have watched movies having to do with race and specifically, Black people trying to get justice in a White world, what has bothered me most has been the smugness of law enforcement officers as they circumvent and avoid the quest for justice, saying that there really isn’t anything they can do.
On the silver screen, the bearer of the bad news has often been portrayed as an overweight, almost obese, White man, with thin hair and cutting eyes. In the scenes I remember, he is sitting in a cluttered office, ceiling fan humming overhead, chewing gum and leaning back in his chair. He in essence tells those seeking justice, or even answers, to hurry on home, that there’s really nothing he can do or anybody else can do.
And he smiles.
It is not a friendly smile or a smile, which offers care and compassion. No, it is a smug, arrogant smile, a smile that says, “We’ve got the power and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Every time I see a scene like that, I shudder.
I remember reading how the jury in the trial for the murder of Emmet Till deliberated for less than an hour before coming back with a “not guilty” verdict for the men who in fact had murdered the 14-year-old boy. I imagine the all-White jury … smiled … as they delivered that verdict, and so did J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, as they walked out of the courtroom. They had gotten away with murder, but they had known they would. They knew America’s White supremacy and knew that no White man, no matter how compelling the evidence or proof, would be convicted all-White juries, chosen to protect White people.
As the new administration continues its apparent goal to dismantle democracy in this country as we have known it, it feels like the “good ol’ boys” are in the House, doing their thing, flashing that smug smile that says nobody can touch them. They seem to have no fear of repercussions and no respect for the government, the office of president or the masses of people who will suffer as they continue their path of governmental destruction.
They are smiling.
In an article that appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the author describes how Steve Bannon, the president’s chief advisor, and Jeff Sessions, former senator now U.S. Attorney General, have been friends for years, both decrying the presence of immigrants in this country. They have been disturbed and frightened and have wanted for some time to make America “right” again, which to them means, to make America “White” again.
They, like so many White supremacists, believe that America was made for White people. Globalization has had an economic impact on America, for sure, but it is the upsetting of what White supremacists feel is the correct racial make-up of this country that has caused more angst. Bannon, Sessions, the president and who knows who else in state and local governments will do all they can to “correct” the racial make up of this country, even if it means people of color are subjected to more injustice at the hands of law enforcement than they have in the past.
And they will smile.
They will smile because they have the power to do what they want to do in the way they want to do it. They will smile because too many other politicians and lawmakers, even if they are disturbed, will stand by silently and let them do what they want. Some will smile because, as entrepreneurs, they will realize more profits from tax cuts, even as the masses of people struggle even more than they are now to make ends meet.
They will smile and not care about the “carnage” this administration leaves behind in the name of racial purity.
The good ol’ boys will have their day, and we, the masses, will see that arrogant smile over and over again.
Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is available to speak on the intersection of race, politics and religion. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.