From Not in Our Town Princeton board member Caroline Clarke:
Same ole Same ole…No where to run. No where to just be.
Ahmaud Arbrey is another name in the long line of young black men killed by white male vigilantes. A few examples:
In 2012, Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he was executed by a vigilante George Zimmerman in Florida.
In 1984, James Ramseur was 18, while Darrell Cabey, Barry Allen & Troy Canty were all 19 years old when they were shot and injured by vigilante Bernhard Goetz in NYC.
In 1955, Emmett Till was 14 years old when he was abducted from his home, beaten, maimed and shot to death by vigilantes Roy Bryant and J W Milam in Mississippi.
On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbrey, a few days shy of his 26th birthday, was jogging in Georgia when he was (allegedly?) executed by vigilantes, Travis & Gregory McMichael.
Ahmaud , like Trayvon, James, Darrell, Barry, Troy, and Emmett, was young, black and male, and therefore belonged to the demographic most hated and hunted in America.
They are other haunting similarities too.
Ahmaud, Trayvon, James, Darrell, Barry, Troy, and Emmett were all shot and injured or murdered by racist white men.
Ahmaud, Trayvon, James, Darrell, Barry, Troy, and Emmett were all injured or killed by white men who were not police officers, and therefore had no more state authority to kill, than the young black men themselves. ( Black men killed by police officers is a different commentary.)
Neither Ahmaud, Trayvon, James, Darrell, Barry, Troy, nor Emmett was armed at the time of their attempted or actual execution.
Neither Ahmaud, Trayvon, James, Darrell, Barry, Troy, nor Emmett was engaged in committing a “crime” when the instigating event that led to their attempted or ultimate executions occurred.
Trayvon wore a hoodie as he ate his skittles while walking back home when George Zimmerman described him as suspicious before executing him. James, Darryl, Barry, and Troy were begging on the NYC subway when Bernard Goetz opened fire on them in an attempted murder bid. Emmett till allegedly flirted with a white woman; the next day her husband and his brother, Roy Bryant and J W Milam, executed him. Ahmaud was jogging when the father and son McMichael duo deemed him suspicious and murdered him.
Trayvon’s, James’s, Darrell’s, Barry’s, Troy’s, and Emmett’s narratives are years apart but have the same ending–no penalty for their white male executioners. Their narratives are as American as apple pie, they just sit in the gut differently. For those of us who look like these young men, who have husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons who look like these young men, we know all too well that this is not an anomaly. This is the stress and fear we live with daily as we watch them leave the house. Too many of us know the pain and trauma of that fear turned to reality. This recurring nightmare for people of African descent in America has lasted 400 years, with no end in sight. It isn’t cured by waking up; too many of our sons don’t get to wake up. And White America, being woke doesn’t fix it; it merely understands it.
The white male defendants–Bryant, Milam, Goetz, and Zimmerman were all granted the white privilege of standing their ground on hate, resentment, and historical racial anxiety. Though they were criminally charged, they were all exonerated. Travis and Gregory McMichael were finally charged over two months after they killed Ahmaud, and only after national public outcry. If I use history as a barometer, it also gives me racial anxiety. I am more than a little afraid that America’s clearly biased legal system will once again fail Black Americans and justice-minded citizens of all hues. I pray I’m wrong. But frankly, I’m more than just tired of praying. Especially over the bodies of dead black men. I’m fucking pissed off.