Tag Archives: LZ Granderson

“Strange Fruit” – and the Election of 2020

May 29, 2020

In the final two years of Barack Obama’s second term as President, the accelerated increase in unjustifiable police violence and brutality against the African-American population intertwined itself with right-wing, festering resentment at Obama’s success as a mainstream politician. In retrospect, it seems all too obvious that the deaths of Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Michael Brown and Philando Castile presaged the popularity of Trump as a candidate: “Not everyone who voted for Trump in November, 2016 was a racist; but every racist who voted on that first Tuesday cast his or her ballot for Trump.”

But let us consider that the hanging of President Obama in effigy at a major college football game in 2016 was just the culmination of a long sequence of outright disdain for him by racist operatives. Ask yourself: how many death threats did Obama receive in the first two years of his first term? How many death threats did Donald Trump receive in his first two years? The disparity in the numbers of threats leads to a fairly obvious conclusion: the hostility towards African-Americans evident in the recent deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery is simply a continuation of a pattern of violence and intimidation that shows no sign of letting up.

I don’t believe that Floyd’s and Arbery’s deaths and the growing likelihood that a white man (Donald Trump) and his coterie might lose their grip on power are merely a coincidence. The deaths of Floyd and Artery reflect the anxiety of white supremacist power caught in the crossfire of historical change. These same people are terrified that the next President is someone who is considering an African-American woman to be vice-president. Just the thought that an African-American woman — let’s hear it for Stacey Abrams! — might become vice-President is enough to send these people into a frenzy. Among many other matters, they rightly fear that an accounting will be demanded for how the Pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color and how that report might lead to radical changes in the health care system.

This is the “context” for the deaths of Floyd and Arbery.

While the recorded videos of their deaths gain the most traction in social media, I would urge us to pay even closer attention to the voices of the day-to-day struggle for dignity in the African-American community:

“For those of you who are tired of reading about racism, trust me when I say this — I’m tired of writing about it.” — LZ GRANDERSON

“Strange Fruit” …. and counting

George Floyd — May 25, 2020
Ahmaud Marquez Arbery — February 23, 2020

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Alton Sterling — July 5, 2016
Philando Castile — July 6, 2016
Gregory Gunn, 58 — February 25, 2016
Samuel DuBose, 43 — July, 2015
Brendon Glenn, 29 — May, 2015
Freddie Gray, 25 — April, 2015
Natasha McKenna, 37 — February, 2015
Walter Scott, 50 — April, 2015
Christian Taylor, 19 — August, 2015
Michael Brown Jr., 18 — August, 2014
Ezell Ford, 25 – August, 2014
Eric Garner, 43 — July 17, 2014
Akai Gurley, 28 — February 11, 2014
Laquan McDonald, 17 — October 20, 2014
Tamir Rice, 12 — Nov. 22, 2014
Yvette Smith, 47 — Feb. 16, 2014
Jamar Clark, 24 — November 2013
Rekia Boyd, 22 — March 21, 2012
Shereese Francis, 29 — March 15, 2012
Ramarly Graham, 18 — Feb. 2, 2012
Manuel Loggins Jr., 31 — February 7, 2012

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Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.”

The Death of George Floyd, in Context by Jelani Cobb. May 28, 2020


In this article, it should be noted that Mr. Cobb cites another death at the hands of police officers that deserves our scrutiny:
“Breonna Taylor, a twenty-six-year-old African-American E.M.T., was shot to death in her apartment by officers who were conducting a drug raid at what her family said was the wrong address.” This kind of thing happens in Los Angeles, too.

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Just in case anyone wonders whether the right-wing think tanks and their associated publications have not been engaged in a not-so-covert operation that attempts to rebut the critiques of the predatory surveillance of African-Americans, here’s a very recent example of their efforts. If only someone had the legal authority to force Ms. Mac Donald to watch — non-stop – a tape loop of George Floyd’s death! Four straight hours! Then a lunch break, and four more hours. I doubt it would change her mind about anything, but if she were allowed to invite friends over to watch with her, it might be interesting to have a documentary film crew on hand to record the conversation.


There Is No Epidemic of Racist Police Shootings
Heather Mac Donald July 31, 2019 1:54 PM
HEATHER MAC DONALD is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of THE DIVERSITY DELUSION.