WHITE SUPREMACY AT THE ROOT OF U.S. POLICE KILLINGS AND WAR

On January 10, 2015, Witness Against Torture held a forum entitled “From Ferguson to Guantanamo” where one of the panelists, Marsha Coleman Adebayo, of the DC Hands Up Coalition, said in her presentation that police killings in the U.S. and the imprisonment of men in Guantanamo is based on “white supremacy”.

“We’ve got to talk about white supremacy,” she said, “and how we are going to break the back of this beast.”

Although Coleman Adebayo did not discuss the role of white supremacy in U.S. wars in any detail, she did speak of the U.S. imprisonment and humiliation of Iraqis during the U.S.- British occupation and how this figured in the rise of the Islamic State.

“I want to question uniforms,” she said. “Should they be exalted?”

Here is a poem by Susan Roche that speaks to the special protection conferred in U.S. society by having white skin.

You can get killed just for living in your American skin*

But I can't.

Michael Eric Victor and Yvette
you did
Larry Jordan Johnnie and Wendell
you did
Miriam McKenzie Andy and Tamir
you did

Follow
follow
follow this trail of
stilled American blood

You were killed
standing with your hands by your side
asking for help after your car crashed
riding your bike
fleeing from robbers
opening your front door
running to your mother

Forty-one
Eleven
One hundred and thirty-seven
times

a body can hold so many bullets
but mine does not have to

they chased tackled choked and tasered you
they rammed in to you with their car
they shot you in the back of the head

but not me

because I am invisible
invisible alive and abashed
by the extra seconds
by the life-preserving seconds
by the benefit of the doubt they offer me
by the benefit of the doubt they confer upon me
without even knowing that they do

From inside my invisible American skin
I track the spoor of your spattered blood
searching
searching
searching for the seconds before the firing of bullets
before the firing of bullets
how is safe passage conferred?
I search for sign
___________________________________________________________
* Bruce Springsteen, lyrics to "41 Shots,"1999,to honor Amadou Diallo, killed by police

Names and stories from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's "Unarmed People of Color Killed by Police 1999-2014," posted on www.gawker.com
___________________________________________________________
Susan Roche
Castle Valley, UT
smjroche@yahoo.com