There are growing discussions nationally that race relations in America has now become unstable with the reelection of Barack Obama as the sitting President of the United States. The public has been thrust into public debate over the Trayvon Martin killing earlier this year, and there have been other incidents which a growing number of people have also began discussing. One of the most intriguing things that I find in such discourse is exactly how differently opinions are formed by various ethnic groups regarding matters of race. The infamous O.J. Simpson trial, and the recorded beating of Rodney King are perfect examples how people align themselves and their perspectives in matters of public debate. Perhaps my evaluation is centered around my observation of a constant trend, whereby some whites (not all) tend to readily accept findings by police, government, and other authorities as being completely credible on face value when incidents arise pertaining to blacks and people of color who become embroiled in adverse positions within the system. In contrast, people of color by default readily challenge, question, and typically are suspicious of authority pertaining to official findings related to matters of race, unlike their white counterparts. Some would venture to say that whites inherently condemn blacks out of learned behavior since blacks are historically cast in an inferior standing within society. That’s too broad of a conclusion and an unfair sweeping indictment of the entire white race. When such perspectives toward any ethnic group are resolved and accepted as a standard (like many stereotypes of ethnic groups), the very indifference that continues to hinder progress toward tolerance of diversity continues to fuel such racial divide. Therefore, efforts must be made by all ethnicities to help bridge the gap between social development in this country. A great launching point would be the utilization of basic common sense, which brings me to my primary argument. My research and investigation of the alleged lynching incidents in Dover, Delaware has revealed positions from the white community that exemplifies much of what I have described previously in this article. Blog articles and post comments contained in them, readily dispute any notion that such race hate could even exist in their town, while aligning their position with local authorities whom have worked diligently to put down any perspective that even infers that a lynching actually occurred in Dover. Some of the facts that have already been made to the public are very telling, and many of these details were not discovered by Dover police. When comments and positions derive from the white community that are contrasting to logic and basic common sense while clearly sufficient evidence disputes such a position, many people of color question the competency of such thought, and others default to declaring whites as a whole inherently racist. Whites also tend to have a perception of blacks of their own, and conclude blacks are either incompetent or lack critical thinking & analysis abilities. An objective aim position toward both perceptions would be fair depicting these positions as inaccurate at best. So, much of the diversity that I have observed related to public race related topics hinges on each group’s cultural exposure to government, law enforcement, and the system in general. Many whites more than likely have not had any adverse encounters with the injustices of the law. However, the black community has known since the onset of policing that injustices exist, and as a standard blacks are taught within many sub-cultural settings that the law (police in particular) are not to be trusted, and rightfully so in many instances. This reminds me of the O.J. Simpson trial when L.A. Police Officer Mark Furham testified that he had not used the word “nigger” in over 20 years. When the defense counsel during that trial presented a tape interview of Furman he was doing for a Movie Director using the racist term in every other word, shock waves were sent around the country as the white community appeared stunned as if they had no idea that police are capable of blatantly lying while testifying in a court of law. As a former law enforcement officer, I bear witness that not only do cops lie, but it’s a very prevalent aspect of police culture. My knowledge related to this issue provides advance insight in cases such as the alleged Dover lynching incidents. One of the best tools useful in fact-finding cases such as this one, is that an established record usually exist. When Dover police Chief J. Hosfelt told those in attendance at a city council meeting that the Ford family had reported Henry Fordham as an irrational person in the rear of their yard, the Chief probably accepted the reports of the responding officers on face value. Meanwhile, Community Activist Doug Beatty was able to discover that the Chief’s remarks were grossly inaccurate after interviewing the Ford family himself in person. One Blog article that I read stated that most people who were “stirring up claims of lynchings’ were people with histories of grievances. Really now? I don’t know Doug Beatty, but his personal investigation into the lynching allegations is one of the sole reasons the cases have gained public attention, but I am intelligent enough to comprehend that the Blogger’s comment was a cowardice and subtle slight toward Delaware State History Professor Jahi Issa, and more than likely originated from a racist posture. Additionally, Beatty was able to obtain statements from potential witnesses who not only corroborate Henry Fordham’s claim of a racial attack, but also exposed Dover’s weak investigation. For instance”
1. Henry Fordham was suffering from multiple puncture wounds the morning Dover police interviewed him. Fact!
2. Dover police never took any pictures of his injuries ( a standard procedure in most real police departments) Fact!
3. The Ford couple were awaken to desperate screams for help, and found Henry Fordham staggering and bleeding in their back yard. Fact!
4. Responding cops at the Fordham complaint knew him from previous arrest, and failed to either contact a supervisor or have another officer unfamiliar with him conduct the interview to remove any doubt of a potential conflict of interest. Fact!
5. Doug Beatty was able to locate witnesses who say the men Fordham identified as his attackers had confessed to killing Johnny Clark (who was found in Silver Lake Park hanging from a tree) to more than one person. Fact!
6. Doug Beatty also obtained a statement from Johnny Clark’s brother who can place the exact same two men in the Fordham attack allegation, as the last people he saw with his brother the day he was found hanging from a tree in the park. Fact!
7. Racist leaflets were discovered around town depicting racist symbols, other rhetoric spewing hate, and established a potential social instability within the community.
8. The record establishes that the location of Charles Conley’s death, Johnny Clark’s death, and the alleged attack of Henry Fordham were in the same part of town. Fact!
The later of these facts should have been enough on it’s face for Dover police to start some kind of serious investigation into why black men were being found swinging from trees in a public park in their town. Instead they continue to strongly defend their findings, and expect the community and city government to accept such nonsense. Therefore, when I see comments and blog articles by citizens aligning themselves with inept public officials instead of using basic common sense, demanding answers from the government to resolve horrible cases such is this, it reverts any effort by society at large to come together in the face of tragedy, back into the realms of racial division. Moreover, other ethnic groups are equally liable when authorities fail the public in their neglect of duty. Their silence, considering the history of lynchings in this country toward black people creates opportunity for official misconduct, and breeds a platform for people to present dialogue which adversely impact communities of color. Given these facts, any person within any ethnic group who can’t conclude that something is going on related to hangings in Dover, Delaware are either racist or simply not competent at all. We should all want to discover the facts in these cases so there is no longer any discussion regarding “Strange Fruit” hanging from trees in Dover.
To Be Continued —
The People’s Champion
I’m David Adams