African American Fear

1079 Words 5 Pages
Powerless African American parents beat their children out of the fear that one day they could lose their bodies. It was only after the birth of his son, that Coates was able to understand the love behind the grip of his mother’s hand. He understood what happens to parents who fear not just the criminals among them but the police who lord over them with all the moral authority of a protection racket. While explaining his realization and why so many black parents beat their children, Coates says, “Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered. I think we would like to kill you ourselves before seeing you killed by the streets that America made” (Coates 82). The idea that “I can …show more content…
White authority figures react violently towards African Americans out of a deep manifested fear. The tradition of the destruction of the black body has been kept alive for decades by a manifested fear. For centuries America has made it’s riches of African Americans’ stolen bodies. It is traditional to destroy the black body- it is heritage. However, not only do African Americans fear white people, but white people fear losing their place in their self-made hierarchy. This fear drives white people to act violently and destroy black bodies, to reaffirm their place in the social hierarchy. While discussing the tradition of the annihilation of the black body, Coates declares “It is not necessary that you believe that the officer who choked Eric Garner set out that day to destroy a body. All you need to understand is that the officer carries with him the power of the American state and the weight of an American legacy, and they necessitate that of the bodies destroyed every year, some wild and disproportionate number of them will be black” (Coates 113). While the badge of an American officer represents a tradition of democracy and freedom for many, for African Americans this badge represents a different kind of tradition. For this badge truly represents the tradition of the destruction of the black body. With the weight of an American legacy of destroying the bodies of a group, comes statistics. Just like Joseph Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic”. By describing the numbers of bodies destroyed with adjectives such as wild and disproportionate, Coates is attempting to do the opposite. He is trying to take the statistic of black bodies destroyed and attempting to move it into people. Black people are not murdered by people but rather their country, and all the fears that have marked them from birth. Black people are murdered by white fear. White fear has manifested itself in so many structural ways that

Related Documents