I recently took a trip to the river city of Savannah Georgia to visit some relatives.
After a day of sight seeing we ended up on the river wall - the cobblestone road on the side of the river. The sun was down at the time.
As we got to the end of the walk - approximately near the picture where the boat is on the left - I asked the group of relatives that I was with if they wanted to take the river ferry to the convention center - just for the sake of taking a ride. When I found out that it was free that was more of a motivation.
As I went back to get the consensus of the group the elder statesman protested. The sight of a group of White folks in the South with only us Black folks boarding the ship was too much of a threatening situation.
"They might throw us overboard" was the argument used to cancel the plans. This person grew up in the "Jim Crow South" and there is little doubt that there was some merit to the reference - in a certain time of history.
As I pushed further, being motivated by the ridiculousness of the claim I was told "You all go on. I'll wait right here for you to come back".
I had been having "State of The Black Community" discussions with this person all week long. While we were in general agreement that there is a problem - whenever I dared to tie in the problems with the consciousness hijacking that I report upon as the problem I got the defensive response "Everyone does not see things the way that you see them".
It was clear at this point that all of those other conversations were theory. THIS was real.
This indicated to me that there was a bit of "defensiveness learned from the terrorism" of growing up in the Jim Crow South at was at play.
As a "Post-Civil Rights" (Anti-Affirmative Action) Baby I simply could not enter into the consciousness of what the South had harvested with violence. It was rational for the parents of children growing to warn them about the lengths that racist Whites would go through to enforce White Supremacy.
|Savannah GA Police Chief|
|Chatham County GA|
District Attorney Larry Chisholm
Just as I was about to give up in frustration my saving grace came along. Another Black man walked up the ramp to board the ship. He as a product of my experiences did not give a second thought to the "threat" that surrounded him.
We both saw a bunch of White tourists seeking to return to their hotel at the convention center across the river.
Earlier in the week as I drove through South Carolina as part of my grand tour of the South I snapped the following picture:
I honestly can't say just how much this response to the perceived "Threat" of asking everyone for photo ID is perceived as an act of voter suppression in the minds of those who were reared in a "Jim Crow" environment. I will never know their reality. No doubt that at least some of the response is prompted by those who know the sensitivities of Black people and they use their knowledge for exploitative purposes.
What I can say affirmatively say is that the prevailing standard, regardless of the income class, is for every entity that has a valuable that needs to be protected to ask for photo identification. The poorest person in America that seeks to receive money from Western Union is going to get 'carded' as they will have to eat the cost for failing to enforce this mundane procedure.
At the same time I have an ailing grandmother of 102+ years old that no one is certain of her actual birth date.
As time moves forward she and others will be the exception - their date of birth reported by the midwife sometimes weeks after the event.
In my view I do them no favors by seeking to "live vicariously through their mental terror". I am not hear to deny that what they experienced was not real.
I can only make measure of the realities of today and note that they are the outliers of today's reality.