In Delano, Minnesota, a black family's home was broken into in March 2017 and a warning was spray-painted on the walls: 'Get Out'. The vandals left a note, too: 'Next time it's going to be fire.'
"Documenting Hate," ProPublica
"I could shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any votes"
Donald Trump, January 2016
There's a long history behind what motivates Dante Servin to aim his rifle at the black young woman standing at his door. He sees a black face, and it's this face, this individual standing before him, perhaps speaking incoherently because of that broke-down car a few yards away, that triggers his imagination. And he recalls images of violence not involving this woman before him. Yet, he begins to fear her. He's visibly frightened now. He's been taught that he has rights. He, Dante Servin, an off-duty Chicago policeman, returns indoors, locates his rifle. Servin aim at his target.
And the black woman, Rekia Boyd, 22 years old, believes, she, too, has rights as a human being to seek the aid of another. Only she lands on the concrete in front of Servin's door. Shot in the face. Dead.
Boyd's fears, less known, are no less historical. Certainly, she didn't have the opportunity to convey here fears to law enforcement or anyone else. On that fateful night, one of countless fateful nights and days for African Americans, Boyd may have forgotten she was black, contrary to Servin, who didn't forget he was white.
But maybe this time, it's the narrative that experiences a jolt.
"In Columbus, Ohio, a man went to police because someone had been ringing his doorbell or banging on his garage 25 to 30 times a night, almost every night."
Early in January, 2019, I searched for ProPublica's website and its featured project, Documenting Hate. Included on this database is a request for stories from African Americans. Not just any kind of stories, however, but ones that recount experiences with our encounter with fear and hate. Specifically, the project requests stories written by blacks, describing the ways in which harassment is experienced--at home. Ironically, the project-within-a-project is called, Get Out!
If you are familiar with filmmaker Jordan Peele's Get Out (2017), then you might chuckle. That get out is a warning: Leave immediately! Your very being is in danger! Flee to safety! Leave this white enclave or you'll never leave but become unwillingly and cruelly absorbed into the family!
But there's another get out most blacks living in America have experienced almost as long as the get out that could represent the years of our captivity in slavery. In this horror movie, there are a series of signs (nooses, crosses, swatikas) verbal assaults ("n-word, get out!") and physical abuse that could and often does lead to death.
In this nightmare, strongly suggests we best be gone! And soon!