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Old As Sin

It’s as old as sin. Humiliation and dominance of another human being. Not human really. It is behavior at the animal level but worse because there is some degree of human consciousness behind it that knows better.

Texas traffic officer Encina dragging Sandra Bland from her car is only one more visible example that has made it onto film. He clearly provokes her, threatens her. He can’t stand it because she is not passively submissive to him.

On a near empty wide highway, Encina stopped Sandra’s car. He had just made a quick U turn to go after her and was speeding up fast behind her. The film shows that Sandra, driving ahead of him, had pulled into the right lane, as we all would do, to let patrol cars and emergency vehicles pass. There were virtually no other cars on the road.

After leaving her waiting in the car for the better part of ten minutes, he comes back and taunts her with the question “ What’s wrong?” when she appears irritated. She tells him the clear truth in short clipped sentences. He later described how she looked straight ahead, wouldn’t look at him. Definitely not submissive enough. He was going to change that and he did. He told her to put out her cigarette she had lit while waiting. She knew her rights, she was in her own car. He escalated it and forced her out of he car threatening to ‘light her up’ with his taser. He was literally going to take her down and he did, hand cuffed and shoved to the ground. When she called out she had epilepsy he cries, “Good!” as he slams her down.

Sandra Bland had done nothing wrong, in fact she made the lane change as we all could have done. But she was a black, she was a woman, and she spoke up to

dominating violence of a man arrogantly abusing his power. She taunted him back with angry crude language for using humiliation and his dominating position to be a so called man. In calling in his report he will further reveal his chauvinism in the snarky guffaws when asked if she had done physical harm to him.

She’s dead now. Died in the jail by hanging. They will focus on the fact she had other brushes with authority, used some pot, etc. She was an activist in raising awareness about police brutality. In January she had prophetically stated in angry dismay,... “ we’ve seen of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.”

But the real deal is she stood up to the degradation with defiance when she had done no wrong, because in her soul she knew such humiliation just cannot be left un challenged anymore and she had the guts to speak up. Even if this degrading humiliation is world wide, even if it is very, very old and represents the way racism and slavery and domination of another human being has worked for a long, long time it needs to run its course. For more than ever before, it is very, very wrong. Sandra spoke up.Can we acknowledge that there are some white people. raised with hatred and prejudice and mistreatment, can grow to be adults with embittered blackness in their souls, the darkness of self loathing, of arrogance, and cruelty and project that black condition out onto those who have a dark skin? That they can throw out their own darkness onto someone else and then hate them instead of themselves? Can we acknowledge that there are some African American people who have overcome great inner and outer obstacles of hatred and humiliation so that their souls shine with the white light of compassion and service to the love of God?Four days after Sandra’s death, nine martyrs died on June 17,2015, bringing these injustices into light we can no longer avoid, nor should we. At the cold hands and heart of a tormented, hate-filled young white gunman nine beautiful souls died at a bible study evening in the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, the oldest black church in America. That evening they had welcomed an unknown white man into their circle. He sat with them awhile before slaying them.

What a group of shining individuals they are! Young, old, doctorate in biology, beloved town librarian, brilliant dedicated ministers, legislator,long time cleaning woman of the church, speech therapist, coaches, achievers in outer careers and their communities but more than that, they were achievers of their highest humanity! Together they have sacrificially in their death they have given their spiritual light to shine on a deep, deep problem. And they will surely be welcomed to the other side as a group of advanced human beings.

Loving warmth and light shone through their deeds and their devotion to God. Those describing their lives are describing love in action. This was a group of people with the knowledge that a pure heart in service to God is the most precious possession a person can have. Georgette, the mother of the twenty sixe year old Tywansa the man with the radiant smile for everyone, puts it so clearly, “You can’t have love and hate residing in the heart at the same time. We’re just going to have to love one another.” The timeless truth of St. John’s words spoken from her compassionate soul in the face of the murder of her son.

One can stand in awe of the evolved humanity of these good people. Even in the tragic moment of the massacre, some of them could forgive the heinous deed with their firm spiritual knowledge of what a loving open heart is. True humanity has graced these lives, the higher human qualities given selflessly to the world around them.

Tywansa (center) in a last post to social media put the question for us all to ponder now... “Ever notice how the mainstream media treats black protesters and white rioters differently?” Tywanza died trying to save his Aunt from the gunman’s lethal barrage. He left on his Facebook page the words of Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Sandra’s life has left its impact. The nine martyr’s lives have left their impact. Can we be aware of the soul searching asked of us all to acknowledge and address the darkness in our own hearts and labor to transform it and put it into the service of higher loving powers as they did? For in the end the question asked of us all will be: Did his or her spirit choose to express the highest humanity? Did they choose the domineering and humiliation of others or strive for the the kind, the loving, and the good and put it into the world?”

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