By Kelly Sampson, Counsel of Constitutional Litigation, Legal Alliance, and Racial Justice at Brady Legal
Ahmaud Arbery’s murder is on tape. I will not be watching it. I don’t need to see yet another Black person executed. I’ve already seen enough of this to last a lifetime. Laura and L.D. Nelson hanging by their necks from a bridge. Martin Luther King Jr.’s body on the balcony. Emmett Till bludgeoned in his casket. Ahmaud Arbery’s execution is disgusting, infuriating, and evil — but it is not “shocking.”
Please, do not call it shocking.
As Ta-Nehisi Coates said, “[i]n America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.” Let’s acknowledge that the United States, from the beginning, has dehumanized Black people. The Constitution, itself, “protected slavery by increasing political representation for slave owners and slave states; by limiting, stringently though temporarily, congressional power to regulate the international slave trade; and by protecting the rights of slave owners to recapture their escaped slaves.”