Commentary

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The murder of Philando Castile and white supremacy in America

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I was angry when some said we should stop watching and disseminating the video of the police murder of Philando Castile with absolutely no justification.

I was incredulous when some said the video is too “traumatizing” after the extraordinarily courageous Diamond Reynolds, Philando Castile’s fiancée, made the video for us to be witnesses to this crime. She made the video so the world could see the horror of such a brutal crime by an “officer of the law.”

Americans love watching fake murders on television and in the movies. This is what murder really looks and feels like and it continues to happen with little, and most often with no justice after the crime.

While few, if any, Black people need to watch yet another graphic murder of a brother by a police officer to understand the continuing horrific nature of white supremacy in America, every white person who denies this reality should see it; including those of us white people who acknowledge America’s long history of racism and related violence and who fight against it.

No matter what some may say, we must never doubt that it is white supremacy that breeds this kind of violence. We must never doubt that white supremacy permeates our entire society; that it terrorizes Black people and other people of color to benefit white people in countless ways; that it has done so since the first white people began murdering America’s Native people and stole their land while enslaving millions of Black people to create the wealth they never earned.

I am horrified, sickened and outraged after seeing yet another innocent, nonviolent Black man, Philando Castile, murdered by police. I have watched the video (now gone viral around the world as it should) several times, which was filmed by Diamond Reynolds, who miraculously kept her composure while explaining what had happened; while pleading with the Lord not to let Philando die while the racist, thug police officer continued to scream at her.

This “officer of the law” felt he should fire several rounds at Philando, with no justification, with Diamond’s four-year-old child in the back seat who can be heard trying to comfort her distraught mother. “It’s okay, Mommy,” the little girl says, as her mother sobs. “It’s okay. I’m right here with you.”

I have no words to adequately describe how distressed I am, but I will join with others to bring this murderer with a badge to justice.

– Arthur T. Himmelman

July 21, 2016

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