‘Black lives’ a movement for restoring memory


Karlyle Stephens

Mesa Legend

Karlyle Stephens“Black lives matter” is the mantra meant for awakening forgetful or deliberately severed memory banks.  Take for instance actor Ben Affleck, who was exposed in June for trying to separate from the reality of his-story.  Appearing on “Finding Your Roots,” a series on PBS that traces the genealogy of celebrities, the actor was confronted with a great uncle named Benjamin Cole who owned 25 slaves.  Leaked documents show Affleck lobbied the program to eliminate the information from being aired.  Conflicted with Affleck’s “improper influence” and keeping the integrity of the show, the episode in question never aired, which I’d say is better than having been bamboozled with an “Afflecked” version. Audiences would have missed out on some very vital information. Not just about Mr. Cole, but also the 25 people who lived as slave on his plantation.  Don’t their lives and experiences matter?

Here you have what I now call “Afflecking.” The ability of whites, or anyone uncomfortable with the realities of racism, to completely dismiss it altogether.
Are there consequences to these suppressive attempts?  Hundreds of years past the days of Benjamin Coles, and exactly 60 this past August since Emmit Till’s brutalized body was found in Tallahachie River in Mississpi, black bodies are still treated with similar disdain.

In August, a black lives matter demonstration was held in Phoenix to honor the one year anniversary since the death of Michelle Cusseuex, an unarmed mentally ill black woman shot in her home by a Phoenix Police officer. The next day a counter protest was held in Scottsdale by gun totting conservatives displaying Confederate flags.  These protesters claimed to be in support of the country, the Constitution and God. In an Arizona Republic report, one protest called black lives matter “garbage” and criticized the movement saying it “makes folk heroes out of thugs.”

Then there’s Fox’s Bill O’Reilly who in July discredited black lives matter by calling the group “agitators” and “nuts saying crazy things”
It’s these types of arrogant “Affleckings” coupled with police misconduct (with its historical connection to slave patrol) that make up what some fear is modern day genocide.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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