Black men are still being lynched and no one cares

Photo courtesy of the Riverfront Times

Photo courtesy of the Riverfront Times

Sarah Morgan and Sydney Colella

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Danye Jones was a young Black man living in Missouri. He was the son of Ferguson protester Melissa McKinnies, and he was only 24 when his mom found him hanging dead from a tree in St. Louis, Missouri.

Lynching is the extrajudicial hanging of a person by a group. Throughout American history, Black Americans have had to deal with the continued attacks on their communities, many of which were via lynching. Many people believe that lynching is an outdated violent method that isn’t present today. This is not the case.

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) out of 4,743 total people lynched from 1882 to 1968, 3,446 were black. This pattern continued on October 17, 2018, with Jones.

Although investigated as a suicide, we believe Jones was lynched. We believe this, in part because he was Black and was found hanging from a tree in his mother’s backyard. We believe this because his face had clear bruises on it (which could not have been self-inflicted). We believe he was lynched because the sheets used to hang him were not his or his family’s. We believe Jones was murdered because those same sheets were tied with knots he didn’t know. His mother also said her family had been receiving death threats for months.

Clearly, 50 years after the era of lynchings, Black people are still being brutalized. Police negligence and brutality is a whole different article, but to call the suspicious hanging of a Black person a suicide is irresponsible.

McKinnies was receiving threats due to her “consistent fixture at the protests in Ferguson following Michael Brown’s death,” as explained in an article by the news site, Colorlines. There have been three deaths of Ferguson protestors in the last four years in St. Louis County, establishing a pattern that cannot be ignored. Jones’ death is consistent with this pattern. Mckinnies also told CBS that “they watched my house and when my husband and my son would approach the car, they would drive off.” McKinnies claims that those who oppose her retaliated through the death of her son, and we believe her.

Unfortunately, Black death has become normalized. Desensitization has kicked in and empathy for dead Black youth is hard to find. The public doesn’t want to hear about another dead Black kid, another five, another 20. Their names are left to rot in the backs of our brains. They are not a priority to most Americans, they are something we no longer care about, something that no longer matters as much as it should.

Our unawareness is unacceptable. Although lynching is no longer as common as it used to be, tragedies like this happen every day. We let them go, we forget, and we move on to the next story. While the media may not give these issues the attention as they deserve, it is our responsibility to keep everyone aware that these horrific, hateful acts are still happening today.