Strange Reactions to Strange Fruit

While the investigation into Otis Byrd’s hanging death is ongoing, the court of public opinion is already rushing to judgment.

The same week that rapper A$AP Ferg declared that “racism been over,” Otis James Byrd’s decomposing body was found hanging from a tree in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The media speculated as to whether this was a possible suicide, but not unlike when a black or brown person dies in police custody amidst claims of self-inflicted gunshots while handcuffed behind the back, there are those among us who have a familiar, sinking feeling of where this is headed.

The FBI has asked for patience as 30 investigators pore over the details of the case. Yet, especially for us blacks, the pain is in the waiting. This feels all too much like waiting on the now-tainted Ferguson grand jury to announce its non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Mike Brown. Just get it the hell over with. Such a delay feels like adding insult to injury with a well-established precedent, the promise of liberty and justice for all but us.

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