It’s one of those days where the temperature is [number in the high eighties/low nineties] but feels like [number in the high nineties]. Boston is closing schools because of the heat [cue up local TV footage of box fans arriving at old brick schools in town]. Has that ever happened before? It’s MUGGY out there, a regular swampfest.
Finn and I headed out early and managed to walk the standard loop. My new big-brimmed cotton hat is a godsend.
While walking, I listened to a couple of episodes of this podcast. A group of us will discuss it tomorrow morning. It’s about the beating of a Black teenaged boy, Lenard Clark, in the late 90’s and the weird alliances that formed in the violence’s wake (not to mention the disappearance of one witness and murder of another and rumored ties of the perpetrator’s family to the Mob).
Calls for reconciliation were made by the perpetrator’s family, Black ministers, and others, even as Lenard remained in a coma. The narrator, a journalist named Yohance Lacour, examines both the impact that had on the community and on him personally. His story telling style is really compelling but you’ll have to listen for yourself because I haven’t yet figured why exactly. I think I fell a little bit in love with him by the end.
But I digress.
Lacour remembers the anger he and his friends felt upon finding out about Clark. He also remembers how quickly the story disappeared in a news ecosystem that seemed fixated with turning the tragedy into a tale of racial reconciliation, he said.
(I remember a similarly weird focus on forgiveness after the massacre at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston).
Here are a few quotes from the series:
“I can’t keep my mouth shut when the Devil got his foot up my behind.” Zakiyyah Muhammad
“Ain’t no reconciliation when Black people only ones wanting it…” Yohance Lacour
“If serious about reconciliation, they’re supposed to wake up every single day with nothing else on their minds but how to repair the damage.” Marcia Chatelain (I think).
Everything else, the script goes on the say, is mere gesture or worse, insult.
For Black people, Pulitzer-prize winning author and historian Marcia Chatelain continues, life is “a series of negotiations that force us to evaluate what our life is worth.”
“I’m not gonna move along. I’m gonna be right here standing in my rage, unreconciled. Because I didn’t see nothing. I saw something.” Yohance Lacour