When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke about the beloved community, the imagery that he used was of a world racially at ease. Everyone would benefit from the richness of the earth and the community.
One of the things that makes reparations so difficult to understand is the undercurrents of white privilege and Black Peril.
Black Peril refers to the colonial settlers’ fear that Black men are attracted to white women and are having sexual relations with them.
Examples can also be seen in British colonialism of India and Africa. Black Peril is a colonial-based fear that started in Southern Rhodesia and survived all the way to the independence of Zimbabwe.”
It is evident that this was a tool to maintain control of Black men, and to condition the mind of the public that Black men were dangerous to the race community of white people. With this type of thought, white men were justified in continuing to terrorize Black men, and this gave them a legal concept and conscience that allowed them to accept this psychological trap.
The more I write and discover about reparations, the more I see of a distant struggle that continues to haunt this country. America seems to be unable to get over this hump simply because a lot of white people would rather believe that these monstrous things never happened.
When we think about Emmett Till, and his gruesome murder, it reeks of Black Peril. America has been recently reintroduced to the Black Peril story of the “Central Park Five.” This story is reminiscent of many instances when Black men were absolutely found guilty not for a crime but for possibly contaminating the blood line of white people through the potential real or imaginary rape of white women.
The white supremacy-Black Peril dynamic only further illustrates why reparations is so important.
Roy L. Brooks, in his essay of “The Anatomy of Reparations,” said, “First, blacks were the main target of slavery and Jim Crow. No other American group inhabited the peculiar institution.
No other American group sustained more casualties or lengthier suffering from slavery and Jim Crow.”
What is missing is the conversation at the bottom of reparations. If America wants to be great again, it must face up to its sins, and America will become something that it has never been before– the beloved community.