CAMDEN By Bradly Gill
Last week, against my better judgment, I watched the video of the death of Ahmaud Arbery. I’ve thought a lot about it since then.
Arbery was a young African American male jogging through a neighborhood when two men approached him, allegedly because he fit the description of a burglary suspect.
Moments later Arbery was dead and it was several weeks later before an arrest was made in the case, possibly thanks to the connections of one of the suspects, but that’s not what this column is about and I’m not exploring that.
The video evoked a lot of emotions. It’s hard to not feel a visceral reaction when you see two white males in a pickup with shotguns chase down an African American male. I don’t know that any other term than lynching is appropriate.
This was not self defense. This was not two worried men protecting their homes. It was a scene that was commonplace in the South in 1920 on full display in 2020.
It’s an understatement to say the South has a complicated history with racism. It’s a flat out lie to say racism no longer exists.
It’s even difficult for me to write about race, not because of any sort of white guilt, but I recognize the responsibility I have. I’m a 37 year old white male. I’m the poster child for privilege.
That’s another thing that eats at me about the Arbery murder. I’ll never be subjected to something like that. If I jog in a neighborhood, literally almost any neighborhood, no one is going to mistake me for a burglary suspect.
I do a fair bit of “urban exploring”, which sometimes involves looking at abandoned properties and activities that could easily be misconstrued as casing a place…but no one has ever stopped me, no one has ever questioned what I was doing in a particular place. I just look like I’m supposed to be there. I’m white.
And I’m not saying all white people are horrible monsters. Some of my best friends are white. Honestly, a lot of my friends are the first ones that would stand up to bigotry and hatred. I’m proud of them.
I also want to give a quick shout out to those that ran Friday in honor of Arbery. I’m not naive enough to think that running is going to solve all the world’s problems, but it’s a start. It recognizes the misdeed that was done, and that’s better than just ignoring it. Like Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I want to leave you with two quotes from MLK, Jr. to ponder. The first is “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Arbery’s murder happened in Georgia, but the underlying problems; the divisiveness, the mistrust of the “other” are still very prevalent in our
The second is one I hope you take to heart “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
And that’s the only solution to any of this- love. Love people regardless of their skin tone, their bank account or where they go to church. Love people because it’s the right thing