When the Devil accused Job of serving God for selfish reasons he effectively accused everyone-not just Job-of having ulterior motives for praising the Lord. ‘If allowed to experience hard times,’ Satan asserted, the servant of God would abandon true worship and “curse” Him. God met this challenge by maintaining his expression of confidence in Job. Not to be outdone, the Devil countered that if he was permitted to make Job sick, that would do the trick. “A human would do anything to save his life,” said the Devil. “But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away his health? He’d curse you to your face, that’s what.” (Job 2:4, 5; The Message Bible) Did you note that the challenge involved more than just Job? Satan said “a human”-that’s right; any human-“would do anything to save his life.” Well, when it comes to Black men and crime, there are some misguided Whites who believe that a Black man-any Black man-is probably a criminal who hasn’t yet been given the opportunity to emerge from his veneer of civility. And to add insult to injury, certain Whites play upon this unfounded fear. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
Susan Smith, a White woman from South Carolina, committed two counts of premeditated murder in the first-degree when she killed her two small sons in cold blood. She rolled her car into a pond while leaving the helpless little boys inside. How is the Black man-any Black man-involved? Well, on October 24, 1994, she told police that while driving she was carjacked by a Black man who sped off with her two young boys still in the car. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she took to the airwaves crying big crocodile tears, pleading that the imaginary Black man return her babies to their distraught mother. Later she confessed to making the whole thing up, and is now serving a life sentence in prison. But before letting the country in on her big “Black” lie, White America collectively-whether consciously or subconsciously-was probably angry with every Black man in the country.
Almost five years to the day before this incident Charles Stuart, a White man from Boston, murdered his pregnant wife by shooting her in the head on October 23, 1989. The baby was delivered two months early and died 17 days later. During the staged incident Charles managed to shoot himself in the stomach, and blamed the entire ordeal on–you guessed it–a Black man. To add realism to his story, he said it wasn’t just any Black man this time. It was a Black man with a raspy voice. So, Boston’s finest arrested Willie Bennett on December 28 when Stuart fingered him in a lineup. Racial tensions were at an all-time high in Boston and across the country as too many Whites loathed the sight of a Black man as he was seen as the potential killer. It wasn’t until one of Stuart’s brothers revealed that Charles had been having an affair; had money problems; and had concocted the whole story. On January 4, 1990, Stuart leaped to his death.Â
Less than a year ago, on October 22, 2008, Ashley Todd, a White college student and supporter of Senator John McCain for President reported that she was robbed at knifepoint in front of an ATM by a “six-foot-four African American of medium build, dressed in dark clothes wearing shiny shoes.” But that’s not all. This foreboding big Black man wearing frighteningly dark clothes and “shiny shoes” (the word “shine” is a derogatory term for a Black man) had a politically astuteness about himself. When he noticed-in his unrivaled political awareness-that said victim was a McCain supporter, he unhesitatingly carved a reverse letter “B” in her check and submitted the following to our damsel in distress: “You are going to be a Barack supporter.” News organizations around the country (not surprisingly, Fox News led the way) latched onto the story of the apparently dyslexic Black assailant. Whites were up in arms. But, alas, Ashley was a liar. She confessed that the whole thing was contrived after police investigators reviewed surveillance tape. Though filing a false police report is a crime, Todd got off without even having to enter a plea, and could ultimately have the entire incident expunged from her record. After all, she is White and it was only a Black man-any Black man-that she accused. Case closed.
And then there’s beautiful blonde-haired blue-eyed Bonnie Sweeten, a Pennsylvanian White woman. Just last month, on May 25, she called 911 and told police that two Black men carjacked her and then proceeded to stuff her and her 9-year-old daughter in the trunk. (Thank God these two Black men, whoever they were, didn’t rape them!) The game has changed now; there are two Black men involved. When Bonnie’s husband Larry heard what had happened, “he reacted as if it were true” according to one news source. “I drove up and down Street Road, where she said it happened. I called the father of her other children. I called my dad. I had as many people out as I could…We were searching everywhere.”
So, aside from predominantly White police agencies hunting down Black men in general, Bonnie’s husband led a lynch party to find any two Black men-Amos and Andy if they were still alive-who stole his wife and daughter. Oh, I almost forgot. Although Bonnie had serious marital and financial troubles and even reportedly stole from her parents, she and her daughter were rescued from Disney World in Florida. The two imaginary Black men apparently were pretty well off financially. They put Bonnie and her daughter up at a lavish five-star resort hotel near The Magic Kingdom. (I hate when that happens.)
Biblical Justice: So what should a society whose constitution is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic do with these liars? “If you are lying,” says the Bible, “and the accused is innocent, then you will be punished without mercy. You will receive the same punishment the accused would have received if found guilty, whether it means losing an eye, a tooth, a hand, a foot, or even your life….The crime of telling lies in court must be punished. And when people hear what happens to witnesses that lie, everyone else who testifies in court will tell the truth.” (Deut. 19:16-21; Contemporary English Version) Enough said. Amen.