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Donald Trump held a rally Monday night in Las Vegas a day before the Republican presidential candidates are set to appear on stage for the final GOP debate of the year.
During the rally, multiple protesters attempting to interrupt the candidate’s speech were escorted out of the Westgate Las Vegas Resort. In a video captured by BuzzFeed News senior political writer McKay Coppins, a Trump supporter could be heard yelling “light the motherfucker on fire” as security officers restrained a protester.This ought not to be surprising in a country where for more than 100 years white mobs lynched at least four thousand black people. After being beaten, having their genitals, fingers, toes, and ears cut off, bodies shot and stabbed, many black victims of these white thugs were then set on fire while still alive.
Body parts were then cut off of the victims' bodies, photos taken, whites posed triumphantly next to the corpse, and then shared the images on postcards that could circulate all over the world as one of America's first forms of mass popular culture.
These Black American victims of White American violence had names.
They were Claude Neal (who was forced to eat his own penis by the white lynchers), Samuel Hose, Elijah Strickland and so many others whose names were lost to history but whose pain and stories are remembered by their families, friends, and descendants.
For example, Samuel Hose (alias Samuel Holt), killed in a less brutal manner than ISIS terrorists do to their human prey, was tortured by white Christians in Georgia. Witnesses described his murder in the following way:
Sam Holt...was burned at the stake in a public road.... Before the torch was applied to the pyre, the Negro was deprived of his ears, fingers, and other portions of his body.... Before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones were crushed into small bits, and even the tree upon which the wretch met his fate were torn up and disposed of as souvenirs. The Negro's heart was cut in small pieces, as was also his liver. Those unable to obtain the ghastly relics directly paid more fortunate possessors extravagant sums for them. Small pieces of bone went for 25 cents and a bit of liver, crisply cooked, for 10 cents.That was America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Trump supporters have not yet formed lynch mobs. Perhaps that is the progress of the 21st century? But I would not put it past them. White supremacy is pathological. It is a cultural sickness. Unfortunately, many millions of white Americans are still infected with it. Alas, to be "American" is to inherit, internalize, and reproduce a cultural norm where violence against the black and brown body is the glue that has historically held together both the white body politic and the white democratic project.
In the necropolis of black bodies in the Age of Obama--black bodies killed by cops and white identified vigilantes--this norm (and perhaps white birthright?) lives on.