Old people of color come up to me sometimes and say, “Mr. Stevenson, I get so angry when I hear someone on TV talking about how they’re dealing with domestic terrorism for the first time in our nation’s history after 9/11. You need to make them stop saying that, because that’s not true.”
That’s a sobering quote from Jeffrey Toobin’s profile of Bryan Stevenson in the August 22 New Yorker. It comes up in the broader context of what we deem terrorism in this country, and to our grim legacy of lynchings, the noose that was around so many throats, even if a rope was never actually used. Lynchings didn’t go away, incidentally: they became the death penalty, and, where that’s been barred, it has become life sentences thrust upon minors, or the threat of that moment at which an officer may pull you over and at best only arrest you for you a crime you did not commit. Those domestic acts of terror, the ones that revolve around fear, persist, and we must not allow them to remain invisible. Do not partake in these acts, and do not remain silent around them. Like 9/11, do not forget them.