It’s as old as sin. Humiliation and dominance of another human being. Not human really. It is behavior at the animal level but worse because there is some degree of human consciousness behind it that knows better.
Texas traffic officer Encina dragging Sandra Bland from her car is only one more visible example that has made it onto film. He clearly provokes her, threatens her. He can’t stand it because she is not passively submissive to him. On a near empty wide highway, Encina stopped Sandra’s car. He had just made a quick U turn to go after her and was speeding up fast behind her. The film shows that Sandra, driving ahead of him, had pulled into the right lane, as we all would do, to let patrol cars and emergency vehicles pass. There were virtually no other cars on the road. After leaving her waiting in the car for the better part of ten minutes, he comes back and taunts her with the question “ What’s wrong?” when she appears irritated. She tells him the clear truth in short clipped sentences. He later described how she looked straight ahead, wouldn’t look at him. Definitely not submissive enough. He was going to change that. He told her to put out her cigarette she had lit while waiting. She knew her rights, she was in her own car. He escalated it and forced her out of he car threatening to ‘light her up’ with his taser. He was literally going to take her down and he did, hand cuffed and shoved to the ground. When she called out she had epilepsy he cries, “Good!” as he slams her down.
Sandra Bland had done nothing wrong, in fact she made the lane change as we all could have done. But she was black, she was a woman, and she spoke up to the dominating violence of a man arrogantly abusing his power. She taunted him back with angry crude language for using humiliation and his domineering position to be a so called man. In calling in his report he will further reveal his chauvinism in the snarky guffaws when asked if she had done physical harm to him.
She’s dead now. Died in the jail by hanging. They will focus on the fact she had other brushes with police, used some pot, etc. She was an activist in raising awareness about police brutality. In January she had prophetically stated in angry dismay regarding the slaying of unarmed African Americans,… “ we’ve seen of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.” Samuel DuBose, for example.
But the real deal is she stood up to the degradation with defiance when she had done no wrong, because in her soul she knew such humiliation just cannot be left un challenged anymore and she had the guts to speak up. Even if this degrading humiliation is world wide, even if it is very, very old and represents the way racism and slavery and domination of another human being, especially women, has worked for a long, long time it needs to run its course. For more than ever before, it is very, very wrong. Sandra spoke up.
Is the officer all bad? One could say he is representative of many human beings. Lacking self knowledge and basic levels of self mastery, he was triggered in lower reactive parts of his brain to take control and overwhelm her and did so with obliterated thinking, with below the belt gut reactions, to a perception that he was losing control. Fight, fright, flight- all primitive responses that gave rise to brutal responses to perceived confrontation. Ugly. When devotional human capacities and the higher capacities of sound moral judgement have not been nurtured and supported, then higher sound decision capacities will not prevail. Examples abound. Isn’t it time we acknowledge that people raised with hatred and prejudice, humiliation and mistreatment bred into them at base level that can become constant festering wound? They can then grow to be adults with a lot of darkness in their own souls, of self loathing, of cruelty, of outer arrogance? And as it festers within they can project it, throw it onto someone outside themselves, especially if that individual has a darker skin which would mirror for them the dark shadows inside?
It happens all the time. We are all triggered at primal, basic, unthinking, reactive levels in our brains. When this is not recognized and faced we end up with a unraveling culture as we have today and many untrained, uneducated or unaware individuals, conditioned by video games and armed with lethal weapons and no wisdom how or when to use them. Add to that the pervasive drugs in the mix and it is a bleak picture indeed.
It is time to wake up to our human nature with its potential for spiritual strength and all too base weaknesses and all the toxic substances that make us weaker. It is long past time. African Americans and anyone having to endure unwarranted hate and prejudice have disproportionately had to take all this. Further, we bear a legacy in our collective American consciousness that belongs to this country for we have participated in the worldwide sin of slavery from our founding days. The fearful gut instincts of those in power had to keep slaves ‘under control‘, to keep inner and outer darkness at bay, by any means, brutally, physically, fearfully, financially, socially, through taxes, or voting laws, incarceration, whatever works. To this day. (Dear God, if only we could spend a fraction of what we do to jail people on supporting mothers and children in their earliest years of life when it matters so much!)
It is truly inspiring to know there are so many African Americans who have endured this and triumphed as human beings. We can and should be in awe of the deeper humanity they can model for us. Truly evolved soul capacities. Can we recognize such individuals can show the way for all of us in what it means to be truly human? oldest black church in America. That evening they had welcomed an unknown white man into their circle. He sat with them awhile before slaying them.
What a group of special individuals they are! Young, old, doctorate in biology, beloved town librarian, brilliant dedicated ministers, legislator,long time cleaning woman of the church, speech therapist, coaches, achievers in outer careers and their communities but more than that, they were achievers as moral human beings. Together they have sacrificially in their death given spiritual light to shine on a deep, deep problem. Surely they are welcomed to the other side favored by God No doubt some of them had faced inner and outer obstacles of hatred and humiliation but instead of turning it to hatred and darkness in the soul, with the power of the spirit they transformed it into love and service. Can we realize how such souls shine with the white light of compassion, devotion and the love of God like a beacon of love made human? For warmth and light shone through their deeds. Those describing their lives are describing love in action. This was a group of people with the common knowledge that a caring and open heart in service to God is the most precious possession a person can have. And they knew to be filled with hatred is to poison the heart. Georgette, the mother of the twenty six year old Tywansa the man with the radiant smile for everyone, puts it so clearly, “You can’t have love and hate residing in the heart at the same time. We’re just going to have to love one another.” The timeless truth of St. John’s words spoken from her compassionate soul in the face of the murder of her son.
Even in the tragic moment of the massacre, some of them could forgive the heinous deed with their firm spiritual wisdom. I deeply admire this. True humanity has graced these lives,with the higher, greater moral qualities given selflessly to the world around them. Tywansa (center) in a last post to social media, put the question for us all to ponder now… “Ever notice how the mainstream media treats black protesters and white rioters differently?” Tywanza died trying to save his Aunt from the gunman’s lethal barrage. He left on his Facebook page the words of Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Sandra’s life has left its impact. The nine martyr’s lives have left their impact. Can we be aware of the soul searching asked of us all to acknowledge and address the darkness in our own hearts and labor to transform it and put it into the service of higher loving powers as they did? For in the end the question asked of us all will be: Did his or her spirit choose to express the highest humanity? Did they choose the domineering humiliation of others or strive for the the kind, the loving, and the good and put it into the world?” We write the script of our lives as an answer to those eternal questions.