The Emmett Till Reality
by Eric Power
Oprah Winfrey used to have my respect. I can’t say I ever really agreed with much of what she said, but I had tremendous respect for what she has done in her life. It’s waned quite a bit in the last decade but after this recent comment, it has completely evaporated.
She has made a comment multiple times now, while promoting her new movie “The Butler” on the TV talk show circuit, about the Trayvon Martin situation which is just unbelievable. She equated Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till as being the “same thing.” So this intrigued me…who is Emmett Till? I’ve never heard the name before. I looked him up. The story of Emmett Till is as horrifying as it is tragic.
Emmett Till: Wrong Place / Wrong Time
Till was a young Chicago boy of 14 when he went to visit some family in Money, Mississippi. His mother really did not want him to go because, the South being what it was at that time in the mid-1950’s, she was afraid for him. But he went anyway, and it was a decision that ultimately cost him his life. He made the “mistake” of flirting harmlessly with a young, married, white woman named Carolyn Bryant. Her husband Roy eventually was told about what happened. He didn’t take too kindly to one of “them” hitting up his woman.
Roy and his half brother J.W. Milam devised a plan. A few nights later, they kidnapped him from his family’s house, and took him to a barn. They hung him up, beat him mercilessly, gouged one of his eyes out of his head, and tortured him further for several hours. When they finally tired of torturing him, they shot him in the head, tied a cotton gin fan around his neck with barbed wire, and dumped his body in the river. He was found three days later, his bodily condition a testament of the ravages of the river environment.
His mother, God bless her, insisted on an open casket service to show the horror of what they did to him. He was so deteriorated that part of his face actually fell off during the service. His mom insisted they replace it and continue with the open casket.
The travesty of justice comes when the two men were found not guilty of murder. There was, back in those days, not as much precision in forensics and therefore they could not positively identify Till’s body (He has since been exhumed and positively identified through DNA). It was this small technicality that somehow set these two monsters free. Months later, free from worry of being prosecuted again due to double jeopardy laws, they confessed the whole crime in a paid interview with Look Magazine. Because of this outrage, the spark of the civil rights debate in America was ignited.
Can’t you see the similarities of this crime in comparison to Trayvon Martin?? Yeah, I can’t either.
Apples and Oranges
For Oprah to compare Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till is an egregious disgrace to the memory of Till and the suffering and brutality that he endured purely based on the color of his skin. It is an insult to all the black people who have suffered at the hands of demons like Roy Bryant for no other “crime” than the color of their skin with which they were born. I would assume that since she brought up his name, that she knows the story and details of Till’s murder. It’s hard to imagine how someone who is intellectually honest with themselves could say that these are the one and the same.
|Image of Martin the night of the shooting|
It’s a sad thing that Martin died. There were things that went wrong on both sides. Zimmerman was overzealous in his quest to stop crime in his neighborhood. He seems to have a hero complex. I don’t agree with his decision to keep following him. Martin, plain and simple, was a punk thug. Black or white, it wouldn’t matter – he was a bad apple. He was a drug dealer and a user. He thought he was big and bad. After confronting Zimmerman he assaulted him, repeatedly pounding his head into the pavement. Zimmerman feared for his safety and felt he had no choice but to defend himself. He fired one shot into his torso. The skewed angle of the shot suggests that it was done quickly with little deliberation. That also suggests that it was done in a panic. The fight stopped; Zimmerman stopped. Again, ZERO SIMILARITIES to Emmett Till.
George Zimmerman is not a racist, as was established by BOTH the defense and the prosecution during trial. He is not white, as is commonly reported; he is Hispanic. He voted for Barack Obama and has mentored black children. He spoke out for a black homeless man who had been beaten by the police. I believe I even heard that his grandfather was black. These are hardly the traits of a bigot, but the media failed to mention most of that.
So what’s the deal? What’s Oprah’s motivation? Sell her movie? Instigate more racial division in America?
Well, her movie opened to a 25 million dollar weekend; not exactly a blockbuster these days. So if that was it, she failed, and may have had the exact opposite effect. I certainly wouldn’t go see her movie after all of this. Racial division? Whether that was her intent or not, it is what happened.
People have threatened to beat or shoot people purely on the basis of their color because of the not guilty verdict. Recently, in the story of the Australian who was shot “for the fun of it”, one of the teens has been reported talking angrily about Trayvon’s death and talks about having beaten 5 “woods” (derogatory name for white people). Violent riots in Oakland. Mass protests in multiple cities, some publicly disruptive, others yet that were peaceful. But in all, anger and disgust is rampant because of a perceived version of this case that is factually incorrect, perpetuated by the agenda-driven media and race-baiting “black leaders” like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Is Oprah on the same boat as those two poverty pimps? It appears that she may indeed be. She doesn’t need to be though. They make their money by fanning the flames of hate and keeping racial divides at a maximum distance. If the people they claim to care about got out of their socioeconomic situation, Al and Jesse’s money would dry up overnight. They thrive on making others think that there is no hope, so that themselves can stay on top. It’s a despicable way to make a living. Oprah made her money by proving that anyone can make it in this country if they are willing to put in the hard work necessary to succeed.
Don’t play in the gutter with them, Oprah. You can only be awash in filth for so long before you become filthy yourself.
Eric Power lives in the mid west and is a husband and father to four children. He is an avid reader and student of history. He describes himself as a “Constitution-loving, Second Amendment-supporting, Libertarian-leaning conservative.”
Eric’s well-considered opinions and ample research are a welcome addition to the content on this blog. We look forward to more posts from him in the future.