I share these stories because we need to see how common this is. Racism isn’t in the past, but here and now. It is embedded in our systems and institutions. We can only change these things by voting out the powers that keep these racist systems alive and well.
It is not enough to simply vote out the enabling powers behind life crushing institutions and soul sucking policies; we must replace them with powers willing to transform those structures imbued with racial bias.
If Sedrick Altheimer had been killed, we wouldn’t be reading the story of a racist sheriff doing racist shit—we would be reading stories framing Altheimer out to be a criminal. He nearly became another name for us to say out loud.
Yes. Some will rightly claim this is just speculation, but let me point out a fact in this case—that sheriff isn’t behind bars. He made a call to clearly put Altheimer’s life on the line. The sheriff put out a distress signal to his fellow law enforcers that a badge was in danger. The sheriff intentionally manufactured a scenario which drastically increased the risk to Altheimer.
The sheriff walks. He might be sued, might lose his job, might go bankrupt—but he walks. A black man accused of some minor offense finds themself thrown behind bars to rot. But, the sheriff walks.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can create a more equitable and free system, but it takes all of us stepping up to vote for real change. We must weed out those who continue to cling to the racially biased structures destroying our neighbors.
At the very least, we ought to demand a system in which even a sheriff is held accountable for attempting to have a man lynched.