Unlike Jesus & Lazarus, Black Bodies Don’t Reap Resurrection


Jesus arose. Lazarus arose. Dead Black bodies don’t physically rise again.

Slain Black victims of police violence didn’t rise again. Seats remained empty this Easter. Unlike the Deity of color, there was Resurrection Sunday for them.

Historic dehumanization, demoralization and devaluation of Black bodies brought us here today. Our nation was built on Black people’s backs, thanks to the transatlantic slave trade. Slave management policies are embedded in the American criminal justice system.

Slave codes, which outlawed slaves gathering together, would morph into Black codes during the 19th century. Jim Crow laws replaced the Black codes after the Civil War.

Remnants of the slave codes reveal themselves in how law enforcement responds to secular congregations of Black people. Having three or more Black people gathered usually becomes a police matter — even with the absence of illegal activity.

That depends on one’s definition of illegal. Black death by police doesn’t require illegal activity.

A 12-year-old playing in a Cleveland playground wasn’t illegal. Rice wasn’t breaking any laws, while playing with a toy gun. He was tried, convicted, and executed without due process. John Crawford was murdered for leaning on a toy gun. Eric Garner was executed for selling loose cigarettes.

Justification has become predictable and rote. Officers feared for their lives. If doing your job induces paralyzing fear, perhaps a new job is in order. #BlueLivesMatter advocates claim getting home alive is their job.

No, serving and protecting people is your job. No one needed protecting from 12-year-old playing outside and men holding and/or talking on a cell phone. Police involvement in incidents ending in Black death are more about domination than protection. Jesus’ death was about domination rather than protection.

Jesus came not to the world to condemn it, but to save it. Alas, he challenged the man-made Empire. Those who tried, convicted and crucified him without due process were focused on domination. They were protecting the Empire.

Black death by police violence is about domination rather than protection. Black people, in particular, have been positioned as the biggest challenge to our nation’s Empire. White supremacy provides that empire with a firm foundation.

As we recall Jesus’ resurrection, let’s remember the Empire continues crucifies other people of color — who don’t rise again.