How can you be sittin' there
Telling me that you care -
That you care?
When every time I look around,
The people suffer in the suffering
In everyway, in everywhere.
Say: na-na-na-na-na (na-na, na-na!):
We're the survivors, yes: the Black survivors!
Bob Marley's song could serve as an anthem for this emotional moment among many in Black America. Troy Davis is dead, but the rest of us survive. At least for now. When I think about his state-sanctioned killing, I'm haunted by the face which has looked out from that photo featured in the news. I keep seeing my own face. I keep seeing the face of my father, the face of my son. I wonder about the value of my own life as a Black man in America.
I'm also reminded of the words of Glenn C. Loury in his book, Race, Incarceration, and American Values:
...we law-abiding, middle-class American have made decisions about social policy and incarceration, and we benefit from those decisions, and that means a system of suffering rooted in state violence, meted out at our request. We had choices and we decided to be more punitive. Our society — the society we have made — creates criminogenic conditions...then acts out rituals of punishment...as some awful form of human sacrifice.
Human sacrifice. It's an apt description of the killing of Troy Davis and the many Black men like him who are disproportionately arrested, sentenced, incarcerated and executed in America. Baha'u'llah (1817-1892), Founder of the Baha'i Faith asks us to, "Consider the multitude of lives that have been, and are still being, sacrificed in a world deluded by a mere phantom which the vain imaginations of its peoples have conceived."