Another Look at the Execution of Philando Castile
Chad Eisen-Ramgren is the father of a ten-year-old child who was friends with Philando Castile — Castile was the lunch monitor at her school. In honor of Castile’s life, Eisen-Ramgren interviewed his daughter regarding the countenounce of Castile for NPR’s Storycorps. https://www.npr.org/2018/07/06/626094420/a-student-remembers-her-schools-lunch-man-philando-castile. Below is our response to Mr. Eisen-Ramgren’s interview.
Dear Chad Eisen-Ramgren,
I want to thank you very much for contributing your Storycorps NPR interview of your daughter to our mourning of the execution of Philando Castile. In connection with the efforts of freedom-loving people to make sense of the death and destruction around us, it may seem incongruous for me to focus on one manifest inaccuracy in your teaching of your daughter. However, if we are going to survive this apocalypse, and ultimately create a humane social order, we have to check each other’s prejudices. Prejudices that hide inside the most heartfelt and sincere desire to promote the cause of humanity are the ones we must focus on. Finally, by way of introduction, Chad, I would not presume to go over your head to educate your daughter, so I’m speaking directly to you:
You were explaining to your daughter that the reason why police are, unprovoked, executing Black men every day in this country is because they are scared of Black men. This prognosis cannot bear any scrutiny. By extension, you might tell us or your daughter that the reason ICE and the US military are kidnapping the children of refugees is because they are scared of them. Though this separating of of-Color children from their parents is as American as apple pie and is rooted, as a foundation stone, in the rule of the White American nation, it is not there because of fear on the part of the perpetrators.
Chad, Europeans did not take their ships to Africa and kidnap millions of Africans because they were scared of them. Conquering is at the heart of the male supremacist system, and it is not fear-based — it is greed-based.
The settlers (all over the world, but for now we’re talking about those who “settled” the United States) did not take 90% of the Native population off the planet because they were scared of them. Native Americans proved “unfit” for slave labor — that is why genocide was committed against them by the great grandfathers of today’s police-executioners.
The Nazi’s, including the “good Germans” who are identical to today’s “good Americans,” did not wantonly execute Jews because they were scared of them.
No, none of this genocide was committed because the genocidal maniacs running this system are scared of us. It is a slave system. When the executioner of Philando Castille commits this act, it moves the cause of humanity forward in no way to psychoanalyze him. Presuming to be able to read his mind — “he was scared of Philando” — misses the systematic mark. To turn this around, psychoanalysis will not get it done. Only a people’s movement, in others words a movement to replace the rotting system with a humane system, can get us out of this. What is systematic is that when they shoot Philando in the head they are telling Black men all over the country what this system has been telling us ever since its representatives arrived on the shores of the West Coast of Africa: “Slave for us or we will shoot you in the head.”
It is not about being scared of Black people, Jewish people, Native people, or refugee women and their children. It is about maintaining the male supremacist system, the slave system. “If you do not labor for free, we don’t need you, except as an example for your Brothers and Sisters. You don’t want to be a slave? — BLAM.”