Tuesday, March 24, 2009
RIP Lovelle Mixon
Lovell Mixon (below) with his uncle Curtis Mixon
The mainstream media, for the most part, portrays Lovelle Mixon as a despicable human being beyond reform - child rapist and urban terrorist.
The comments on previous posts to this blog attest to many peoples' willingness to believe in this picture of him.
I did not know him personally but I know a little bit about what young African men face in East Oakland and I know the history of this phenomenon - some from books and some from having lived to see the Stuart Case, the acquittal of the officers who beat Rodney King, the frame up of Fred Hampton Jr. and numerous other events unfold. Mostly, however, I have learned from the brilliant teachings and campaigns of the Uhuru Movement.
I learned from young men like Lovelle in my classroom as a teacher at Castlemont High (just down the street from where the events took place and also down the street from the Uhuru House), young men and women who were brilliant, ready to take on the world, but who were treated as less than intelligent and whose pride and brilliance prevented them from putting up with the miseducation, irrrelevance and boredom that often came with being in school.
It turns out that Derrick Mixon was Lovelle's cousin. Derrick was a 9th grader at Castlemont High who was witty, hilarious and creative and only lived to age 15 before he was killed last summer. There was no outcry about this young man's death. He was one of many young men whose unexplained death was unnoticed by the outside world.
With what I have learned from the Uhuru Movement about the history of slavery, the hundreds of years of lynchings of African people by regular white folks (my people), about the everyday terror of the chain gangs, police violence and prison system, there is no possible way that I could just believe what they want me to believe. The historic figure of the black man as rapist figures into the popular imagination to such a degree to stir up white nationalist lynch mob justice and to separate him from his community. And this young man is already dead.
It is time for white people who consider ourselves forward thinking and progressive to stand with the victims, stand with the families and with the communities who have suffered enough and whose movement can overturn a system that we also hate for its inhumanity, its brutality, its perpetual war here and in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
I encourage you to come out to support tomorrow evening - Wednesday, March 25th at 6pm at the Uhuru House, 7911 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland.
For other views diverging from that of the mainstream on Lovelle Mixon and the events in Oakland, see:
A decent letter to the editor by Sally Norvel of Alameda (at the top):
This article is mainstream but has a lot of details about his life that I haven't read about yet: