troy davis and the skinhead i saw this morning

September 22, 2011

by — Posted in Genealogy, the stuff in between

my rides to and from work are almost always interesting. today was clearly no exception. (image Troy Davis, via New York Times, photo by Savannah Morning News, via Associated Press)

today marked the first time i have ever seen a real, (and as my mother says) “live and in the flesh” skinhead. yeah, for real. shaved head. swastika tattoo on the back of his head kinda guy. we’ll call him remy. at first, i noticed him because he was wearing all white and we weren’t at a baptism or a party in the hamptons. after closer inspection, i saw his combat boots and the aforementioned tattoo on the back of his head. in my mind i said “wow. really?” but i was curious. i mean, here he was in oakland. i’m sure anyone you ask would say that oakland is probably one of the most well known areas for having a lot of people who aren’t aryan focused, right? on the other hand, he seemed reformed to me, especially when he let me go ahead of him on the escalator. i contemplated having a conversation with him, just to ask questions and then have some food for thought later, but i let the opportunity pass.

following that experience, it caused me to think more about yesterday. two executions took place. one (lawrence brewer) was for a highly covered hate crime in texas. the other, troy davis in georgia, had nearly everyone’s twitter or facebook timeline full of tweets or posts in reference to it for the last few weeks.  davis’ execution was particularly controversial due to several witness recantations and a lack of evidence.  the family of the victim in the davis case still believed that he had committed the crime, despite the recantations and lack of evidence.  davis held onto his innocence until the end, uttering the powerful words, “May God have mercy on your souls” to his executioners.

a theme amongst all these things is one word:  judge.  i judged “remy” based on appearances and it’s obvious (to me) that davis was judged the same way and neither was warranted.  on the other hand, if brewer was not judged, he wouldn’t have been sentenced to die for the dragging death of james byrd.

for all, i wonder about their descendants and how their lives will be captured in future.  how will the “flesh on the bones” be betrayed later?  each piece of information about them is something that i’m sure their future generations would want to know, but it has to be hard to know it and stay impartial.  the same is true for anything that’s not as dignified as being elected president of the u.s.  the information is still valuable and can be learned from.   this is why it’s key to know these things about our families and not hoard them to ourselves.  troy davis may not have been lil wayne, but he had millions of people he didn’t know advocating and praying for him.  to me, that’s just as dynamic.

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Nicka Smith
Genealogist, Photographer at Who is Nicka Smith?
Nicka Smith is a professional photographer, speaker, and documentarian with more than 18 years of experience as a genealogist. She has extensive experience in African ancestored genealogy, reverse genealogy, and family reunion planning and execution. She is also an expert in genealogical research in the Northeastern Louisiana area, sharing genealogy with youth, documenting the ancestral journey, and employing the use of new technology in genealogy and family history research.

2 thoughts on “troy davis and the skinhead i saw this morning

  1. I worry about history and how it will be taught to future generations. Even now when you take US History many many sections of our own history are omitted from the books. These are events that shaped American culture and ideas but yet have no place in US History books. Internment Camps in the US, last I checked were never even mentioned. Pivotal Supreme Court cases also omitted. Dunno maybe it will get better since now there is a digital finger print to these cases but who knows. Good piece by the way

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