Effigy: an image or representation of something or someone hated.
Elegy: a mournful poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead.
Life sized photos of lynching victims were hung at various places at UC Berkeley. A UC Berkeley spokeswoman called them effigies, and thought they were connected to the #BlackLivesMatter protests around the country. http://www.techyville.com/2014/12/social-media/black-figures-hanged-in-effigy-at-uc-berkeley/
It is estimated that between the years 1882 and 1951, 4,730 people were lynched in the United States. 3437 of those lynched were Black people and nearly 1300 of those lynched were white people. http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/uni…
Any black person who challenged any white person was fair game to be lynched. Any Black person who did not display complete submissiveness to white people was subject to be lynched. Sometimes white people who had close connections to and equitable relationships with a Black person, or who took a stand for racial justice, was lynched to remind everyone else to stay in their place. As recipients of white privilege, white people were required to uphold and support the customs and routines of white supremacy.
Occupy.com recently published an article indicating that police in the United States kill a black man every 28 hours. (occupy.com/article/black-man-killed-us-every-28-hours-police). Darren Wilson, the police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager who had his hands in the air saying “Don’t Shoot”, and New York Police officer Daniel Pantaleo who held an unarmed black man in a (banned by the department) choke hold leading to his death, are but two of a legion of police officers who have recently killed Black men with no accountability. No one was ever charged in the racially motivated killings of the 4,730 people who were lynched between 1882 and 1951. Few if any of the police officers who have recently killed Black men face any charges for those killings. A lynching is a lynching, whether in 1882 or in 2014 in New York City. A lynching is a lynching, whether by an out of control mob, or by out of control police. Whether locked in a chokehold or hung from a tree, a lynching is still a lynching.
I hope that the effigies at UC Berkeley were meant to announce: “Ding Dong, the Witch is dead!” The lynching period is over. The time when white people can kill Black people with impunity is receiving an overdue but rightful funeral song. Let those UC Berkeley effigies be an elegy declaring that the time when any people can be killed because they are hated or feared because of their race or any other social identify, by anyone, and especially by officers of the law, is dead!