America taught my son's killer to hate blacks
by Camille Cosby
From our institutions to our media, racism and prejudice are omnipresent.I believe America taught our son's killer to hate African-Americans. After Mikail Markhasev killed Ennis William Cosby on Jan. 16, 1997, he said to his friends, "I shot a nigger. It's all over the news."
This was not the first time Markhasev had attacked a black person. In 1995, he served time in a juvenile center for stabbing a black man who was standing at a gas station.
Presumably, Markhasev did not learn to hate black people in his native country, the Ukraine, where the black population was near zero. Nor was he likely to see America's intolerable, stereotypical movies and television programs about blacks, which were not shown in the Soviet Union before the killer and his family moved to America in the late 1980s.
James Baldwin wrote in his book The Price of the Ticket, "The will of the people, or the State, is revealed by the State's institutions. There was not, then, nor is there, now, a single American institution which is not a racist institution.
Yes, racism and prejudice are omnipresent and eternalized in America's institutions, media and myriad entities. Here are a few examples:
The Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 will expire in 2007. Congress once again will decide whether African-Americans will be allowed to vote. No other Americans are subjected to this oppressive nonsense.
African-Americans, as well as all Americans, are brainwashed every day to respect and revere slave-owners and people who clearly waffled about race. In truth, the enslavement of millions of Africans immeasurably enriched the treasuries of America's government and individuals. Interestingly, several slave-owners' images are on America's paper currencies: George Washington ($1), Thomas Jefferson ($2), Alexander Hamilton ($10), Andrew Jackson ($20), Ulysses Grant ($50) and Benjamin Franklin ($100).
Grant was the last U.S. president to own slaves. Even Abraham Lincoln ($5) said, "I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slave trade between the states.... I, as much as any man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race."
God and most Christian holy people artistically have been recreated in images of whiteness. This shrewd propaganda undeniably lessens the worthiness of most of the Earth's people. Because of those visual constructs, the churches have a deep problem with race.
America's educational institutions' dictionaries define "black" as harmful; hostile; disgrace; unpleasant aspects of life." "White" is described as "decent; honorable; auspicious; without malice."
A medical school at the University of Texas in Galveston conducted a controversial study primarily on black babies from 1956 to 1962. The researchers withheld an essential fatty acid from the babies' formulas that humans need for the growth of the whole body and nervous system. Those black babies were used as laboratory animals, and several of the infants died during the course of the study. Previously, this research had been done on dogs. This is just one of several unethical medical studies on African-Americans that has been documented.
Also, racism negatively has impacted African-Americans' health. Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a Harvard psychiatrist says, "Some research suggests that the high prevalence of hypertension among African-Americans, compared to whites, is related directly to the stresses associated with being a black person, living in a racist society."
D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, an undisguised racist film, was recently rated by the American Film Institute as No. 44 of America's top 100 films. This movie depicted black people as subhuman creatures.
Gangs, such as the Ku Klux Klan, unite because of racial hatred. A gang will convince themselves that they are racially superior to "outside" groups, which must be harmed or eliminated.
Violence is prevalent in America. According to Gavin de Becker's research in his book The Gift of Fear,
"The energy of violence moves through our culture.... Our country's murderers rob us of almost a million years of human life every year.... In the past two years alone, more Americans died from gunshot wounds than were killed during the entire Vietnam War."
USA TODAY recently published a report from Pride, a nonprofit drug prevention program. Pride's survey shows that nearly one million school kids (grades six through 12) carried guns to school during the 1997-98 school year. Fifty-nine percent were white; 18% were black. More than half also used an illegal drug on a monthly basis.
Ennis William Cosby was shot and killed in a middle- to upper-middle-income, predominately white community. The misperception immortalized daily by the media and other entities is that crimes are committed in poor neighborhoods inhabited by dark people.
All African-Americans, regardless of their educational and economic accomplishments, have been and are at risk in America simply because of their skin colors. Sadly, my family and I experienced that to be one of America's racial truths.
Most people know that facing the truth brings about healing and growth. When is America going to face its historical and current racial realities so it can be what it says it is?
Camille 0. Cosby is an educator and producer.
Usa Today July 8th 1998