When Chris and I visited Little Rock, Arkansas, in October 2016, just a couple weeks before the 2016 presidential election, we went to see the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. We read in great detail and saw endless photographs and videos of the “Little Rock Nine,” which were nine black children attempting to attend their first day of class at Little Rock Central High School, which was, during segregated America, a “white” school, but they were prevented from entering by then Arkansas governor Orval Faubus. The Supreme Court ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education was announced in 1954, but states refused to abide by this ruling, including Arkansas. The documented accounts by the black children who endured this were beyond excruciating and inhuman. The account I remember the most vividly is one of the girls who literally got spit on so much by all the white students and white protestors that she had to actually wring out her dress when she got home. Her dress was sopping wet.
Chris and I walked through the exhibit, looking over the faces of all these 1950s white people protesting, truly believing they were the better race, that people of color were beneath them. Chris commented, “How would it feel to be a child or grandchild at this site and being able to identify one of these white protestors as your own family member, knowing now that they were on the wrong side of history?”
That’s how I feel about all the white people on social media, insisting that the protestors of George Floyd’s and Ahmaud Arbery’s deaths are “thugs” and “criminals” who should be the ones brought to justice. Twitter posts will live on, won’t they?