(Todd A. Smith)
Journalist Mike Wallace once produced a television documentary entitled “The Hate that Hate Produced,” in which he presented Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam as a bunch of racists that rose to prominence because of the racism that Black people encountered.
Well, I decided to write an op-Ed entitled “The Fate that Hate Produced,” because the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery will spend the rest of their lives behind bars because of their hatred for African-Americans.
And unfortunately for them, that fate could have been easily avoided if they had more love in their hearts and less hatred.
Do not get it twisted, Arbery should remain the focus of all stories dealing with this horrendous incident because his life mattered more than the lives of murderers.
But the fate of his murderers, Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. should be a cautionary tale for some White parents who have hatred in their hearts for people just because of the color of their skin.
The tragic story of Gregory McMichael should become the biggest cautionary tale for parents who teach their children to be racist because those teachings can possibly lead to their children spending the rest of their lives behind bars because hate can lead to unnecessary violence.
The three murderers currently are on trial on federal hate crime charges for allegedly violating Arbery’s civil rights because he was African-American.
The case has led to racist messages coming out in which the younger McMichael uses racial slurs to describe African-Americans, while also spewing hateful stereotypical comments about African-Americans.
Noah A. McGee of The Root reported, “The defense attorneys for the McMichaels and Bryan admit that they each had expressed nasty opinions about Black people in their past. However, they still argue that Arbery was chased for honest suspicion that he had committed a crime and it had nothing to do with race.”
But did it?
What made the McMichaels, and Bryan think that Arbery had committed a crime when they had no proof that he had?
The McMichaels and Bryan viewed Arbery suspiciously because he was African-American and all their views of African-Americans are negative because of the racism in their hearts.
And while Travis McMichael is a grown man responsible for his own views and actions, one cannot tell me that he learned his views on race from anyone except his father.
And because of their ignorance, their futures have been destroyed.
White parents, who have similar racist views in their hearts, must ask themselves: do I hate African-Americans so much that my hatred might lead to a horrendous crime, which ruins multiple lives forever?
The Associated Press reported, “Travis McMichael…once texted a friend saying he loved his job because ‘zero niggers work with me.’ Commenting on an online video of a Black man lighting a firecracker stuffed in his nose, he messaged a friend saying: ‘It’d be cooler if it blew the f***ing nigger’s head off’…. The friend was taken aback by how angry McMichael sounded…
“One allegation never mentioned in the prosecutor’s opening statement was that Bryan told investigators he heard Travis McMichael utter a racial slur after shooting Arbery. The comment was widely reported after Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Richard Dial testified to it during a June 2020 pretrial hearing in the state murder case. Travis McMichael’s attorneys denied that he said it, and state prosecutors never brought up the comment during the murder trial.
“As for Greg McMichael…a former colleague of his will testify that McMichael responded angrily in a conversation about the 2015 death of civil rights activist Julian Bond saying: ‘Those Blacks are all nothing but trouble.’
“And just days before Arbery was shot…Bryan had become upset after learning that his daughter was dating a Black man…Bryan commented that his daughter ‘has her nigger now.’”
After reading those hateful comments from the three murderers of Arbery, forgive me if I do not believe any one of them when they say race had nothing to do with Arbery’s murder.
It clearly was the only reason they chased Arbery down and murdered him, because they think “those Blacks are all nothing but trouble.”
Unfortunately, the only trouble that Arbery had was crossing the path of three troubled and deranged racist White men.
People like the McMichaels and Bryan are what’s wrong with American society, not innocent African-Americans minding their own business in their own neighborhood or side of town.
And nothing in their deranged racist rants make any sense to a non-bigoted person.
When Bond died in 2015 and McMichael said that Blacks were nothing but trouble, what did he mean?
Was he speaking specifically about Blacks like Bond who fought for freedom and equality of all Americans, regardless of color?
Was he speaking about civil rights leaders who gave their lives so that America could become a little better for non-White people?
Does he equate equality with trouble?
If so, no wonder he saw Arbery as trouble.
To him, it probably was horrible that a Black man could live in a decent and integrated neighborhood.
To him, it probably was horrible that Arbery probably looked at homes under construction and one day envisioned owning his own home like the ones being built in that neighborhood.
Maybe Arbery reminded Bryan of his daughter’s Black boyfriend.
Maybe when he saw Arbery, he saw his possible future son-in-law sleeping with his White daughter.
Maybe Bryan remembered all the stereotypes that his parents and grandparents taught him as a child.
But maybe if he had not learned those ignorant things, maybe Arbery would be alive, and all three murderers would be free.
Maybe some White parents should think again when they put racist things in their children’s heads so their parenting and hate will not produce the same fate as it did for Arbery’s murderers.