My Heart is in Memphis

First, there is racism.

I will keep reposting this until it is no longer true.


And again

and again.

Why do killings keep happening?

Because, in America, first, there is racism.

Tyre D. Nichols’ photography can be viewed here: T. Nichols Photography

A photograph of Tyre D. Nichols at his memorial service after he was first killed by racism
A photo of Tyre D. Nichols at his memorial service

#antiracism, another police killing, first there is racism, Memphis, Tyre D. Nichols

Comments (7)

  • UNBELIEVABLE!! Over and over again. And each time we are surprised? The dark shadows of racism and classism reside in our culture. Every Black friend I have says that many times they have been watched as they shop in a department store. Many have been stopped and their vehicles searched as they stood with their hands up, afraid to even make eye contact with an officer. Murdered for a traffic stop? I looked at this young man’s website – his photography speaks for him of beauty, contrast and love. We say we are saddened – of course we are! EVERY SINGLE DAY! When I was a kid in the 1960’s I thought a miracle had happened and now everyone will just move on and get along fine. Here we are over 50 years later and not much has changed really. I’m certain that 150 years ago some thought things would be different. Not much has changed really. What will it take for our entire culture, Black, Asian, White, whatever, to really experience a metanoia? To realize there is no purity? To genuinely love?

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      It makes you cry out, doesn’t it? So much sorrow and anger and frustration and disappointment and rage. His website is truly heartbreaking. The photos of Memphis so filled with love.

  • A sad tragic situation. And, as you say, it keeps happening. I agree that racism is a factor, but there is more to it. That police officers are doing the killing and mostly going unpunished suggests that killing young African American men and women is part of police policy even if it is not explicitly spelled out. And that policy reflects what the voters want. We have a very long way to go

  • Thank you Emma. You have gone to the heart of what I was trying to say. AND you have reminded us that the quest for purity is part of the problem

    We need mercy now more than ever

  • Of course, you are correct that “first, there is racism.”

    I think it is also pertinent that our police forces evolved from patrols looking for Black people who had escaped enslavement. The genesis of policing was anti-Black and, in many instances, that has become part of the underlying culture of police departments. Even when the officers themselves are Black, as in Tyre’s murder, they follow this dogma of showing their power over Black civilians.

    The glimmer of progress in Memphis is the rapid firing of the officers, followed by indictment. The suspension of the Scorpion unit is also an indication of trying to put a dent in the toxic policing culture. Too late for Tyre and the countless others who preceded him but what may prove to be their legacy.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Over the years, I’ve heard this comment about the origins of the police impacting their current behavior, and I must admit I dismissed it as a stretch. The more I’ve read about our American history, the more I’ve come to believe, like you, that it a major part of the problem. The culture of an institution doesn’t change until it’s recognized, labeled unacceptable, and intentionally changed. An institution founded to restrict the movement of Black folks will stay that way until it’s recognized, labeled unacceptable, and changed. It requires so much admission of the utter and extreme racism of our past, that hope really withers….But thank you for this comment. It gave me an opportunity to confess my error, which I believe is good for the soul. 🙂

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