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May 27, 2024

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, founded by the Quakers, established in 1837, is the oldest historically Black college.

Congress must examine White Hate Crimes

POSTED: May 18, 2022, 8:30 pm

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James Harris Jackson, accused killer of Timothy Caughman

While President Trump pushes his executive order banning Muslims from entering the country, an edict that selectively and inexplicably excludes the countries that have a track record for harboring terrorists aimed at killing Americans, the administration remains quiet on the explosion of racially biased incidents occurring across the country. The reason why is simple. This president has inspired these acts of hate by the inflammatory language he used during the presidential campaign and his indifference toward people of color upon being sworn-in to office.

Reports are streaming in across the country of Black citizens being verbally abused and accosted by whites, who are acting with a sense of confidence that their behavior will not only not be condemned but quietly praised by those in the inner sanctum of the west wing. The incidents include racist graffiti, the barrage of racist language and physical confrontations during incidents of casual contact. The very space of Black people is being invaded by hate speech in a way we have not witnessed since the Jim Crow era. It’s as if someone has passed out permission slips for racists to unleash their hate and anger upon any Black person that crosses their path. And, some of this hate is spilling over as violent acts.

The latest hate-filled attack occurred in New York City when a 28-year old white male from Baltimore, James Harris Jackson plunged a 26-inch sword into the body of 66-year old Timothy Caughman, a Black male, multiple times leading to Caughman’s death. Jackson has admitted he traveled to New York City on the specific mission to kill Black men. The revelation of Jackson’s unfiltered white supremacist leanings is further heightened by his status as an Army veteran. It is that link that should cause Black political leadership to demand an official inquiry into how our military might be a training ground for white supremacists.

Jackson’s military service calls to mind that the Oklahoma City federal building bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were also veterans, as were Eric Rudolph, the Olympic bomber, Timothy Burmeister and Randy Meadows, part of the trio that assassinated a Black couple in December 1995, the sadistic cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer and Kevin Harpham who tried to kill parade goers with a pipe bomb at a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane Washington in 2010. All of these men were members of the U.S. Army and several were known to hold racist views or sympathize with white supremacist groups.

Thus far, President Trump has been silent on the murder of Timothy Caughman. Black elected officials cannot allow him the luxury of silence. The Congressional Black Caucus must demand a full inquiry by Congress into the ways in which military service is a breeding ground for domestic terrorism. Many of these assailants were trained in firearm and weapons use and combat techniques, and have turned their taxpayer funded training and their hate upon Black people. The ease with which firearms can be secured and the knowledge in how to kill make for a dangerous and deadly combination.

The brazenness of Jackson’s crime also suggests a sense of impunity; that their acts are those of martyrs who are emboldened in this climate of hate to exterminate the “others” for the sake of racial ‘purity’ in America. When there is silence from the White House it sends a clear message to hate mongers that their behavior is sanctioned by the highest level of our government. The silence of the Department of Justice also is discomforting and casts serious doubt on whether justice will have a place in the priorities of this administration.

“It should not simply be a concern of the Congressional Black Caucus but all members of Congress, particularly those who have gone to great lengths to claim they are indeed faith-led in their decision making.”

This is where Black members of Congress, in the House and Senate, and from both major political parties, should find common ground in calling for an inquiry into not just the recent racist attack in New York City, but the general climate of hate that is enveloping this nation. It should not simply be a concern of the Congressional Black Caucus but all members of Congress, particularly those who have gone to great lengths to claim they are indeed faith-led in their decision making.

Make no mistake, the next attack is right around the corner. The murder of Timothy Coughman is not an isolated incident. It is a manifestation of a deeply embedded hatred of Black people that senses its freedom to now unleash its wrath. What is also quite apparent is that these hate mongers are being encouraged by the words and behavior of our nation’s leadership.

Walter Fields is Executive Editor of

Originally published March 25, 2017

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