Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's what they do

[Photo by Michael Browning / AP]

-- by Dave

Following up on the case of the abduction of a black woman by six white people in rural West Virginia, the AP's Shaya Tayefe Mohajer has an excellent follow-up featuring an interview with the victim:
For days, the 20-year-old black woman was allegedly tortured, beaten, forced to eat feces - rat, dog and human - and raped by six white men and women who held her until Sept. 8.

A passer-by heard cries from the shed where she had been kept, and Logan County sheriff's deputies found her hours later.

Seated in a rocking chair in her mother's living room, about 50 miles from that shed, the slight woman says she was outnumbered by people who just wanted to hurt a black person.

"They just kept saying 'This is what we do to niggers down here'," she recalls.

... "They braided some switches together and beat me across the back when I was pickin' peas out the field. They tore my clothes off of me and everything, and then they took me up to the lake and they said that was the place they were going to cut my throat and throw me in, and I was never coming back to see my family again," she said.

I couldn't help reading this and feeling a chill. It reminded me of the stories people would tell from the lynching era, of anonymous black bodies floating by on local rivers, just so many more uncounted corpses atop the already considerable toll that mounted during those years. And you have to wonder how many cases like this have occurred in which the perpetrators have simply gone uncaught, because the disappearances were simply shrugged off.

As pdxWoman notes, disappearances have a way of getting the shrug treatment unless they happen to involve young middle-class white women.

Hungry Blues has more on the incident, including an on-the-money consideration of Williams' past history with one of the perpetrators.

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