‘My little girl believes that I am unstoppable, the fastest, smartest, funniest, best and the greatest’
PERSONS and institutions throughout the globe seek answers and provide recommendations to the fields of Criminal Justice Reform and Restorative Justice.
Recent events made me consider the importance of parole and alternative scenarios. It seems irrational and unfair but if George Floyd was denied parole… he would be alive today. Yes, if George was denied his right to freedom he would still be with his friends, family and daughter. We need to understand that parole does not occur in a vacuum. The issue of parole is connected to families, society, community and the world.
My focus is on a little girl who was briefly reunited with her dad. She will now have to become accustomed to a life without her superhero. This innocent girl does not care about the occupation of her dad or his rap sheet. All Gianna knows is that her daddy is a hero… not any ordinary hero but a superhero. George would have made her laugh. His towering presence would have brightened her life.
Whilst viewing the funeral service I thought about this man and his daughter. Our paths never crossed but there was something that troubled me. You might be wondering how I could interpret this horrible scenario through the eyes of a little Black girl in America. It was not simply racial lenses that affected my vision. Not many readers would know that my daughter is the same age as George’s daughter. Additionally, it was a strange twist of fate that in February 2020, I was in Houston, Texas.
My little girl believes that I am unstoppable, the fastest, smartest, funniest, best and the greatest. So I could imagine the strong admiration that Gianna had for her dad. Children often believe their parents especially their dads are invincible, strong and powerful. This is the stuff that superheroes are made of…not fear, weakness, sickness and cowardice.
Giana did not care about the pandemic or the praise and lip service that they showered on her dad. She neither cared about the autopsy report nor the size of protests. All she knew is that her superhero will not be here today and tomorrow. She does not care about Black America versus White America, Yellow America or Brown America, or the educational background of her superhero. And, even though Big George was not the perfect father… his love for his only child cannot be questioned.
The public, media and politicians judged and mocked her superhero’s state of mind, actions and character. However, this did not bother the little girl who now has an absence in her heart and no superhero. Gianna neither cares about the Confederacy and Columbus statues that were targeted nor the sporting icons kneeling during the national anthem. All that matters is that her superhero will not be there for birthday parties and graduations. There will be murals and memorials but there will be no superhero to walk her down the aisle.
This lonely girl will realise that one of her greatest challenges is not her blackness but being fatherless. America and the world might forget her and she will lose faith in humanity. She probably will not blame the police but Uncle Sam for taking her precious hero. She will soon realize that when a superhero dies…others arise who are stronger and will continue fighting against evil, racism, bigotry and injustice.
It seems illogical but maybe it is a blessing in disguise when incarcerated Afro-Americans and other ethnic minorities are denied parole. Maybe this will ensure that the superheroes of their little girls and boys can live for another day. This is not a scenario limited to the USA, Africa or England. In T&T the high murder rate also means there are children whose superheroes were murdered or jailed.
Dr Jereome Teelucksingh is
attached to the Department of History at the University of the West Ind ies at St Augustine. He has published books, chapters and journal articles on the Caribbean diaspora, masculinity, culture, politics, ethnicity and religion. Also, he has produced a documentary – Brown Lives Matter and presented papers at academic conferences.
Click to read other articles by Dr Jerome Tellucksingh below: