Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

National Commentary

Black Man Asks For A Light, White Woman Points Gun At Him

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

NNPA News Wire Columnist

The story is nothing short of remarkable. In one instant it told us more about the United States than any number of documentaries. Sherry McLain, a 67-year-old White woman from Tennessee was loading her car in a Walmart parking lot. James Crutchfield, a 52-year-old Black man approached her seeking a light for a cigarette. McLain allegedly pulled a gun on Crutchfield allegedly fearing for her life. She later stated that she had never been more afraid.

Crutchfield is quite lucky to be alive. McLain was, interestingly enough, arrested, though she protested that this was unfair and that Crutchfield was the problem.

In reading about the case, I found myself thinking about the manner in which it illustrated so much about the reinforcement of racism. Cameras that filmed the incident apparently indicated no evidence of aggression on the part of Crutchfield, yet McLain felt that she was well within her rights to pull a weapon on an unarmed man.

The McLain incident reminds us that in the U.S., the presumption of guilt always hangs over the head of those of us of the darker persuasion. About a year ago I was driving through South Carolina on my way to a conference in Myrtle Beach. I said to my wife that there were certain places along the route where I would fear breaking down, not because they were cell phone dead zones, but because they were White areas and that I would fear for my life knocking on the door of some resident in order to seek help. While some would consider this paranoia, you only have to remember the tragic killing of Renisha McBride in Michigan for doing just that. Her car apparently broke down and she knocked on the door of a White man for help, only to receive a bullet as a reply.

It is not just that incidents such as the McLain vs. Crutchfield run-in, or the killing of McBride are unjust and tragic. These incidents flow from the deeply held view among so many Whites that Black people are dangerous, volatile and prone to violence. It is a notion that is rooted in slavery and the fear that the white population held that the slave might someday revolt and bring violent revenge upon Whites for the oppression we have suffered. This fear has existed wherever there has been slavery and/or colonialism. The fear of the Black; the fear of the Native American; the fear of the Asian; the fear of the Latino. In each case we are portrayed as unscrupulous and as wild as the worst animal, ready to pounce upon a White at a moment’s notice.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

This is what is truly at the core of the gun debate. It has little to do with the 2nd Amendment. It has to do with the gun as a definition of Whiteness; a symbol of authority over, first the African and Native American, and later the Latino and Asian. It appears that Ms. McLain was following in this very sick and tragic legacy, and doing her best to reinforce it.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and at

Please follow and like us:

NJG 2023 Calendar

Purchase Through Paypal

You may find these interesting

Black Arts and Culture

By Jaelyn Scott Spring Intern New Journal and Guide Hazel Winifred Johnson was born on October 10, 1927, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She was...

Hampton Roads Community News

By Leonard E. Colvin Chief Reporter New Journal and Guide When the life of Yvonne Miller slows down, somehow, somewhere, someone will record her...

Hampton Roads Community News

VIRGINIA BEACH One of Virginia Beach’s longest serving pastors and a highly regarded civic leader, Dr. E. Ray Cox, Sr. has passed at age...

Hampton Roads Community News

By Leonard E. Colvin Chief Reporter New Journal and Guide After last November’s Councilmanic Election, for the first time in the city’s history, four...

%d bloggers like this: