[21-year-old married White woman Carolyn] Bryant testified during the murder trial that Till grabbed her hand while she was stocking candy and said, “How about a date, baby?” She said that after she freed herself from his grasp, the young man followed her to the cash register, grabbed her waist and said, “What’s the matter baby, can’t you take it?” Bryant said she freed herself, and Till said, “You needn’t be afraid of me, baby,” used “one ‘unprintable’ word” and said “I’ve been with white women before.”
A healthy man’s blood temperature spikes as he reads that. In response, her husband with the help of other men (including definitely one and possibly two who were Black) tracked him down and killed him.
The incident was chosen by the national media to be spotlighted because a number of things, including Till’s young age of 14 and his diminutive-sounding first name, were suitable for crafting the event into a narrative-shaping story. All Americans watched the same news then and the journalism industry enjoyed high levels of public trust. There were no alternatives for presentation of facts or analysis. The media had godlike powers of directing public opinion.
Why is the killing of Emmett Till and the myth that it became so significant? Because White men have always lived and thrived on an honor code. Roy Bryant (Carolyn’s husband) did what honor required him to, starting with his obligation to protect his wife and to proactively address the insulting character of Till’s attack on her, just as women were, in turn, expected to live up to codes of honorable female behavior.
Elevating Till’s killing to a foundational morality tale of the so-called Civil Rights era was a coup against Western morality. Maudlin and ill-informed pity for Till subverted a social order based on masculine justice. I hope that this short analysis gives a clearer idea of how the dishonest interpretation of the incident helped emasculate America.
Sixty years later, corporate media unsuccessfully tried to reboot the “innocent black victim” narrative with Trayvon Martin. The people who were tasked with finding a source story for a sensational news event were sloppy. For example, they assumed that George Zimmerman was White, that he lived in an expensive gated community, and they failed to look into Martin’s social media history.
I still consider July 13, 2013 — Zimmerman’s acquittal — to be the day that the Narrative collapsed. The big lie that Till was killed for whistling at a woman and that Martin was killed for eating Skittles died that summer.
If you read the linked summary of Emmett Till’s killing, remember his responsibility for setting off the chain of events that led to his death. A sexual attack on another man’s wife is a death sentence in every civilized as well as every barbaric society; in other words, in any society that abides by objective codes of morality. It was an honor killing. The ordeal of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian, in contrast with what happened to Emmett Till and as a direct result of the anti-White libel that his killing was crafted into, was mere subhuman savagery.