This message is for anybody that is reading it. I am very sad tonight. I laid down a couple to three hours ago and woke up thinking i was in the twilight zone. You see, I knew that the people in Minnesota were frustrated…justifiably. They have been expressing that frustration for three nights now. They are angry about another Black man being killed, this time by a callous policeman who stood quite literally on his head for almost nine minutes. That is not what a policeman in a civilized country does.
I also feared that the slowness to act considering the evidence on the video was so immediate, and the seemingly lackluster charge of third degree murder (what happened to first degree..or at least second degree) was not likely to resolve the frustration and fear that once again, a Black man was not going to get justice. However, the reality exceeded my fear. Not only were there now protests, with violence intermingled, in DC and New York, but also Atlanta. In Atlanta, it had gotten particularly violent. The number of violent persons was apparently only 30 or 40, but still violence was involved.
What the mayor of Atlanta said very clearly is that violence is not the answer and that those wanting to peacefully protest the abuse by the Minnesota cop needed to go home so that their message would be undiluted. Martin Luther King Jr was also quoted, however, as saying that rioting is the response of those that do not get heard. Something to think about as we look at these times.
But, while we are bemoaning the violence that has appeared in the midst of legitimate justified protest, let’s not forget the provocation that trump and many in the establishment have added to the scenario.
1. trump, remember, is the man who thought that the Neo Nazi’s who gathered in Charlottesville to rage against Jews and fight against the removal of memorials to people who rebelled against the nation partly to be allowed to keep Blacks as slaves were “good people”.
2. trump, the man who, when domestic terrorists invaded the Michigan state assembly to demand that the health precautions against Covid-19 be ignored and the nation re-opened so they could continue to “do whatever they wanted” no matter what the risk in lives lost would be…cheered them on and told them they needed to “liberate” their states.
3. trump, the man who responded to NFL players protesting the violence against Black youth in our cities by policeman at a higher rate by far than they would ever inflict violence on a White youth by saying they should be thrown off the field and fired.
4. trump, the man who now that it is Black people angry about a killing, with some few resorting to violence, responses almost immediately with “bring in the big guns”. (imagine the outrage of seeing 3 and 4 both in such a short amount of time with being Black seeming to be the only difference)
This is the man (trump) who Black youth, along with the rest of us have been exposed to for over three years now. They have not heard the voice of King speaking in their ear on a daily basis, and if they are reminded, find it entirely too easy to also remember that Martin Luther King was almost fifty years ago (50). They are now asking themselves “how long do we have to wait?” and they are justified in doing so. After all, with slavery followed by Jim Crow, they have been waiting for literally hundreds of years, as a people.
I have heard it said that justice delayed is justice denied. Let’s stop denying Justice. Let’s stop telling our young black men, by action, that they don’t count. Let’s stop telling our poor, by actions, that they will always be at the bottom of the pile. That, the poor and especially minorities will be given crumbs off the table while the rich men who own the corporations continue to rake it in hand over fist. Don’t fall into the trap set by trump and those on the right. Don’t allow them to claim the narrative. Violence is horrible, but most people are simply stating that it is past time for justice to be served. And sadly, violence is often met with violence and there has been systematic and ongoing violence against young Black men especially. And the words of trump, especially with the agreement of his base, is encouraging that injustice to continue. Let’s come together and not let that happen.