By Anthony Clark Jr.
“They already arrested the officers, why are they still protesting?”
On August 28, 1955, Emmett Till was mutilated, shot point blank, asphyxiated and thrown into a river. His aggressors told authorities Till allegedly made crude gestures towards a woman, Carolyn Bryant, and both men involved in the murder were acquitted of any charges. Six decades after Till’s death, Bryant confessed that her allegations against Till were false. The murder became infamous when Mamie Till grasped the nation’s attention with an open casket to show the horrors her 14-year-old child suffered through.
Those of African descent have endured oppression, discrimination, prejudice, and racism since the first slaves were forced onto American soil in the early 1600’s. Many individuals are still unable or choose not to grasp the concept of why people of color are irate – people of color have been conditioned to be submissive towards Caucasians far too long. People of color can hardly exercise their First and Second Amendment rights without harassment or an unjustified punishment. People of color cannot be “just as racist as white people” when equal opportunities, power, and social advantages Caucasians maintain are not equally divided to all citizens. People of color are not free when they are told to shut up and stop speaking up against America’s vile trait of racism. George Floyd lost his life to the centuries of police brutality and systematic racism over an alleged counterfeit banknote. Floyd was the straw that never reached the camel’s back because it was broken long before the 21st century. People of color are met with backs turned towards them and ears unavailable to listen because those with real power in America chose not to make the necessary changes.
People of color have been told countless times that any and all forms of protests are uncivilized, arrogant, or have no purpose because there is not an issue in America. When people of color tried silent protests during the national anthem, they were called un-American. Donald Trump vowed under the Presidential Oath to do his best ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. He told the players to “find another way to protest” and to stand proudly by the national anthem. He told Caucasians that felt oppressed to counteract a global pandemic to “liberate their states” but found it wrong for individuals to show any form of violence while protesting racism.
On May 29, Trump tweeted: “….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Is there not any backwardness to these scenarios? Administering endless amounts of rubber bullets and tear gas while a virus that attacks the respiratory system is an immediate concern is not only twisted but seems to be America suppressing its civilians who are fighting for a change. No matter what people of color attempt, peaceful or malicious, the country puts forth its best effort to prevent the change that is overdue. How can America expect for egregious actions to not follow suit after centuries of attempts to protest peacefully are ignored?
How can the NFL be dominated by athletes of color, make billions of dollars each year off the viewership of these athletes, have less than 3% of coaches and owners be a person of color, blackball Colin Kaepernick for speaking up about the social injustices and discrimination people of color endure on a daily basis, and suddenly support the necessary change in America? Many individuals are blinded by their own ignorance that is conditioned into them as they are developing into adults. Some aren’t aware of their blindness but the majority are aware and chose not to ignore this flaw. Many are voicing their opinions about the “disrespect against America’s flag” but conserving their energy about the issue of the centuries of disrespect and hate toward people of color – that is privilege. An organization that is dictated by almost all whites should never orchestrate what is right or wrong for people of color to speak and protest on.
Chronicles of injustice
The extensive list of African Americans who faced an injustice is far too extensive to fit into one article, but if the question as to why people are still marching is looming, here’s a reflection:
- Tamir Rice, 12, was shot and killed by police because his air-soft gun was mistaken as a weapon. The officer that shot Rice was not fired for the shooting, but for falsifying information on his police application. Neither of the officers involved were charged.
- Brock Turner, 24, raped and violated an unconscious woman in an alley. Turner faced three felony counts of sexual assault and was only given a six-month sentence due to the judge believing “a prison sentence would have a severe impact” on the student-athlete’s achievements and success at Stanford University. He served three months.
- Chavis Carter, 21, was frisked, handcuffed behind his back, placed in the back of a police cruiser, and somehow managed to commit suicide from a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound. Jonesboro Police Sergeant Lyle Waterworth asserted that any officer can “miss something on a search.”
- Dylann Roof, 26, barged into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church service, shot and killed nine people, and fled. His motives stemmed from the white supremacist agenda. Roof was apprehended by authorities and given a bullet proof vest to don and a meal from Burger King. Many did not agree that authorities gave such treatment to a present-day Neo-Nazi.
- James Holmes, 32, killed 12 people while injuring 70 during a shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater. Again, Holmes was apprehended by police without a struggle and lived to face trial.
- John Austin Hopkins, 26, molested over two dozen elementary school girls and received an eight-year sentence.
Tamir and Charter were African American, the aggressors are Caucasian and still breathing. The justification that always seems to tip the scales of justice in favor of Caucasians is that the white aggressor had a cognitive illness and a childhood that stunted normal development while the black victims emulated a thuggish past and were bound to meet such a fate.
“That is so ghetto.”
Ghetto derives from the Jewish communities throughout World War II. The individuals who suffered from Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror were forced to endure inhumane conditions; government “nutrition” that many could not survive on while living in cramped spaces inhabited by dozens of people at once. With any trace of empathy or sympathy, many who learn about the horrors of genocide Hitler and accompanying Nazis carried out would have done anything to stop it from happening. Yet, America’s leaders have been aware of the suffocation African Americans endure with poverty and discrimination for decades because they are the ones imposing those adversities. Health care, wages, education, and zoning has and currently seems to be urgent for Caucasians only. If not, how are kids still drinking, bathing, and cooking with lead-filled water in Flint to this very moment? African American communities receive food from the government that wouldn’t be touched with a 10-foot-pole by these same individuals and financial assistance that barely meets the necessary amount for monthly bills. Money simply cannot be an issue in this country when over $3 trillion surfaced from the depths of an abyss during a global pandemic and a “struggling” economy in the works. The government proved the point that financial assistance and investment is applied whenever they so choose. Stereotyping someone or something as ghetto shows the ignorance and arrogance America possesses because African Americans did not ask to be living in these conditions – and a rambunctious personality is not ghetto. Individuals claim people of color are constantly milking the economy of any assistance obtainable, but the opportunities for education, wealth, and power aren’t made available for them.
Hypocrisy of appropriating black culture
African American culture has been indulged by millions throughout America. Hip-Hop and R&B music, clothing, athleticism, rugged personality, and countless other characteristics have been adapted in Caucasian homes, communities, and lifestyles. One simply cannot indulge ethnic culture when they are not willing to stand up for the soul-crushing injustices African Americans have endured for centuries. One cannot be an acquaintance, relative, friend, or supporter of people of color when they participate or allow racism to continue. African Americans are incarcerated more than five times the rate of Caucasians – that is a problem. Individuals with darker skin complexion are viewed as animals, violent, a nuisance to society, but are America’s backbone. Without people of color this society would never be where it is now.
“All lives matter.”
Individuals countering Black Lives Matter with “All/Blue Lives Matter,” are insinuating the belief is all lives are equal at this time for any and all individuals in America. Look at African Americans in Flint who are still enduring water poisoning compared to a community in Beverly Hills – yes, all of those lives do matter, but what sane human is going to believe that those with a poisoned water supply aren’t a priority compared to people in gated communities? Therefore, if there are humans enduring oppression and viewed as anything but a human, action must be taken to cease this from continuing. What BLM stands for is simple: equality for those with more melanin in their skin compared to white people. How is it that the stereotype of an African American is low-income, uneducated, a threat, or arrogant, but all lives are equal? Centuries of African bloodlines were obstructed and stripped of establishing any foundation of an educated and wealthy ancestry, and the individuals who come from these bloodlines are still expected to blindly follow what the “white man” says.
BLM is a powerful rallying cry for those who are still due justice, humans who need a change in how they are treated and viewed as a being, and a movement that won’t cease to exist until America can learn to live as one. If America relieves itself from maintaining a personality that the division of ethnicity is right there wouldn’t need to be the unnecessary loss of life and the hate that follows suit. BLM does not stand for the rioting and looting. While some may be using the protests as a plot to incite madness, many may just be tired of the decades of nothing changing in how society functions.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the public for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Depending on belief, most individuals who went to a public elementary school in America before the mid-2000’s remember reciting the pledge of allegiance each morning or during an assembly. “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Through the educational system, Americans are conditioned to follow the country’s agenda without question. The images, facts, and reality are distorted to portray the “founders” of this country and the previous/present authority and historical figures to be the messiah’s of America. Many Americans believe individuals who are against the belief and value system of this disproportionate country should leave. Meanwhile, it’s interesting that the ancestors of these individuals are never blamed. Africans and indigenous people welcomed the French and Italians into their native lands with open arms and taught them new trades and survival techniques. The Europeans met these civil acts with genocide, rape, slavery, and stole their land – but people of color who kneel during the national anthem are classless thugs. Hispanics are locked in cages, mysteriously disappear from custody, and treated inhumanely for escaping the barbaric horrors of their homeland because they entered America “illegally.” Although it was fine for Europeans to leave their homeland with an agenda that consisted of enslaving groups that were different from them to build wealth and social advantage.
Ironically, the pledge was adapted in 1923 and received its final wording adjustments in 1954, and can still only be applied to the majority group. A nation under God cannot allow injustices to continue when the belief is that all organisms are God’s creation and people must love one another for whom they are. The word asinine best describes the leaders and civilians of America when it is claimed this country is indivisible. Liberty does not include the Caucasians dictating the rules for communities of color when they have never lived in such areas or experienced the conditions without a badge, gun, and police cruiser.
Justice does not allow for a Caucasian college student, who is fully responsible for his actions, to receive lenient jail time after raping a woman and blame the “party culture,” while an African American man was on the verge of losing his freedom for shooting an officer in self defense after police swarmed a home with a no-knock warrant killing his innocent girlfriend, Breonna Taylor, by shooting her eight times. America cannot be a symbol of indivisibility, freedom, and justice for all when a terrorist group (Ku Klux Klan) is legal and racism is a debate.
Following a toxic belief for centuries is why America is what it is today. Do not allow yourself, family members, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, to be ignorant simply due to the possibility of social disruption. Discrimination, prejudice, and racism are America’s avoidable pandemic if those who are being racist are called out. Feeling as if one voice is not an instrument in fighting oppression will only allow the problem to continue. Sign petitions, speak up at the dinner table, participate in sit-ins or marches, do your part to diminish racism.