A couple of days after the third man involved in the killing of unarmed jogger Ahmaud Arbery was finally arrested in Georgia, the Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper had the police called on him, on Memorial Day, for allegedly “threatening” a white woman walking her dog unleashed in a Central Park area where leashing dogs are mandatory. And finally, one more of the most wanted and terrorized beings in America had just died in the hands of the police in South Minneapolis.
While you thought that things could not get worse for Black people during this Coronavirus crisis, George Floyd was arrested by the police for alleged forgery. It is unclear how Floyd found himself pinned on the floor by Minneapolis police officer Dereck Chauvin who held his knee on his neck long enough to get him unconscious and pronounced dead shortly after at the hospital. Floyd is seen on video minutes earlier peacefully cooperating with arresting officers.
Many are wondering when will this stop? When will the cold-blooded murder of unarmed Black men in America stop? When will these killers — many public servants in uniform — be held accountable for their crimes? But how would you expect that to happen when America herself was never held accountable for her crimes?
This is what happens when people get away with too many things. Do you remember when some white people “discovered” America, exterminated Native Americans and brought in kidnapped Africans to build America and no one ever held them accountable for any of these atrocities? So why stop? Some called it pulling oneself up by the bootstraps.
America’s obsession with Black men dates back from slavery, when Black men were kidnapped and brought here to work for free for more than 400 years while enduring physical abuse and watching powerless, as women they loved were being systematically preyed upon by white men. Even after they helped free this country from the British and fought the Civil War, Black men never really had a break. How dare they fight for freedom? How dare they aspire for a better life than the one master was willing to give them? How dare they dream of freedom and liberty that should be exclusive to whites? How dare they think or dream of being equal to whites? Should we mention that whites come from Black people, who were the first human beings on earth, born out of Africa, the cradle of civilization? I digress.
Whites who have stolen everything they have from Native Americans and Africans, love to talk about pulling themselves up by the bootstraps. Carol Anderson calls it “white rage.” And that white rage has been haunting Black men and communities in America from the beginning of their abduction.
A very temporary reconstruction phase left Black men broke after the Civil War their hard-earned money stolen from the Freedman’s Bank. They were lynched, segregated against, mass incarcerated and are still being killed by the 21st century slave-catchers in uniform at higher rates than any other group in America. You would think that after all that, Black men would be the ones fearing for their lives in America; instead that argument is often used against them to kill or severely harm them.
James Balwin once asked: “I’m not going to live another 60 years; you’ve always told me it takes time. It has taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brother’s and my sister’s time, my nieces’ and nephews’ time. How much time do you want for your progress?”
If one thinks that some white people will change their minds or have a sudden change of heart, he/she will wait a long time. As Maya Angelou once said, “If someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
To sign George Floyd’s petition, click here.