One needs to have some historical perspective to understand that the “powers that be” have historically failed to respond to peaceful demonstration Many have alluded that the arrest of colluding officers should appease protesters of the George Floyd fatality case. The cliche that comes to mind is that of attaching a bandage to cancer.
It has been excruciating watching the daytime talking heads with their appeal for non-violence. Their collective memory seems limited to the last few years that exclude the events in Detroit, Newark, Watts, L.A. [Rodney King in 1992] or Cincinnati in 2001. This list doesn’t mention regional events that were smaller in scale, like Amadou Diallo in NYC or Sean Reed in Indianapolis.
“A riot is the language of the unheard,” said Martin Luther King in 1967. This quote is reverberating loudly and will continue for a few days. And although Colin Kaepernick had attempted to make the case against unwarranted police violence, he was fired and blackballed for embarrassing the rich men who sign the checks.
The talking heads blather on about the police in Genesee County, Michigan who agreed to walk in their protest and for that earned some ‘feel good’ photo opps. Not to speak of their motive, the sentiment is laudable even if breaching ‘too little, too late’ in a town (Flint) where the residents can’t drink the water.
Years ago I learned a cultural maxim that declares “for whites, an uncomfortable silence is more desirable than an awkward confrontation. If that is true, what we have experienced for these many years is the uncomfortable silence. The hard lesson to be learned by the silence therefore is: what has been sown, must be reaped”(personal translation of Galatians 6:7). As a people, we have made forward steps and then have been forced backwards with regrets.
The unfortunate truth is that when people continue to say “Black Lives Matter” and the response is ‘All Lives Matter’, that roughly translates to, “I don’t get it”. The luxury of white privilege is you don’t have to get it. That’s the problem. It can also be stated, “I don’t want to get it” depending on the filter you have installed.
Race and Racism are uncomfortable topics to work through. We are trying to find our way through this maze, but we are feeling unheard. Condescending messages like that of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, after denouncing and disposing of Colin Kaepernick, amount to taunting and belittling. As Michael Jordan said emphatically, “We have had enough”. [ESPN 5/2020]Perhaps, dear reader, you are tired, or afraid or unwilling to register more loss. Please remember that Black people have been in this hemisphere for 400 years and none of it has been pretty. We must all forge ahead, willing to pledge earnestness, energy and passion into the American dream, mindful that these are the conversations that we must have to create the country envisioned by the founding fathers whose dream was even bigger than they could see.