Last June when Black folks were joined by thousands of white supporters in marching and protesting the callous killing of George Floyd, it appeared most Americans were listening and accepting that wanton police brutality against Black people is wrong. That changes are needed to end the atrocities resulting in the death of so many Black men and women at the hands of police. It certainly appeared that most people believed “enough was enough.”
But this belief, it seems, turned out to be a mirage. Even as people marched and protested Floyd’s death, more blatant incidents of police brutality against Black people were occurring.
In June, Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by another white police officer after falling asleep in a Wendy’s Restaurant drive-through lane in Atlanta, Georgia.
Subsequent to Floyd’s death in May, reports surfaced of the killing of Jamaican American Maurice Gordon on a New Jersey highway. He was shot and killed by a white New Jersey State Trooper, after a traffic stop.
And on Sunday, August 23, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as Black tried to enter his car after being confronted by the police.
In between these killings, there have been reports of several other acts of unjustified police brutality against Black individuals.
Meanwhile, America is still awaiting the outcome of investigations into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, an emergency room technician. She was shot and killed when police wrongly entered her home on a no-knock warrant in Louisville, Kentucky in March.
The killing of Black people by police is happening so regularly, it seems like a normal American pastime. And, no matter how loud, how aggressively, how long the protests are against these killings, the results, the actions taken to put an end to these shootings are never enough.
The consistent official pushback after each shooting, no matter how brazen, how seemingly unjust, is that the shootings were justifiable, and the Black victims had criminal intent or are criminals.
While Black people live in fear of the police as these shootings continue, and Black parents bury and eulogize their sons and daughters, there are other Americans who actually have the audacity to use politics to build a climate of fear around white people living in exclusive suburbs.
When Black folks protests and march through American cities, clandestinely infiltrated by politically motivated anarchists bent on using the protests as camouflage for wanton destruction of property. Their actions are meant to portray Black people exercising their First Amendment rights as violent mobs to be feared.
When players from the National Basketball League (NBA) recently protested the killing of Jacob Blake, refusing to play games scheduled in the NBA series taking place in Orlando, Florida, they received strong criticism. The NBA was criticized as a “political organization,” players as privileged rich men who could afford to take days off to protest and being “silly” in their protest actions.
These are Black and white players, who along with several of their Black and white coaches are simply tired of the abuse and injustices meted out to their Black sisters and brothers by police and others across America.
While, admittedly, these players are much better paid for their work than average Americans, as one player said in an interview, they are tired of entertaining America, “while America isn’t doing enough to provide us with justice, and security against law enforcement officers.”
A prominent Black coach in the NBA, Glen “Doc” Rivers, emotionally lamenting Blake’s shooting said, “We’re the ones getting shot; we’re the ones getting killed…It’s amazing to me, why we keep on loving this country, and this country does not love us back.”
What some white folks, including allies, don’t understand is that being wealthy, holding lofty career positions, or degrees from the most prestigious colleges, do not shield Black people in America from being victims of police brutality and injustice. So, what can be done?
Unfortunately, it seems we have not reached breaking point with police brutality. And protests that follow these atrocities have been dragged into the political turbulence, with the threat of armed government forces to quell protesters, who are being painted as anarchists.
But American Blacks can never even think of relenting to the brutality, injustices, and political noise. That has been the goal of the oppressors since the early 16th century. Black America has no other option but to continue protesting, peacefully, against these brutalities and injustices. There is no giving in. Black people must use every possible legal method to stop these atrocities.
The best method is to vote, in droves, against those who overtly and covertly support police brutality and racial injustices.