In the world of social media, we often assume that we are getting the complete story because any man, woman, or child can hold a recording device like a phone and record what is happening. Today, I challenge you to dig deeper and understand that the revolution started behind the scenes long before the recording starts. The revolutions that is taking place in cities across the nation have been brewing behind the scenes for decades. The revolution is now being televised because our nation on fire, but its start is deeply rooted in a long history of racism, in equality, and corruption.
The Nation is On Fire
Right now, cities across the nation are literally on fire. The televised videos will lead you to believe that these fires are the result of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck until he lost consciousness. Three other officers stood by, watched, and did not intervene.
So what was Floyd’s offense? An alleged counterfeit $20 bill. To begin to understand the problem, ask yourself would someone who was not Black have been treated the same way? Readers, I challenge you today to realize that these acts of brutality are not always televised. For every case that goes viral their are hundreds more that do not, just look at the 104 people listed in this article from 2015.
While some may think that the riots and protest are from recent events, readers, these events are occurring because of years of abuse. Just recently, we have seen more brazen modern-day lynchings of Black people where the perpetrators are not arrested, prosecuted, or convicted. The lack of equality within the justice system is what has lead to the burning of American cities.
Tomika Mallory articulates the reason buildings are burning eloquently:
For instance, Ahmad Arbery died on February 29, 2020 in Georgia after jogging down the street and was gunned down by a father and son. The world did not hear about his case in February or March or even the beginning of April and the father and son were completely free living their lives.
One of the first news stories about Ahmad emerged on May 5, 2020. The headline read “Video emerges of former high school football star shot and killed while reportedly out on a jog.” Arbery was executed and only because the video later resurfaced and went viral, did authorities arrest and jail the suspects. It is a lack of action and the dismissal of black lives that America’s cities are burninging.
Not All Unarmed Killing Cases Gain the Public’s Sympathy
Now, I want to ask you, have you heard of Sean Reed? No, well his case was also televised. However, he appeared to be doing something wrong (engaging in a high speed chase while streaming live.) His case has received less attention because his behavior was deemed ignorant, but did it warrant his death? Do officers have the right to mentally convict a person and automatically kill them?
Sean reed was a 21 year-old unarmed black man who died after police gunned him down as he ran away from his car after reckless driving. Following the sound of gun shots “a conversation between officers responding to the scene is heard on the video, which was still streaming. At one point, a male voice says, ‘I think it’s going to be a closed casket homie.’ ”
The victims are often villainized after their deaths while the public decides if their mistakes justify their deaths. Only it appears that when heinous crimes are committed by non-black offended they end up alive to be prosecuted in a court of law. While, black people are killed for far less egregious things.
When Does Conviction Occur for Black People?
Here’s the thing, as a United States citizen we have always been taught and have understood that the police and other civilians do not have the authority to execute people they suspect of crimes. It appears that what has been happening in America that all people are innocent until proven guilty, unless you’re black and in that case you are presumed guilty.
Watching all of these cases unfold it appears that the only people who garner sympathy from others is when a person has a squeaky clean past. However, we can see young people like Dylan roof murder nine black people in a church and be taken into police custody without incident.
If those two cases were not enough, there were even more high profile cases. Many of us have heard about the death of an unarmed ER technician and former Louisville EMT named Breonna Taylor. She was killed after policed entered her apartment unannounced she was struck at least eight times and died on her hallway floor. It turns out that she wasn’t even their suspect. There suspect was already in custody. Breonna was wrongfully executed.
The fact that these killings are taking place all over the country shows that it’s not a good cop/bad cop issue; instead it is a systematic problem. It is the combination of all of these problems that has lead to the current riots and protests. In fact according a chart from mappingpolicekillings.org “Unarmed black people were killed by police at 5x the rate of unarmed whites in 2015”
Just look at these statistics:
- Police killed at least 104 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week. (See which police departments were responsible for these deaths).
- Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were identified as unarmed, though the actual number is likely higher due to underreporting
I assure you that all 104 shootings did not make national news. And in 2020, people are completely fed up and overwhelmed.
Trevor Noah’s Explanation on why the Nation is on fire
Trevor Noah, a South African comedian and political commentator explains the timeline of events that have led to nationwide protests well.
The nation is on fire because America has ignored Black people’s pleas for justice. Americans have continued to make the deaths of black people entertainment. Now we are left to pick up the ashes because where there is no justice there is no peace.
Mapping Police Violence. 2020. Police Killed More Than 100 Unarmed Black People In 2015 — Mapping Police Violence. [online] Available at: <https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed> [Accessed 31 May 2020].