2020 has proven itself not to be an ordinary year and the coronavirus pandemic has further exposed human frailties. But while the world was under siege from this virus, it was business as usual for some bigots wearing police uniforms.
It has to be said that the spirit of George Floyd must be fierce. It’s true the long period of being homebound due to COVID-19 must have played its part in the spontaneous outpouring unto the streets in all of America’s 50 states during protests against police brutalities of African Americans which claimed big Floyd’s life.
There have been videos of police killings involving unarmed blacks spanning males, females and even children but the brutal snuffing of life out of Floyd over an alleged counterfeit $20 bill ignited anger in the American people of various ethnic backgrounds not seen since the brutal 60s.
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The Democrats are keen to be seen to be doing something, positioning themselves as champions for the black cause. After all, the country’s first black president in Barack Obama ran on the democratic ticket. Democratic lawmakers are laying a bill to reform the police to better serve citizens.
It is in the wake of all these activities that a group of white people have taken the knee and apologized to their black counterparts in a Houston, Texas ‘Praytest.’
The white leader of the group among others submitted “we ask for forgiveness from our black brothers for years and years of systemic racism, bigotry and hate.”
With dozens of them still on their knees before the blacks, he added, “we take a knee and salute them, we honor them, God we love them. Use as to form an army of God, that we become good friends, good allies and good neighbors.”
Of course, the blacks were emotional but therein lies the risk. History shows blacks are too quick to forgive when violated on one hand and are so welcoming, on the other hand, exposing themselves to people who con them and take advantage of them.
When blacks decided to build a town of their own and patronize their services, it led to the Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was known as one of the most successful and wealthiest African-American communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, so much so it was called America’s “Black Wall Street”.
Even here, envious whites could not stand the success being chalked by the Negroes with all the impediments set in their way so resorted to the terror activities of 1921 conveniently called the Tulsa Race Riot which burned down the town. It’s instructive to note that state helicopters were used to decimate the remaining property from above.
No compensation was ever offered to those who lost their property and investment. It just went down the drain.
The human cost of lynching cannot be quantified. Black limbs were lost on the whim of either a white man or woman who hated competition a black was offering. Then there is the all too familiar rape charge. Whole communities were looted by white mobs who had the police, district attorney, mayor and governor on their side. It meant no hope or justice for blacks.
The state of constant fear of violence from white individuals or mobs has impacted gravely on the mental health of blacks putting them in increased survival mode.
Even servicemen and women who served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps have found that they could easily be accosted at traffic stops and killed by racist cops with little regard for their service and rank. It’s a threat which lingers on.
Parents and guardians have to warn their young boys about wanting or using a water gun at home or parties as police could easily shoot them dead claiming to have feared for their lives. The American police officer must be better trained to assess a little black boy humanely before assuming he will shoot him to die.
At colleges, blacks have to put in work three to four times more to get grades their white counterparts get on a relatively silver platter. Those biases from lecturers and deans must be done away with penalties in place.
And after school, the job market is another field where opportunities are skewed toward the fairer race. Interview sessions with black and whole applicants favor the white, especially when his or her kind sits on the board. Keeping an open mind and eschewing prejudice will allow for the best to come through the ranks.
With justice, all-white jurors have shown bias against black males, especially in supposed rape cases involving white girls. There’s a need for a balanced jury reflective of the ethnicities of those who come before the courts.
In contrast to black nations and people ever so forgiving, when in 1825, Haiti fought for its independence from France, the French demanded the modern equivalent of $21 billion for damaged and lost property as well as lives. It didn’t leave quietly having lost a war. That payment, many believe, bankrupted the country till this very day.
In Guinea, the French again were at their worst behavior when Sekou Toure would not yield and become a puppet of France. They looted all they could take. It had to take Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah to lend £10million to the new state for it to survive. It’s an act the Ghanaian opposition never forgave Nkrumah for.
In contrast, Ghana’s leaders have not pressed home demands for reparations from the colonial oppressor Britain for the natural as well as the human resource it looted. Other African states have not either and even if some have, it’s been without force to back the claim.
So praying for forgiveness is well and good but if the obstacles put to hinder blacks from infancy to adulthood are not brought down by the racist leadership for a fairer playing field, it would just be like the civil rights marches of the 1960s.
Those marches, as Malcolm X argued, ought to have been human rights demands for blacks but ended up advancing the cause of women and gays, taking the thunder from blacks.