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Seize It or Lose It PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nancy Lee, BT Contributor   
July 2020

Want change? Stoke your rage...

IPix_EyeonMiami_7-20n 2014, during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes while Black, Eric Garner was put in a chokehold. He said over and over: “I can’t breathe.” He died, his death ruled a homicide. There were demonstrations. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the video of the death “very troubling.” The officer used a chokehold banned by NYC Police.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton ordered a review of training, saying, “I would anticipate that coming out of this effort that there will be a retraining of every member of the NYC Police Department in the weeks, months, and potential years ahead.”

The police officer who killed Garner was fired, but in 2019 he actually sued to try to get his job back.

That police retraining by Bratton didn’t reach Minneapolis, if we look at the death of George Floyd, who also couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s neck was pinned under a smug cop’s knee. While Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” the cop chatted, oblivious to the life he was snuffing out. Just as with Garner, no one listened. Maybe Floyd’s skin color was just too damn loud for his pleas to be heard.

I look at these tragedies not as police problems. I look at them as race problems. A friend of mine agrees: “The police are not exclusively the problem. They’re simply enforcing the law -- and the law in the United States has always been encoded with the white supremacist’s perspective. Protect our neighborhoods, our schools, our families from them. The police are simply doing what the white power structure expects them to do -- intimidate, arrest, and jail people of color in order to keep Blacks in their place and preserve the superior status of whites.”

But something is changing in the country. Not what Martin Luther King hoped for: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That surely isn’t happening. If Black skin had a voice in this country it would be screaming.

Black writer Issac Bailey said, “I suppressed my rage about racism for decades. No more. It started with our president.” Trump did not disappoint Bailey; all he could muster in the way of sympathy was, “The family of George is entitled to justice, and the people of Minnesota are entitled to live in safety. Law and order will prevail.”

What has happened in six years? What prompted Floyd’s death to generate a world-wide outcry while Garner’s death couldn’t even get the cop arrested? The threads of the pandemic left people agitated and frightened; many were out of work and able to march. People were also drained by 1250 days of Trump’s antics. The perfect storm was smoldering and a cop taking a knee to a man’s neck for nine minutes on video brought it to fruition.

Do I think racism will lessen now? No. Racists have nurtured their children to continue the tradition. My friend said, “The change that has to come is for white people to grow up, to understand that racial bias is a crutch to preserve an inflated sense of self that is not warranted.”

I want more angry Black men. As one sign said at a protest in Miami, “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution.” The Daily Caller, one of Trump’s go-to publications, is portraying protesters as wanting to abolish the police. Trump followers are saying Floyd was a violent Black man with a record. So why should his Black life matter?

I always admired the radical Malcolm X. The haters in this country are just too mean-spirited and without empathy. They’d rather see genocide than living in peace together. The Gandhi/Martin Luther King playbook can’t work for them.

White supremacists were preparing for race wars, according to the anti-Defamation League. In Fort Myers, in June 2019, Joshua John Leff was arrested for making social media posts that urged people to start a race war. In August, Conor Climo was arrested for designing a bomb to “assist in a race war” on behalf of a group called Feuerkrieg. Whites believed they could win a race war now, but time was running out as demographics are changing. Unfortunately for them, it is now too late. Floyd’s brutal death ended the white supremacist dream. Too many whites are shifting on racism.

What will change from the June protests? It might stop the trash talk from white supremacists about a race war, but I don’t think much else will happen unless the rage of Issac Bailey and others rips open the scab never healed since 1619.

I am afraid this will play out like Eric Garner. It will end with a whimper, but this time with a slogan: Black Lives Matter…very little.

 

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