We Are Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired

George Floyd was suffocated by the knee of Derek Chauvin for eight minutes and forty six seconds. Floyd, already outnumbered and in handcuffs, begged Chauvin to let him breathe. Three other officers were on the scene and all four officers ignored Floyd’s cry, resulting in his death. When will the perpetual murder of innocent Black people in America come to an end?

The recent homicide of George Floyd has been the last straw for Black people across America. Peaceful protests in Minneapolis soon turned into riots after alleged undercover officers smashed windows and set fires. This resulted in officers shooting rubber bullets and tear gassing protestors. The local Target refused to sell items to peaceful protestors who were teargassed. Evidently, the murder of George Floyd did not matter to people and thus, that Target was looted. 

Many across the nation have been seemingly more concerned about the rioting and looting occurring in Minnesota than the actual reason for these actions. The civil disorder is a result of generational hurt and injustice and is ultimately a cry to be heard. What they are forgetting is that the United States of America has been founded on looting and rioting. The Boston Tea Party. Shays’ Rebellion. The Civil War. The looting of Native American territory and artifacts. 

Rioting against a tyrannical government is an American tradition. Yet, when civil unrest is the result of 400 years of mistreatment of Black people at the hands of the white man, violence is suddenly not the answer. 

When us Black people and allies protested peacefully, we were ridiculed and seen as disrespectful. The time for peaceful protest has passed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?” People must recognize why people are rioting in the first place and work to fix the problems. Black lives have been endangered for 400 years and we are piqued, hurt, and tired. 

After years of peaceful protesting, nothing has changed. De jure, Black people have as many rights as the next American citizen. But de facto, the system has continued to oppress the Black community. Again, the time for peaceful protest has passed. How does one remain peaceful when innocent Black brothers and sisters are ceaselessly murdered by white nationalists? 

The President of the United States has called for those protesting to be murdered if they loot, using a quote that holds racist history behind it. To Trump, property preservation is more important than American lives.

The Declaration of Independence states:

“…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” 

We should take into consideration that, if there is no change, we can abolish this illiberal government. We don’t need excuses or justifications for this behavior. The excuse that “not all cops are bad cops” does not cut it. There is a dangerous amount of cops that ARE out with malicious intent which is why we keep seeing Black people unjustly killed. How many more people have to become a hashtag before society understands Black lives matter?

While Chauvin has been fired and arrested, he has only been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. These charges hold him responsible for the death of George Floyd but they also say he had no intention to kill him. He ignored pleas to let Floyd breathe and continued to suffocate him for two minutes and 53 seconds after he was unresponsive. I guess that is not intent to kill.

 

Thoughts and prayers will not cut it. One officer arrested will not cut it. Charges without conviction will not cut it. 

No Justice, No Peace.

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Nathan Odige