America has never embraced its black community

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
George Floyd. Photo/Courtesy

America is in the throes of yet another moment of black rage, with violent protests raging in major American cities after an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died after a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, pinned him down during arrest by pressing his knee on his neck until he could not breathe.

Floyd’s death is one too many of unarmed black men both at the hands  of police as well as white men who seem to act with perfect impunity when it comes to unleashing violence against African Americans.

The irony is that America always takes the high moral ground when it comes to other countries violating the rights of their minorities.

As has previously happened, such violent protests might just dissipate. To start with, the country’s top leaders are completely off-key.

The two most important leaders in that country, President Donald Trump, and his predecessor, Barack Obama, are just playing politics and being politically correct, respectively.

Trump lambasted protestors and warned them they would be shot for looting.

At a time when the country needs a calming voice, such incendiary rhetoric only adds fuel to the flames.

Though he tried to make amends by calling Floyd’s family, the damage had already been done.

He still has a historic opportunity to become the President who struck a body blow for normalising the tattered race relations in America, but that window is fast closing. Will he seize it?

Obama issued a statement stating that the death of Floyd should not be “normal” in the year 2020. This is disingenuous to say the least.

As President for eight years, he pussyfooted around the issue of race relations, maintaining politically correct postures throughout.

George Floyd murder. Photo/Courtesy

Race riots happened regularly under his watch, and he denounced protestors then without addressing the causes.

Obama had his “Floyd” moment in 2012 when as President, a 17-year-old boy innocent and unarmed boy named Martin Trayvon was killed by a mixed race vigilante who confronted him simply because he was black. Obama did nothing. His Presidency failed blacks big time.

The best that Obama should do right now is to just keep quiet, and refrain from issuing inflammatory statements. 

As for Democratic Party presidential contender Joe Biden, his history of deep friendship and collaboration with white supremacists and segregationists means he should be very circumspect in his utterances.

It is worth noting that Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed, as well as Minnesota, the county, are both run by Democrats, the party of the African American community.

Black Americans must wake up and realise all those political parties see them through the same racist prism.

The Floyd protests present the black community with a major opportunity to force change. It has been a long time since race riots forced America to focus on the issue of race relations.

African Americans, despite being the largest minority group, is the most marginalised and disrespected in America.

No other minority in America whether Jews, Italians, Chinese, or Asians can accept to be treated in such a manner.

The white establishment is loath to have a conversation on race, while the elites in the black community would rather pretend there is no problem for fear of injuring white sensitivities.

Blacks were forcefully conscripted and taken to America in the 17th Century to work as slaves on plantations owned by white owners.

White America has refused to accept that free blacks have equal rights to stake their claim to the American dream.

That dream has been deferred for far too long by a deeply ingrained culture that has cemented blacks as second-class citizens. 

African American leaders need to seize this opportunity to mobilise nationally and force the political establishment to negotiate a new deal for their community.

A new Dr Martin Luther King must emerge. African Americans must realise race relations is a black and white issue, not a political party issue, and an election year is the best time to lock both contesting parties into an irrevocable platform to be implemented by whoever emerges victorious. 

It will be very unfortunate if the death of Floyd and the subsequent protests dissipate into business as usual. [email protected]

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