#PoliceBrutality: The Black man’s struggle against racism in America

Minneapolis George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter Movement

First Published in 2020

Have you ever sat down to write something only to find yourself staring blankly at your computer screen for minutes unending because you have many thoughts swirling around your mind?

Yeah, that’s me right now. I have a lot of things going on in my head but they are playing out in pictures and videos, not words. If I tried to speak, my words would be a barrage of irate letters. I have spent a considerable amount of time online in the past few days monitoring the news and refreshing news pages about the recent killing of George Floyd by a police officer that has sparked a nationwide #BlackLivesMatter protest in the US.

Watching the video of Floyd’s murder by fired officer Derek Chauvin was a difficult experience, one I wish I hadn’t had to endure, but it felt necessary to confront the reality of the situation. Imagine being handcuffed and pinned to the ground with a knee to your neck until you died and over two minutes later, your murderer was still in position.

Racism in America

For a nation like America, we can’t deny that the colour of his skin was a determinant of how he got treated or manhandled by the police. After refreshing news pages several times, I finally learned yesterday that he’d been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Without being suggestive, I started to imagine what it would feel like for incarcerated black men in the same prison as murderer Chauvin; will they be angry enough to make a scapegoat out of a racist cop? Would he be heavily guarded and protected by prison officials? Will he come out alive? What happens to his family? Will they be labeled for life or have their identity changed to protect them? I have seen too many movies, dang! My mind needs to calm down.

I am angry, hurt, and heartbroken; not just at George Floyd’s murder but at the underlying cause of the police brutality black people, young or old constantly face. How many such savagely cruel murders have happened without being taped?!

When I think about racism and prejudice, I get upset. Occasionally, I find myself drifting off into thoughts about possessing superpowers to bring people to justice when they overact in their capacities and spill blood needlessly without consequence. Racism is a thing in the world, a major thing in America!

I have shied away from asking God why he didn’t just make us all black or white because of the several issues that differences in skin pigmentation have caused, talk about slavery and racism; this global system of oppression continues!

I own a copy of The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, winner of the commonwealth writers prize for best overall book. In that book, he transformed a neglected part of history into an engaging historical fiction. It was a chronicle of how a free African girl turned into a slave in a world hostile to her colour. It was wrenching, harrowing, and sad. Slave trading did happen. It violated the laws of humanity, desecrated the shores of Africa… Ozoemena!  Never again! I read the book 4 years ago and I remember staining several pages of the with my tears. It was distressing.

Was Racism Justified in the Bible?

I think about racism and ask myself if Jesus was black or white. Did he keep a long hair or a fro? Was racism glorified in the Bible when Israel enjoyed better treatment than other tribes? Did all lives matter in the Bible when Israel was commanded to take other people’s lands and kill the natives of such places before they did…sometimes including the children? Did the lives of the children of Israel matter more than that of the Amorites and Jebusites?

If not, when did all lives start to matter? After Jesus came?

All lives do not matter in our world today; at least black lives haven’t until now. There is so much racial discrimination and prejudice in America for example where the system is designed to keep black people down, and always has been, since the slave trade. Throughout much of US history, African Americans have constantly faced restrictions on their political, social, and economic freedom.

Black Is King!

Without mincing words, the racist white man and woman see the black man as a threat. Distorted history books sold racists a false sense of superiority. The black man’s intelligence, abilities, athletic strength, and creativity aren’t even the problem; rather the insecurities, emotional fragility, and mental weaknesses of racists are responsible. 

One really would have thought that the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States moved us into a new era, didn’t MLK have a dream? But no, the 2016 election of Donald Trump which is more or less a racist backlash against the election of Obama showed us otherwise.

My black race (in fact there is only one race) has been severely disrespected; the numerous attempts to break and subjugate her are all too glaring for the world to see. The single story of thuggery and violence is constantly being perpetuated via mainstream media and in movies about black men. 

Where Can We be Black?

If we move away from America, there are institutionalized and systemic disadvantages against a person with dark skin in China and even in South Africa where xenophobic activities have hunted down black men in the past,

There is almost no safe place for the black man on this earth, not even in his own home or tribe. A 16-year-old girl named Tina was the latest victim of extrajudicial killing by trigger-happy police officers in Nigeria just a few days ago. Among the lower rung, kidnapping, and ritual killings continue to diminish the importance of the life of a black man. It is almost like being free but in chains; there is no comfort. His government is run by his people who loot and steal what would have provided him basic health care or a society where he can thrive. So he is constantly seeking greener pastures outside of his shores–to a place where he can’t breathe.

Who did this to us?

Answer: White people, through the slave trade. They forced men out of their homes and tried to erode the African culture selling us the idea that we are savages in our own homes.

“Go back to your country!!” They say.

What country? What part of Gold Coast are they returning to or didn’t viciously racist colonialists burn down their villages?

Honestly, Africans aren’t even going to hell, we’ve been through so much on earth already.

Bringing this back home to Africa, my Africa and its FIFTY-FIVE countries, can we let this whole situation awaken us to revolutionize our system? Can we break down the walls of ignorance that sees the black man as inferior? What if we unite and fight off the oppression of evil leadership? Can we start to value our very own lives?

I hope we do!

First published in 2020 on blackladywriter.com