Protest vs Rioting

An incident happened that made the world take notice about a man’s freedom and how it was taken from him by a corrupt police man. It had happened before in the past and nobody took mind of it because he was black and everybody took a blind eye.

This time there was a video which showed how this black man was executed by a white man. The times have changed and everybody protested. At first it began as a peaceful protest and then it became violent. The cities around the country had protesters become rioters damaging property and being arrested by the hundreds. This became the norm for a few days and slowly died down. However, this “norm” was what the media reported on the violent outbreaks as if they were the primary things happening. It ended up making it easy for TV viewers to condemn the protest altogether because all they saw was the violence and chaos not the peaceful protest and reasonable conversations that protesters were having.

What was it that sparked the intense hatred of that lone police man and law enforcement in general? It had to be a series of incidents that just enraged the black community and finally had enough.

 Going back to 1968 when Martin Luther King who preached nonviolence was assassinated, the black community rioted because he was going to be the key to the freedom they wanted and they lost him.

Back in Abraham Lincolns time, he had proclaimed the negro free from slavery. The freedom they craved was equality not just from being a slave. From that time on, every black person was treated differently regardless if he had a job or even owned a piece of the land. There was no fraternization between white man and black even if they were partners in a project.

The black community knew if they were to survive as a group it became necessary to segregate themselves from the white people because they were systematically prevented from leaving their neighborhoods due to unfair housing policies which discriminated against minorities and made it nearly impossible for them to find homes in wealthier/white they created black majority businesses and churches and schools.

Even then, they were persecuted by law enforcement. Blacks were lynch for minor crimes by white vigilantes. This went on until the 1960s. However, more blacks than white were being targeted and harassed by the police. So, the black community took to the task of not trusting the police and passed that anger to their children. Growing up in a black community and seeing the injustice being done by the white policemen, they started to protest which only inflamed the police more. Riot police went out of their way to stop the protest using Billy clubs, dogs, water and tear gas. There was no getting away from the assault of policemen arresting those people whose only crime was protesting for equal rights.

This racist mentality had been passed on to white people since slavery was begun in the United States and even in other countries who believe the negro was incapable of being human. To them, he was an animal on a leach and treated as such. They were not equal even if the Declaration of Independence said so. There were some changes eventually. In 1948 or so, President Truman integrated the Armed forces and let to blacks having equal rights and training. There were still a lot of misgivings about being around black soldiers. That changed somewhat because in combat they had to back each other up if they were to survive.

The black community had policed themselves to a point where there were educated men who rose to prominence. However, not everybody had a decent life. There were poor blacks who still felt the anger and hate of the white man. They were street people who barely made a living and blame the world for their fate. Their language was crude and boisterous. They were more prone to be attracted by the police even if they were standing on the corner doing nothing but hanging out. It didn’t help if they lived in a crime infested area.

So, when this incident happened, people, white and black who saw the video were aghast at what one lone policemen did and showing no emotion for the man lying down with the officer’s knee on his neck and saying “I can’t breathe” and the onlookers asking for the officer to let him breath before he died. That was too much. What’s more is that the other policemen did not stop from doing so.

The police men who were involved were fired and charged with second degree murder and now awaiting trial. People are still protesting but in a quiet way. Memorials and prayers are being led by church pastors.

Former president Obama came on TV and told the black community that now you should enact policy changes in each city. It is time for that now. At this writing, cities are banning choke holds. Congress is having a bill to reform law enforcement.

If there is going to be a reformed law enforcement practices, let it be in the way the police are recruited and evaluated as to their mental capacity to deal with people of every persuasion. We need the police to protect us from ourselves. There is no reason for riot police to be on site when there’s a peaceful protest. However, there should be some police to check the behavior of the group. There will always be agitators.

This is not enough. There should be equality for everybody. This is what black people want. Equal access to everything. From the justice system to the education process. Not only for backs but also for those being treated differently because of their gender or sexual identity or racial identity. Let’s all really believe in the Declaration of Independence this time and follow it as it was meant to be by our founding fathers

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