I Can't Breathe

#ICan’tBreath-Toby R. Davis

aka Naeem Nusaga

THE DISTURBING FOOTAGE seen throughout the world of George Floyd laying face down on the pavement with a white police officer kneeling on his knee has sparked a global outrage. Unfortunately, police brutality and racial profiling perpetrated against African-Americans and minorities alike isn’t a new phenomenon, however, with the usage of cellphone cameras we can now record in real time the abuse of power taking place on a regular basis in underserved communities, where black men are 50xs more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts.

Although they have made three new arrests in the case, many say that reaching a guilty verdict for Mr. Floyd isn’t going to be a slam dunk. History has shown that police officers are often found “Not Guilty” by jury; in spite of having strong evidence to convict. Just look at the Rodney King case played out in Los Angeles, where several police officers were seen brutally beating him, but later to be acquitted of all charges. Sadly, we have witnessed time and time again police officers being let off the hook with very little or no accountability when in fact no one should be above the law!! But the enormous rally cry for juctice in the George Floyd’s case appear to have gained unparallel momentum around the world as black and white protesters band together in staggering numbers. It is imperative that we stand together in order to have peace together. 

If you’re one to take offense to the notion that Black Lives Matter, then you need to take the time to educate yourself about racial disparities. In God’s eyes, ALL LIVES MATTER, because all lives were created by the same Creator and therefore have equal value and inalienable rights. Nonetheless, if you’re a white person, whether you know it or not, you have benefited from white privilege in some way, shape or form. Blacks, on the other hand, have been discriminated against since our forefathers who were brought across the Atlantic ocean to America on slave ships to be the burden bearers of this country. No life should be placed above another, however, due to the four hundred plus years of Blacks being marginized by their white slave masters and victimized under the notion of White Supremacy, there’s quite naturally a greater urgency to reinforce our black value here on this planet Earth. Since slavery was so-called abolished on the books, it doesn’t mean that it has been utterly eradicated in the hearts and minds of the people in power who continue to implement laws and policies that invidiously target minority groups through legislation.
Lest we forget that it was just as early as fifty years ago when Blacks were discriminated against by Whites blatantly in public. At that time you couldn’t use the public restroom or water fountain without noticing the big, bold signs that read above it: WHITES ONLY and COLORED HERE! as if we were infected with the bubonic plague! It’s been an ongoing struggle to have equal rights and opportunities in this country to this very day. Prior to the victory of Brown v. Board of Education, we had to fight to even be integrated in the same publicly-funded schools with white students to obtain a basic education while being harassed, criticized, spit on and physically attacked by white students as well as local policemen who arrived to enforce discriminatory laws against us.

The psychological damage caused by 400 years of slavery is merely inconceivable. The effects itself can range anywhere from self-hate to low self-esteem after buying into the hype and lies that were perpetuated on a large scale. Even today, most Blacks suffer from what I call “The Tarzan Effect” after being exposed for so long to a jungle-like environment that tends to reinforce animalistic behavior and savagery. At some point, your subconscious accepts it, as you begin acting the part without even knowing you’re playing the part. This further explain why most young black males are far more likely to be assigned to a prison cell by age 23; oppose to a college dormitory in room 23! Think about that. Due to mass discrimination we have to fight five times as hard to be recognized and respected as U.S. citizens by establishing certain organizations such as: the Civil Rights Movement, the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP), Affirmative Action, and today the Black Lives Matter Movement to push against inequality, and injustice, as we march and shout through the streets “No Justice! No Peace.” repeatedly.  

How can we live in the so-called greatest country on Earth, yet we’re faced with antiquated viruses known simply as racism, oppression, and racial profiling each and every day on this soil? What is it about having Black skin that makes us a target? Why are Black men often times looked upon as a threat; or otherwise, prompt a sense of fear in our white counterparts, particularly in those of whom have sworn to Serve And Protect us? Although for many, this is an uncomfortable topic, but we must all ask ourselves these fundamental questions, if we as Americans, are to rid America of these racial biases and discover practical solutions that can implement fundamental change for a better America. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings who deserves human decency, equal protection, and socioeconomic opportunity.

In the words of MLK: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” So, let’s all stand collectively to change racial laws and policies that continue to promote racism, bigotry, and of course hate!


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