We were all of us made slaves. George Floyd and Racism in America

George Floyd
Photo Credit: Twitter

 

When the first leg was shackled, when the first black body forced into the hold of a ship bound for the Americas, the captains of these ships working on orders of European Crowns and European Parliaments, secured our future, inextricably, to each other.

There is no America without black people.

While the founders founded and the militias defended – black bodies worked and built the country, for free, for three hundred years.

Then came the Civil War, the bloodiest of all wars America has ever fought, to free black people from the clutches of white southern plantation owners.

Followed, very quickly, by 100 years and four thousand lynchings before The Civil Rights Movement.

And what’s fantastic is Black People are still here after all that. They’re still here with us.

Their blood is mixed with white blood and Spanish blood in the soil of this country from end to end – there’s no way to deny this.

And yet, here we are, twenty years into the 21st century still fighting this issue that, for many whites, is recent. But to quote Will Smith, “Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s being recorded.”

White people, who’ve been able to skate the issue of race for lo these many years, now have it beamed into their home LIVE and on prime time. It’s all over social media. It confronts us with the truth that men and women three hundred years ago, are still dictating to us our fate because THEY decided to engage in the slave trade. But what’s worse, is that through corporate for-profit prison systems, the prison pipeline built within public education, and systemic inequality, slavery still isn’t over and WHITES are STILL NOT FREE from the curse placed upon us by those ancient powers.

We’re still grasping those chains like the old slave masters, unwillingly, unwittingly in some cases, and unable to simply let them go because of what was decided for us.

And the cops? Why they’re just the bounty hunters making sure that black body knows it’s place. They’re the nightriders. They are the infamous Klan. And those videos we’re seeing are public lynchings.

The most recent case?

George Floyd, an African Amerian man from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was murdered two nights ago because police thought he wrote a bad check. Think about that; a white police officer knelt on his neck along with three other cops who knelt on his body for nine minutes until dead – because they THINK he wrote a bad check.

You can watch the video here. (Warning: Graphic)

Four officers have been fired over the murder or George Floyd

So, how do we begin to unravel this? How do we start to disentangle ourselves from this mess? What must we do?

I think that it has to come from the top.

The President of The United States, along with a joint session of Congress, must apologize for three hundred years of slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow Law, and immediately start reparations. We did it for Native Americans; there’s no excuse as to why we can’t do it for African Americans.

Reparations can happen in conjunction with an Executive Order releasing all Non-violent drug offenders in prison who, upon release, will be given federally insured loans to buy into the marijuana industry if they so choose. We also end the War on Drugs.

Next, and also by executive order, all for-profit prison systems across the country will be closed and dismantled. Permanently.

From that point, a concentrated effort by federal and state legislatures to unravel decades of biased laws that cause racial disparity and inequality.

Police stations across the country, on every single level, will be subject to DOJ scrutiny, probes into culture and training, and racists fired.

Federal Legislation must be written to make it illegal for a cop to ‘shoot first and ask questions later,” when they feel ‘threatened.’ Should a police officer shoot and kill a suspect, that officer is subject to DOJ scrutiny. Full stop.

The Public-School system across the country will undergo a financial and educational overhaul. No more being able to determine the kind of education a child gets by zip code. A child in Beverly Hills will get the same quality education a child in the 9th ward of New Orleans will receive. All federal funding of private and charter schools will end immediately.

To quote my friend Michael Rowe’s brilliant post, “When a someone untrained in the medical profession, can spot a cancerous lesion on a person, the body, is very sick. For that body to survive, a series of radical treatments must happen. Similarly, when a white person can spot Racism and know what it is, the body is very sick. For that body to survive, a series of radical treatments must happen.”

If we want to extricate the chains of slavery for blacks and whites, we must be deliberate in our actions. We must act with precision, with diligence, and with radical compassion not only for African Americans but for ourselves and our mutual future.

We are bound together. Our fates intertwined in the fabric and DNA of this country.

This curse ends one of two ways, either with success or with failure.

However America ends, should it end; it will be together.

From that, there is no escape.

Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t be kneeling alone

 

I was ten minutes into browsing the internet when I happened upon the news that Nike is having former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick be their spokesman for their 30th Anniversary of “Just Do it.”

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past however many years – Colin Kaepernick was made famous by kneeling in protest during the National Anthem over the murder of black people in the United States by white cops.

I have two points:

John Rich, of Big and Rich, tweeted a picture of a pair of cut up socks that his sound man, a former Marine,  held in protest of Nike’s choice. Now, that man has the right to cut his socks if he wants to. Although someone should tell him that Nike already has his money (Dixie Chicks anyone?). I am here to say that it shouldn’t only be black football players kneeling at these games or anytime the National Anthem plays.

Why?

Well, we should be kneeling over the fact that young black men are being targeted by white cops. And if you set the race thing aside for just a second, we should at least consider that our fellow citizens are being murdered by cops without due process of law. Moreover, if you can’t let go of the race thing, then maybe you can at least get yourself over it enough to understand that if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.

We should also be kneeling over veteran suicide rates. Veterans represent less than 1 percent of the population of the United States overall. And 99 percent of you all talk so much about how much you love and respect them. Yet we have this terrible phenomenon occurring. From what I understand it’s still at a rate of 22 per day.  We should be kneeling over that. We should be bowing our head, at that. To rid ourselves of the apathy that allows that to happen.

Secondly, black people are heroes. Black people fought and died for this union whether unwillingly (I.E. the moment the first black foot touched American soil to The Vietnam War) or willingly (recent history). There are black veterans. Lots of them. There are black service members. Lots of them.

Yet, not all heroes wear uniforms and not all battles are fought in some foreign country.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Mary McLoud Bethune, George Washington Carver, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Maya Angelou, Shirley Chilsom, the list goes on forever…

those involved in the Civil Rights movement, those people who fought domestic battles when The United States government refused to let them have equal rights before the law, when the FBI sent a letter to Dr. King telling him to kill himself,  those people were heroes. That was a battlefield. Those that died during the lynching years between 1865 and 1955 – the last being Emmett Till – he’s a hero.

Colin Kaepernick – is a hero.

The battlefield is the hearts and minds of America for the soul OF America.

As a veteran, I wholeheartedly support Colin and all the other football players drawing attention to the fast and loose rules of our society that says “other” is expendable. I support them kneeling much to the ire of those who dislike it – because there will NEVER be a right time and place for their protest. There was never a ‘right time’ for The Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, The March on Washington, there wasn’t a ‘right time’ for Brown Vs. Board and the destruction of Jim Crow Law, there was never a ‘right time’ for The Civil Rights Act(s) except for the time and place in which they happened.

“Throw that football black man. Entertain me.”

Are you kidding me?

As a vet. I stood for his right to kneel. As a vet, I stood for the lives of Americans after we were attacked on 9/11. As a human being, I stand for Colin Kaepernick but what I won’t stand for is being used by paper patriots, the 99 percent, to use me or my brothers and sisters in the front line of your social ire when you can’t stand for us when we’re suicidal, or homeless, or hungry, or dealing with drug addiction, white, black or otherwise.

When someone like Colin or like LeBron James does something wonderful, something audacious, something good – the backfire is always “What about the vets?”

Well, what have you done for the vets, 99 percent? What have you done to eradicate poverty, and lift up your fellow citizens of black and brown heritage?

Vote for 45?

We all should be kneeling over that and everything else wrong in this country.

 

P.S. I challenge Nike to scour the internet for the duration of this campaign to pick out words used to protest it. Words such as Veteran, Military, and Flag. For each instance, this is used, and its already started, I challenge Nike to donate 5 cents to the Veterans organization of their choice or any organization that helps African Americans access to health care, education, or clean water for those folks in Flint. You know, issues brought up anytime someone does something nice but is never taken care of by the people who complain.