The murder of Mr Floyd has sparked massive nationwide protests against his death. The protesting is for Mr Floyd and all other African Americans murdered for their skin color, as well as against the ongoing systemic racism by White America against POC. Systemic racism is a charge White America can only plead guilty to, especially since the racism hasn’t ceased since the ending of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s.
The Constitution and Jim Crow Laws:
The United States Constitution, while an important defining document for our nation, provides the framework for White America to be racist. It has been shown, repeatedly, over the past 244 years by laws to keep not only African Americans, but all minorities, as classes of peoples who are believed to be inferior to White Americans. The 14th Amendment was enacted to guarantee African Americans equal protection under the law.
While the 14 Amendment was enacted, it did not stop states from enacting laws, called “Jim Crow” laws, that restricted and prohibited African Americans equal treatment under the law. The laws were clearly meant to keep Southern White Americans over African Americans, just as if slavery never ended. The rest of White America joined in.
Fighting Racism and Other Discrimination:
Now, with this current atrocity of racism, protests have broken out again. Yet, this time seems different somehow. The young people of the Millennial and Gen Z generations have galvanized themselves to push for the complete and necessary change needed to eradicate systemic racism. By the tens of thousands protestors have taken to the streets. They are making demands on a government of mostly Baby Boomers to correct the ugliness of racism in our society.
In fact, there should be no discrimination against any segment of society. It can be overcome, just ask the LBGTQ+ community in our country. They have fought, and continue to fight, for their rights as Americans to be free from the hate and discrimination against them by society. There is NO justification for White America’s discrimination, hatred, and racism. These two generations need to be supported and encouraged by Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers to do what was not accomplished in the late 1960’s. We had our chance and now it is their time.
The Government’s Response:
What has been the response States and Federal governments? The different cities in the different States have used their police forces to try and control the protests, aided by county and state law enforcement and national guard units. While there was some violence, rioting, and looting – it wasn’t necessarily from local protestors. Further, there has been needless excessive use of force against peaceful protestors by authorities. Tear gas, pepper spray, flash bang grenades, rubber bullets, batons and shields have been the weapons employed. In some cases, police vehicles have plowed into protestors and, in fairness, civilian vehicles have been used by parties unknown too. Injuries to protestors, the media, and police have occurred. This includes civilians and police seriously injured or killed.
What of the federal government response to the protests? For that we look to what the President of the United States and the US Attorney General have said and done. President Trump can’t seem to find a behavior that he can use to try and bring calm to the country.
A Politico.com article reveals Trump’s dystopia stating:
In a Rose Garden address Monday, against the noise of flash bangs and tear gas unleashed on streets just outside the White House gates, Trump cast himself as a “president of law and order.”
“My first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people. I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is exactly what I will do,” he declared.
It was a notable departure from his remarks in Cape Canaveral, Fla., over the weekend, as he condemned George Floyd’s death as a “grave tragedy” and acknowledged the “horror, anger and grief” many Americans are feeling.”
Trump’s speech in the Rose Garden included him stating that governors need to bring in enough National Guard troops to dominate their streets. He further said that if mayors and governors refuse to act, he then “will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” reports cnbc.com. To do so Trump would have to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807. Using active military troops, even threatening to, against protestors exercising their 1st Amendment rights is reprehensible. Reprehensible is just Donald Trump’s style, supported by his racist right wing.
When he was spewing forth his statements making him a “law and order” president, outside the White House Park Police and DC National Guard troops suddenly charged into peaceful protestors in Lafayette Park. Tear gas, pepper spray, and flash bang grenades led the charge. Shields were used as weapons, in one case a member of the media was punched and forced against a wall by a Park Police officer. This was all done, reportedly on the orders of AG Barr, so that Trump could walk over to the Episcopal church on the corner for a photo op of him standing in front of the church holding an upside-down Bible! As is usual with Donald Trump, he stated he knew nothing about the protestors being violently forced out of the park.
However, the streets of America continue to be filled with larger and larger protests as each day passes. Many cities have instituted curfews and from news reports the rioting, vandalism, and looting has dramatically decreased. The protests are much more peaceful, but the messages from the protestors are being shouted loud and clear. They are not asking, they are DEMANDING change to end racism in America!
Until next time
This ends Part 1 of the 21st Century Civil Rights Movement. Please proceed to Part 2.