June 1, 2020
“THOSE WHO MAKE PEACEFUL REVOLUTION IMPOSSIBLE WILL MAKE VIOLENT REVOLUTION INEVITABLE”
– John F. Kennedy
The United States of America is on the dawn of a new epoch, one that will be determined by the actions of its people and government in the coming weeks. The documented death of an innocent life at the hands of an individual who took an oath to serve and protect has awakened the 400-year-old anger of a discriminated race. The phrase “I can’t breathe” echoes through the ears of the protesters who stare at the blank gaze of police, wondering if they can recognize humanity behind their face shields. George Floyd’s unrightful death has sparked a response never before seen in our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our parents, which forces us to realize how detrimental the next few weeks will be in regards to the future of our nation.
"The phrase – I can’t breathe – echoes through the ears of the protesters who stare at the blank gaze of police..."
With the platform that has been given to me, I will not use this short written piece to repeat what has already been said, but instead add something to the conversation that is often not talked about.
"They put comfort and complacency over the lives of black people and use the name of Dr. King as their defense."
It has been the trend of behavior for White America to demand black people to protest by their terms in order to achieve their preferred outcome. They condemn kneeling during the pledge of allegiance, finding it disrespectful; they condemn the action of groups like Black Panthers who exercise their 2nd amendment right (a right they defend for their sake), finding it too threatening; they condemn the rioting occurring across the country, finding it not conducive with what “MLK would have wanted.” It baffles me to my core that white people can take it upon themselves to determine what Martin Luther King would say in response to the rioting in order to push their narrative. The complete audacity of White America to name drop Dr. Martin Luther King Jr when they want to suppress the voices of the unheard is the very reason why people are rioting in the first place. They put comfort and complacency over the lives of black people and use the name of Dr. King as their defense.
Dr. King chose to protest peacefully because he found it to be the best mode of action, but even then, his protests were met with the full violence of the police and in the end (despite the milestones he achieved) was still turned into a martyr. The events that Dr. King and many others saw during their time are repeating themselves today. White America will plead to protesters to be nonviolent because they know they can respond to it how they deem necessary without being negatively affected. Dr.King wouldn’t participate in violent protest, but he would understand why it occurs, and while I cannot speak for a man no longer living, I can assure those reading that he wouldn’t want White America to use his words as a defense for their complacency.
"Will you leave the comfort behind and commit using your privilege for change or will you wait until the system that you created is burned in front of you?"
While there is more that can always be said, I will end with this: the rioting that you are seeing today is the “language of the unheard,” as Dr. King once said. People have waited long enough for change, now they are making efforts to obtain the change they have always wanted. This leaves White America with a decision: Will you leave the comfort behind and commit using your privilege for change or will you wait until the system that you created is burned in front of you? You must make the decision before it is made for you.