The United States is known to be a binary nation that is divided through discrepancies of color and race. Binary in politics with the two main houses being Democrat and Republican. Binary in whether you are pro-guns or against the idea of open carry. Binary with the simultaneous existence of black and white culture within the confines of the nation. With so much diversity, there seems to be inevitable conflict coming from an initial source that’s been fomenting in the country’s history for generations and has only mutated like a virus rather than weakened through humanitarian progression. This source can be traced to one of the easiest explanations: people of color are treated as if their lives hold no innate value. Rather, they are viewed by the system as immediate threats, without consideration of their personal fulfillments and motives to live as part of society’s solution, not the problem.
It’s the origin of hate that makes this nation’s racially-involved tragedies so shameful and as relevant as ever. With the recent news of George Floyd’s death caused by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and video evidence that explicitly shows the officer pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck against the street pavement for almost nine minutes, asphyxiation is evident. Anyone with a semblance of vision can see the cause of the 46-year-old’s death. Everyone can see what was the real motive and who the blatant culprit was. Everyone except the people who are meant and trained to protect us from coming across such fates as this.
According to CNN, The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy that found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.” After the results were released, the Medical Examiner received backlash from people accusing them for victim blaming and lying. The truth is that I and many others are not blind to the murder that we saw in Floyd’s video, and that autopsy is an example of the systemic racism that plagues this country.
In fact, ABC News reported that Floyd’s family announced that they will have Dr. Michael Baden conduct an independent autopsy. His name might sound familiar, that’s because Baden conducted an independent autopsy on Eric Garner — another black man who was killed six years ago by a police officer who still roams freely in this country. Like Floyd, Garner was suffocated and, like Floyd, his last words were, “I can’t breathe.” Baden ultimately confirmed that “compression of the neck that prevents breathing trumps everything else as cause of death,” according to the Associated Press.
Let me rephrase that, Garner was not killed by the health issues he had, he was killed by a police officer who had him in a chokehold. Floyd was also not killed by his health issues, he was killed by a police officer who pressed his knee on his neck. A police officer who did nothing as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and desperately called for his mother.
This is not just another police brutality case; it’s another appalling instance in the ever-growing timeline of African American lives unashamedly taken by law enforcement. This has created an uproar and riots in Minnesota that have spread across the nation by the black community and its allies in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Now, the problem that people like President Donald Trump and his supporters see with this is what they call a lack of justification to resort to riot and looting. An attempt to make it seem as if this is the main issue with this whole ordeal. But where are the justifications that are still pending to explain the deaths of the many innocent black lives taken by police who get to walk away freely and are able to enjoy life? They took the right to live away from black people whose families now have to suffer from immense grief knowing that justice neglects to respond to their losses.
What happens when attempts at peaceful protests continue to be futile to the systematic oppression that is the foundation of our nation? What happens when the black community attempts to echo their grief and pleas for change, only to be silenced by our own political leaders who leave them in the dark during times of despair?
Action happens. It’s been evident in our history, and it will continue to be evident that taking action works.
This specific case has brought people and groups alike to understand what they are capable of together and how they can turn a movement into a revolution. And, ironically enough, during times of such differences, it has actually brought this nation more united than ever.
The almost comedic thing about it is that our government should be the one advocating for a change that brings that sense of unification. But rather, they are the ones tearing the nation into conflict by failing to change a system that is, unsurprisingly, doing its job. But its execution in doing so is far from righteous since it is protecting only those who are deemed acceptable by the system, and excludes the black community from that standard.
This country is long overdue for a just distribution of universal human rights, no matter their state and no matter the pigment of their skin. The law was designed to define people and their actions by color since the inception of this country. To criminalize black people by a mere glance and to utilize inexcusable judgement that leads to their unjust murders.
That’s what happens when this country embodies a type of hate that’s almost as contagious as the current pandemic we are living in (and yes, this is all happening during a global health crisis that has been handled miserably by our government, to make matters worse).
But remember the binary system of the country we live in. As long as there are people who hate, there are people who love. People who love to see a new day not cut short by the unethical decisions of a police officer. People who love to stand for what is right. People who love to see black brothers and sisters prosper in a place that wants them to fail.
It’s a battle that’s been going on longer than it should, but it’s a battle that’s worth fighting for. The system is weakening, the system is seeing the people’s immeasurable potential. But most notably, the system is scared.
Henry Curi is the 2019-2020 Sports Co-Editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.