I Can’t Breathe… For Different Reasons

In the aftermath of the shooting death of unarmed Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO and the chokehold death of unarmed Eric Garner in New York, NY, many have been enraged that justice was not being served with regard to punishing the individuals who were responsible. In both cases, a white police officer was the killer and neither officer was indicted for the crime they committed.

The truth is, I am not angry or upset about either incident (**ducks**). I’m not saying that I don’t care about these incidents in and of themselves. I feel very sorrowful for the losses of the families involved and am infuriated by the cultural impact that is has had on African Americans and implications as to how they (we) are treated in contemporary culture. The fact that the officers involved were not even charged with a crime is sickening and sad.

However, I believe that people are rioting for the wrong reasons. Folks that are furious about the outcome of the lack of justice are protesting the wrong thing. There is something that should enrage society moreso than either of these incidences—something that in fact systemically caused both to occur. That thing is to riot for the recompense of slavery.

As I wrote in my 400 years a slave article, because African-Americans were brought to this country, enslaved, miseducated, heinously abused, and disenfranchised without any form of justice or payment, these people should receive reparation for these despicable acts of domestic terrorism. The United States pretends like reconciliation has been achieved even though remuneration has not been rendered and justice has not been served. That alone is an easy and obvious reason to cause a riot.

reparationsThe most infuriating thing about it is that repayment is easy and attainable. Since white slavers miseducated slaves (they did so by killing blacks who were or even seemed educated), African-Americans should get a free college education. Because blacks were beaten, physically mistreated, and left untreated when stricken with disease, African-Americans should receive free healthcare today. Such propositions are simple. And to those who believe that such an undertaking is not feasible, look at the Native Americans. Native Americans receive a free college education paid for by the U.S. federal government and receive free healthcare through facilities that are sponsored by the U.S. government.

The miseducation of blacks systemically creates miseducated offspring and generations who don’t have both the foundational means to obtain education, means and opportunity to achieve upward mobility, or even the wherewithal to pursue either of these to begin with. Because this occurs, generations of African Americans are raised in single-parent homes, in impoverished neighborhoods, and lack encouragement and fortitude to try and find a way out of their dire situations. Such disparity is grounds for a riot.

The officers involved in these two recent murders of innocent black teens is not what people should riot about; systemic racism and the lack of restitution is the culprit. If one is to riot about anything, he/she should riot about that. Riot about the root of the problem, not the fruit of the problem

-Deshawn (@ShonJay714)

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Journalist and aspiring writer. Contact me at da.advocates@gmail.com

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