As America Burns, We Must All Ask and Answer This Question

As America burns and peoples emotions range from annoyed to somber to angry to tired, there is an underlying question that each and every troubled soul should ask themselves.

What is the primary source of my pain?

This can seem like a simple enough question, particularly as a significant majority of American’s believe that the police murdered George Floyd. Even MSNBCFoxNewsCNN agree that the police committed murder and that is incredibly rare. Still, the aftermath of Floyd’s murder is going to paint a more accurate picture of where America stands in the face of justice. After all, we have been somber before. We have held candlelight vigils, ranted about the injustice on our social media platforms, and called for the bleeding to stop in reference to protests and riots. And here we are.

So I ask you, what is your primary source of pain in this ordeal?

  • If your primary source of pain is the hardships of the businesses being looted, you will see justice when the looting ends.
  • If your primary source of pain is watching the cities burn, you will see justice when the burning ends.
  • If your primary source of pain is the image of George Floyd on the ground with a white cops knee in his neck, you will see justice when all four white cops are in jail.
  • If your primary source of pain is the murder of black men by white cops, you will see justice when the murder of Blacks by white cops is not a frequent occurrence.
  • If your primary source of pain is the murder of the black experience that underlies the murder of George Floyd and and many of his brothers and sisters. That underlies the racist cop calls by Amy Cooper and the like. That underlies higher arrest, conviction, incarceration, poverty, drop out, and addiction rates for Blacks and African Americans. If this is the primary source of your pain, you will see justice when the systemic oppression of Blacks and African Americans comes to a grinding halt.

Here’s the thing: It is ALL PAINFUL. More than that, it is ALL PAINFUL TO ALL INVOLVED. If you don’t think looters and fire starters have their own pain, you have dehumanized them beyond the point of racism. When someone throws a bottle at a cop car, they are doing so from a place of long-standing, internalized, pain. What is more, they don’t see an end to it. Such is the truth behind systemic oppression. What is more, they will see the bystander the same way that much of America is finally starting to see them. People who are complicit in what has been a centuries old and continuous killing of Blacks and African Americans.

So again, from where is your pain primarily sourced? The answer to this question will influence the exact moment in time that your heart starts beating normally. That you feel safe living in this country. That you stop worrying about what you will see on the news. Just keep in mind that men like George Floyd and women like Atatiana Jefferson have these fears every day. A fear that they will go jogging and get chased down by fake cops. A fear that they will go into a banquet hall, only to be confused as being a trespasser who must answer to the 5–0. A fear that a traffic stop will lead to their deaths.

Still, no one knows how you truly feel. Your Facebook posts may indicate pain and a demand for justice but what does justice mean for George Floyd? I did not know this man but everything I have learned about the experiences of being black in America tells me that his version of justice does not stop with the conviction of his killers. He is not pleading for peace in the wake of the riots. He is pleading for peace of mind for every living and future black and African American in this country. For access and opportunity to be equalized!

The looting will eventually stop.

Fires will eventually stop burning.

The police officers will very likely go to jail.

But we are stealing from Blacks and African Americans every day.

Their proverbial lives are on fire as a result of our actions and inactions.

More police officers will unjustly kill black men and women.

No justice, no peace. Know justice, know peace!

Certified Master Facilitator / Certified Diversity Executive / Award-winning leader in empowerment and equality.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store