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I don’t know about you, but the events unfolding in the past one week have made me wonder whether I am still in the United States of America. While I understand the anger of the people, I just wished the way they were vented was a little less on the carnage side. There was a lot of destruction and a lot of looting. I bet the looting was not part of the program. However, in the melee that ensued there is no knowing what could happen. The best way to protect things like this from happening is to make sure that they have no reason to start. Generally speaking, it is hard for me to fault the anger I see expressed in the placards and the defiance of the people who staged civil protests all over the United States. I felt the same anger myself. For me it is not even about black or white, it is more about the lackadaisical way the police officer took the life of another human being. On the other hand, looking back at similar events in this country, one cannot remove the part that race must have played in how unperturbed this officer was as he took another person’s life. It has happened one time too many.
There is no doubt in my mind that the murder of George Floyd has a lot to do with what is presently going on. To be clear, the carnage, the arson, the looting is definitely not the way to get the change that is desired in the way the police relates with people of color in this country. However, the anger, the pent-up anger, which was brought to a head with the murder of George Floyd has a lot to do with whatever is being expressed.
What is going on in America at the moment is a great revelation about race matters in America. It is disheartening in this age to still be confronted with the evils and bitterness of racial profiling. There are just too many times that racial profiling has resulted in the death of innocent people that it ought to cause any God-fearing person to pause and think. With all the noise and the uprising due to the senseless killing of a young man, Trayvon Martin, in Florida in 2012 based on an equally senseless “stand-your-ground” law, one would think that efforts would have been made to make the laws a little more just eight years later. The “stand-your-ground” law is essentially a license to kill for whites who for one reason or the other become quite anxious whenever they encounter a black person. This law essentially enables the codification of racial prejudice as self-defense. On the other hand, when a black person invokes the same law, the courts are quick to dismiss it. All over the United States, records show that the law enforcement system disproportionately arrests and sentences black men, but also fails to protect them when they themselves become victims of crimes. In addition to these, there is racial inequality in the economy and there is flagrant racism everywhere you go. There is still a long way to go.
The last time something like this happened was when Rodney King was mercilessly beaten by four policemen in Los Angeles in 1992. As usual, the justice system failed Rodney King then, but Rodney lived to talk about it, unfortunately not the same for George Floyd. Rodney’s question then was – “Can we all get along?”. That question he asked still matters today. Can we all get along? Can we decide to live together in peace? If only we will live and let live, we will all be able to get along. In this country now, it is difficult to look at any issue that matters without being divided along racial lines. Why should color matter in whether I receive a good education? Why should color matter in whether I have access to good housing? Why should color matter in whether I am treated fairly in a court of law? When will Martin Luther King’s dream for his four little children come to pass for all of us and all our children, that we will live in a nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character? It is disheartening that in this day and age America still has difficulties in the perception of right and wrong simply based on the subject of race. Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians 3:28 said “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Might I add that when it comes to justice there should also be “nether black nor white”, we are all children of God and I am sure God wants us all to just get along.– Pastor Simbo Odunaiya