Beginning early in the 17th Century, blacks on the continent of Africa were kidnapped and loaded onto ships in chains to be brought to America to serve as slaves to the white man.
They supposedly won their freedom in 1865 when the civil war, in which slavery was one of the major issues, came to an end.
But somehow or other it seems that more than two centuries later this freedom is still not accepted by all Americans.
How else can you explain the seemingly unrestrained killing of black men by white police officers, killings for which the officers are seldom held to account.
No justice for the black victim is the sorry state of affairs of the alleged justice system in the United States.
From this I think you can understand why many black parents fear for their children when they leave their home even for a brief shopping trip.
Being white, I have no idea what it is like to experience such fear.
Bringing all this home at the moment is the case in Minneapolis where a policeman knelt on the neck of a black man, George Floyd, until he died.
Floyd, 46, was being arrested for suspected forgery..
Although there is no evidence Floyd had done anything in the way of resisting arrest, Officer Derek Chauvin, 44, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, with Floyd unresponsive for the last three.
Video shows two other officers helping Chauvin hold Floyd down with another standing casually by, watching the life of an unresisting victim being snuffed out. Ho hum.
With that video imprinted solidly on my mind I found myself swearing silently as I began this column on the afternoon of Friday, May 29.
But my anger was tempered somewhat by the news that Chauvin had just been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. It was suggested charges against the other three were to follow.
However, the type of charges against Chauvin did give me pause. They seemed light. Third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges are, as far as I am concerned from viewing video of Floyd’s slaying, much lower than warranted. If prosecutors go for any kind of plea bargain, you can bet Chauvin and the others will get what will amount to a slap on the wrist for a major criminal act.
I am also concerned that the protests which nightly deteriorate into riots, not only in Minneapolis but in many other major centres, could take attention off the main issue here, which is the killing of black men by police.
Part of the oath police in the U.S. take says they will never betray the public trust. This takes in all the public. It doesn’t differentiate by colour.
The police chief in Minneapolis is black. I am not so sure that he shouldn’t lose his job. After all, there is obviously a culture in his department that departs from the oath because this is not the first time a black man has been killed by police in his city.
I have never understood the hatred against blacks that has permeated the United States ever since the end of slavery and I guess I never will.
Those who came to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves didn’t do it willingly. They were forced to go there.
One would think the Americans of today would be offering their descendants an apology, rather than spewing hate in their direction.
I realize not all Americans feel that way but obviously there are far too many. And it turns really ugly when some of them are allowed to get into a police uniform, power getting into the hands of the wrong people.
During a discussion on racism I heard it suggested that the only way to stamp it out is to get it done early in the home, with parents setting the tone.
I couldn’t have agreed more.
In a previous anti-racist rant I mentioned that I grew up in a home in which there never was any hint of bigotry. My parents left a legacy that now runs right down to my grandchildren.
But during the discussion, one person went on to say that in his personal life he didn’t see colour; he just saw the person.
I thought that was a stretch.
When I have met a person of colour, I have seen colour.
I have actually really only met indigenous Canadians, Japanese, Chinese and blacks but I have seen them as what they are, human beings of another race.
I would have had to have been blind not to notice the difference.
There are different colours in this world and we had no hand in deciding how this came about. The thing now is simply to accept it and enjoy it. Jeez, can you imagine how dull things would be if all flowers were the same colour, all food was the same colour, our cars had to be the same colour – boring.
I decry what has happened with the protests that have arisen because of the death of Floyd. They have gotten out of hand, with peaceful protests turning into what can only be described as riots. The destruction of businesses and police vehicles is senseless.
But police aren’t covering themselves with glory either, their use of their batons on the protestors, many of them women, giving one an idea of how Chauvin thought it was OK to kneel on Floyd’s neck until he died.
We are told a lesson is being learned out of this.
We have been told this before. Nothing has happened.
It is time it did.