Desperately needed message of Floyd atrocity hijacked by rioting nationwide
Racial injustice and inequality are America’s original sin.
The stains include the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, bathrooms and water fountains designated by race, and segregated schools.
We must acknowledge that history and resolve to improve on it. We have made progress, but not enough. All of us are outraged at the sight of a policeman kneeling on a handcuffed black man’s neck while his three partners idly watch death happen.
That Minneapolis atrocity was worthy of a nation full of demonstrations against racial hatred.
We can’t give George Floyd his life back. We can’t blot his family’s pain. We can agree, all of us, to treat each other better, with goodness in our hearts and peace in our actions.
The aftermath of this horrible moment should have been a new resolve to move America to true racial equality.
And there are thousands of protesters in a cross-section of this country who wanted that to be the still photograph.
Instead, we have a photo collage of burning buildings, cities on fire, bricks thrown through businesses, Molotov Cocktails thrown into police cars and looters carrying out flat-screen TVs.
The explanation lies in a boiling stew left on the stove far too long: Fewer traditional upbringings and too many absentee fathers; a reduction in the impact of faith; a significant portion of our educational system geared to indoctrinating young minds with a revised version of our history; a media that promotes that narrative; and an organized movement seeking anarchy that ends the country as we know it.
That recipe was gas-lit, in part by a media predominately determined to convince you that demonstrators in the front row of protests and brickthrowers hiding behind them are one and the same. Suddenly, commentators who blistered Michigan citizens for not wearing masks while protesting draconian virus lock-down measures at their state capital don’t say a word about thousands of people demonstrating, many maskless, night after night. Did the virus precautions end Memorial Day or did the agenda change?
CNN’s Anderson Cooper lectures against calling any of the chaos promoters thugs. But that was not an exclusively peaceful protest on your television. That was not an impromptu uprising that just happened to explode simultaneously in about three dozen of America’s largest cities.
Someone arranged for pallets of bricks. Someone arranged for cars without license plates with explosives in them. Someone paid Antifa to turn protests into an attempt to turn our cities lawless.
A college professor from the University of Alabama posted instructions on how to deface monuments. Two Brooklyn attorneys were caught passing out bricks to demonstrators. Hollywood elitists and political operatives bragged about posting bail for those arrested without knowledge of who they are or the arrest circumstances.
Who is hurt most by this mayhem? The single black mother who now has no job to go back to because the business in her neighborhood is destroyed.
The small shop owners beaten while trying to defend their domains. The thousands of people whose cries for racial justice are being drowned out.
African-American kids, many living in broken homes, who watch this and assume all police are not worth respecting and their futures are not worth working for.
Young adults of all backgrounds, filled daily with only the negative elements of this country’s history, who must be wondering what America they are coming of age in?
The four policemen involved in the Minneapolis atrocity should have been in custody by nightfall Memorial Day. Cries for a new level of racial justice should have been all we heard. Unfortunately, the image of these two weeks is America on fire. That image will be repeated until the full narrative is understood and changed.
There is racial injustice that must end. We all need to do our part. There are policemen who do wrong things and should be removed. There are many more policemen like the chief in Michigan who knelt and marched with demonstrators.
The Floyd atrocity is not the first of its kind. But FBI statistics and a recent deep-dive by the Washington Post into police interactions do not reveal numbers that systemic racial injustice would produce. Demonstrators with a message are not thugs, but masked people cowardly standing behind them with bricks are. They have injured and killed police during this unrest. They should be called out. Instead, ABC News does not spend one second of its newscast reporting on a retired, 77-year-old black policeman shot and killed in St. Louis while defending a friend’s business. The second brick throwers take over a demonstration, mayors and governors should authorize greater police pushback in defense of citizens, businesses and cities.
The narrative will not change unless all parts of the story are reported. Until the media meets that obligation, we all need to meet ours in the way we treat each other.
David F. Troisi is retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette.