Alonzo Weston

Here we go again. Another black man killed at the hands of police followed by public outrage and protest.

It’s a well worn script. T-shirts printed with the words “I can’t breathe” and chants of the same ring loud everywhere.

All police departments and officers are vilified. Some people are not concerned as much with marching for human rights as finding opportunities to loot and burn, overtaking the news headlines and thereby tarnishing the work of peaceful protest. All get painted with the same brush.

There have been protests against systemic racism and police brutalities for decades. This is a new chapter in a new century and decade where nothing much has changed except the names of the victims and perpetrators.

Not long ago it was Trayvon Martin. Now it’s George Floyd, a Minneapolis black man arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money to buy cigarettes. Not an offense in any law book deemed punishable by death, but during the arrest a white police officer knelt on Floyd’s back and neck for nine minutes as he pleaded with the officer “I can’t breathe” before he died.

Black Lives Matter protests, calls for police reform and legislation to address perceived racial inequalities inevitably ensued, as did arguments about the victim’s criminal past.

Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, said people should remember Floyd’s “violent criminal history.” He called the protests over Floyd’s death the work of a terrorist movement

For years, black deaths, intimidation and discrimination have been at the hands of homegrown racists and terrorists and now protests against it are a terrorist act?

What about the protesters against Michigan’s coronavirus lockdown, who carried guns into the state capitol building in Lansing?

Talk about white privilege. You know as well as I do that if the armed coronavirus protesters were black the National Guard would have been sent in with tear gas and rubber bullets like those used against the peaceful protesters near the White House.

We need to be empathetic to others feelings and plight. Don’t paint everyone with the same brush. Not all police are bad, not all blacks are criminal and not all whites are racist.

We need to show the same outrage when police officers are brutally gunned down and other races are mistreated. We need to rally against gangs and black-on-black crimes and discrimination and injustice against us all.

We all have to be for each other if we’re to survive.

Racism is wrong no matter which race does the hating, said Muhammad Ali. He was right.

Alonzo Weston can be reached at alonzo.weston@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.