By Cole Parkinson
Alta Newspaper Group – Taber
The senseless murder of George Floyd was completely unnecessary and the protests that have followed have been long overdue.
And I’m not talking about the looting and unnecessary rioting. Those who have gone out to the protests to simply cause damage and loot from their own community are not protestors, they are individuals looking to take advantage of the situation and it’s disgusting.
There has been plenty of videos shared throughout social media of protestors actively stopping these people from continuing to destroy the places they live in.
There have also been a ton of videos showing just how peaceful the protests are and many of the actual protestors were out the very next day cleaning up.
This should be a time where every single person comes together to not only take a stance against racism and police brutality but also to share stories around how minorities have been treated in the past, and how they should be corrected moving forward from this point.
American rapper and activist Killer Mike (Michael Render), gave an incredibly impassioned and moving speech in Atlanta talking about the protests and the need to end the looting, and I would encourage everyone to watch what he had to say because it truly was chilling listening to someone on the frontline.
This is exactly what needs to be said and I’m glad someone who not only has a big voice on the activism side stood up to call out the looters who were only doing damage to what the protests are truly about.
As a white man, I’ve never faced these situations where I’ve feared for my life because of how I look but I am sick and tired of people being murdered because of the colour of their skin.
I’ve never looked at a police officer and felt fear but many African-Americans can’t say the same thing.
In fact, it’s sickening it’s still happening in 2020. It seems like this happens all the time where a black person is murdered just because of the colour of their skin and these protests that have been happening across the world over the weekend are finally bringing this issue to the forefront once again.
These aren’t the first protests around bringing abhorrent racism issues to the front but I sure hope they are the last because it’s about time everyone starts listening and learning about the issues African-Americans and other minorities face every single day.
Their voices have been drowned out for far too long and they need help from everyone to end it, and these protests are a great starting point to show support.
And a lot of these protests are peaceful but a lot have steered into violent affairs.
On the other side of the barricade, many police forces have continued to escalate the situation further by not using common sense.
Just look at New York City, where two police vehicles were used to ram through protestors, or in Minneapolis where the National Guard were filmed firing rubber bullets in a residential area where people were just standing on their porch.
The same can be said in Los Angeles where the LAPD have been filmed shooting rubber bullets at peaceful protests.
Multiple media members have also been shot at during these protests in a number of different states, even though they had identified themselves as such.
If common sense was used, these protests would not need to be violent but because of these irrational uses of force, things continue to escalate.
And these are only a few videos that have been shared, there are plenty more where the cops look less than stellar in their line of duty.
Now sure, there have been plenty of negative stories around police forces, mainly in the U.S., and deservedly so, but just because there are tons of bad cops, that doesn’t mean every single cop is bad.
Just look at Flint, Mich., where Genesse County Sheriff Chris Swanson not only laid down his weapon and riot gear when approaching the protest but also joined in with them and said “I want to make this a parade, not a protest.”
Or look at Camden, N.J., police who hit the streets with the protestors to stand against police brutality.
There are plenty of great men and women who suit up every single day around the world and just like any walks of life, just because there are a few terrible people, that doesn’t label the entire group.
Just look here in Taber, where there are great men and women who suit up for the Taber Police Service, the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP and the M.D. of Taber community peace officers every single day.
That being said, taking a stance against these racist cops who should not have a gun and a badge is an absolute must.
For too long, these people who are called “police officers” have harboured a grudge against minorities for no other reason than the colour of their skin and it’s time this is put to an end once and for all.
And don’t get me started on President Donald Trump’s reaction to all of this. It’s like he’s too scared to even come out to condemn racism and the terrible actions that have caused this whole chain of reactions.
I’m not a huge Joe Biden fan by any stretch but this past weekend, he was out at the Wilmington, North Carolina protests while Trump sought shelter in the White House bunker.
And sure Trump tweeted out his disdain for the death of Floyd but just look at his Twitter account where the only thing he is focusing on are the riots, when in fact there have been tons of protests that are completely peaceful.
Of course, that’s his brand at this point but you’d think as the President of the United States he would show his solidarity and stand against racism and stand with the peaceful protestors, but there’s nothing of that sort.
From his point of view, “the radical left” is the reason why there have been riots and looting, but of course, he’ll never just come out and condemn racism and injustice African-Americans deal with.
One simple tweet stating he stands against racism and the actions that some police officers have taken to during these protests is all it would take but who expects that to come from Trump?
And this isn’t a ‘lets all bash Trump party’ either, but I don’t think it’s too far to ask him to maybe once denounce the racism in his country.
Just look at the past peaceful protest where Colin Kaepernick and many other NFL players including Eric Reid took to kneeling during the American anthem to stand against racial injustice.
This was really one of the big sparks of the Black Lives Matter movement and of course, Trump called for any players who knelt during the anthem to be fired from their team.
The NFL didn’t stand by Kaepernick or Reid and they have basically been blacklisted from the league, so it was quite funny they would tweet out their support of the protests when they wouldn’t do the same a few years ago.
This entire movement should highlight it’s not white vs. black — it’s good people against racism and I encourage anyone who feels the same to continue to listen and share voices of minorities who have not been allowed to speak before.
This is incredibly important and we should all be coming together to combat this out of date, and frankly, disgusting point of view.
We all need to be better and I hope these protests continue to shed light on this issue that not only exists in America but across the world, including at home in Canada, just look at what Indigenous people face daily.
Racism comes in many different shapes and forms and if you are neutral to racism than you are part of the problem.