What you need to know:
- Jacob Blake, 29, was shot several times in the presence of his small children as he got into a car in Mid Western City.
- Many African-Americans see the shootings and gratuitous murders of black people as racially motivated.
The ongoing violent protests in the United States have reached alarming and unprecedented levels. And this can be attributed to deep-seated racism and intermittent police brutality against African-Americans.
Last Wednesday, police fatally shot an African-America man in Washington, DC. Deon Kay, 18, was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon in the midst of a foot pursuit with police officers.
This comes soon after the police shot and critically injured another African-American man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, late last month. Jacob Blake, 29, was shot several times in the presence of his small children as he got into a car in Mid Western City.
He was left paralysed from the waist down is now hospitalised. The cruel death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the hands of police triggered global protests is still fresh in many people’s minds.
As if that is not bad enough, Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police in her apartment in March while Daniel Prude, who was mentally ill was allegedly hooded by police and forced facedown on a road in New York. He later died in the hospital.
These cases have, definitely, invoked bad memories of police brutality and racial discrimination against black people, sparking widespread violent protests in US cities. Many African-Americans see the shootings and gratuitous murders of black people as racially motivated.
Indeed, they have received international outrage and condemnation. Many African-Americans have suffered degrading and inhuman treatment at the hands of whites.
In 1992, officials in Los Angeles, for example, were forced to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew after people went on the rampage over the brutal killing of Rodney King. And in 1967 and 1968, there were widespread violent protests over racial and economic disparities in US cities.
The assassination of African-American human rights activist Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr in 1963 was the hallmark of racial hatred and murder in the US.
Police brutality and extra-judicial killing in America are reminiscent of the cruel Nazi regime in Hitler’s Germany and remain the elephant in the room.
It is unfortunate that racial tension is taking centre stage in an election year. Unsurprisingly, President Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, and his Democratic rival Joe Biden have clashed over the violence that has erupted in Portland, Oregon.
Racial discrimination in the 21st Century is not only abhorrent but is unacceptable. As Dashane Stokes once remarked: “When we allow violence against some, we enable violence against all.” The need for racial harmony and tolerance cannot be overemphasised. Black lives matter.
Joseph G. Muthama, Kiambu