By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor

The murder of George Floyd by a White Minneapolis police officer has sparked uprisings in all 50 states and even around the world. Some of the protests have been violent, the vast majority have not.

But, it is not hyperbole to report the United States has not witnessed this level of ferocity nationwide in protest of systemic racism since 1968, in the aftermath of the murder of Dr. King.  

Yet, the protests we witness across the nation in 2020, which resemble the fury of 1968, are not born from 50 years of rage. Rather this uprising seems to embody the rage of generations, revealing the perilous plight of Black Americans who have been fighting to breathe for centuries in the country our Ancestors built.

Sean Yoes

But, predictably, the so-called mainstream media has focused on the isolated incidents of violence and looting in the midst of overwhelmingly peaceful and multi-racial protests.

And of course the despicable Donald John Trump predictably has attacked the anarchist group Antifa, which he has done in the past. After all, they are an easy target of most simple minded, paranoid and cowardly MAGA Americans.

“In recent days, our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa and others,” Trump said to reporters just a few days after Floyd’s murder.

Clearly, Trump is so stupid he cannot comprehend the irony of him speaking about anarchy.

He is without a moral core, with no regard or understanding of the Constitution, which he took an oath to defend. He has no concept of that oath. He has no knowledge of history. He has no understanding of governance. He has done more to erode the governing foundation crafted by the so-called Founding Fathers than any president in the country’s history. He embodies anarchy.

Trump is the anarchist president.

And it was the foolish anarchist president who declared, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” parroting the words of Walter Headley, the segregationist Miami police chief in 1968.

When the protests ignited in Minneapolis following Floyd’s murder, Tamika Mallory, the Women’s March activist made it plain for America.

“Don’t talk to us about looting. Y’all are the looters,” she said cogently and incisively. “America has looted Black people. America looted the Native Americans when they first came here, so looting is what you do. We learned it from you. We learned violence from you. We learned violence from you. The  violence is what we learned from you. So if you want us to do better, then, damn it, you do better.”

This week, we witnessed hundreds of peaceful protesters, American citizens in Lafayette Park in front of the White House dispersed by mounted police, tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bang grenades. The attack on Americans exercising their Constitutionally protected First Amendment rights was orchestrated so that the reality show president could conjure a MAGA photo op, holding a Bible (allegedly Ivanka’s Bible) upside down in front of shuttered St. John’s Episcopal church, the so-called “Church of the Presidents.” 

It is the same reality show president who has presided over the deaths of more than 100,000 Americans, a disproportionate number of them Black, poor and elderly and has refused to take any responsibility for the coronavirus carnage. It is the same “man” who comports himself more like a rabid, obtuse hyena scampering to and fro, wielding the immense power of his office like a cudgel.

White America, is this your king?

We add the name of Brother George Floyd to the phalanx of Black American martyrs known and unknown, seen and unseen who have died for the malignant crusade of White supremacy.

We pray the Holy Comforter dwells with his family and friends as they mourn his loss and prepare to lay him to rest in his hometown of Houston next week.

But, we affirm that Brother George Floyd did not die in vain.

No. His murder has sparked an inflection point in the American narrative of White Supremacy, a narrative fueled by 400 years of violence, murder, mayhem and exploitation. 

America’s day of reckoning has arrived.

Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and the author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.