“Because right now……. there’s only one thing that’s on my mind. Right now, if we’re being really real? As a black person in America, there’s only one thing that could possibly BE on my mind.
‘And that’s fearing for my life.”
This was an article written by Natasha Cloud on the playerstribune.com on May 30 2020. She is an American professional basketball player for the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Association. She headlined it Your silence is a knee on my back, that also inspired me to borrow it for my editor’s note.
Natasha’s article was in reaction to the death by police of Geroge Floyd. Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Footage of the arrest on 25 May shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck while he was pinned to the floor.
Mr Chauvin, 44, has since been charged with murder.
The key events that led to Mr Floyd’s death happened within just 30 minutes, based on accounts from witnesses, video footage and official statements, according to bbc.com.
I was touched to read just Natasha’s headline because it ignited in me something so strong along the lines of oppression that do not necessary stop at racism. It is all about speaking up and not staying silent.
In this country, there are many atrocities committed by various sectors of society and we choose to remain silent. They include those by police the ill-treating fellow black people. It is not wonder there is so much hatred between law enforcers and the public it is meant to serve because of the long standing issues. If you get arrested for example, the kind of treatment the accused and their relations are subjected to are appalling. A mere visit to police cells is enough to degrade someone. This am speaking from experience as the police talk to you as if you were pieces of garbage. The treatment of the accused while in cells too, is harsh, sometimes forcing them to make confessions from torture. And because we choose to remain silent, it continues.
Our politicians choose to give us messages that are simply meant to put them into office. They dwell on telling us what we want to hear rather than what we need or will implement. Regimes have come and gone with little fulfillment of their promises. It is the poor Malawian who suffers in the end, going without basic needs simply because we have let them off the hook by not holding them accountable. If they keep silent about the social injustices and opt to castigate each other instead, that is a knee on voters’ necks.
Natasha further writes: “But you know what crushes me most of all?? It’s how the systems of power in this country are built so strong and with such prejudice, that in order for white supremacy to flourish — people don’t even have to actively be about white supremacy. They don’t have to carry the burden of being openly racist, or waste their energy on being loudly oppressive. It’s not like that at all.”
She sums it up well by condemning systems of power whose tendencies do not begin or end with the US, but worldwide, us include.