On May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, United States, a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on George Floyd’s neck for about 8 minutes while trying to arrest him, killing him in the process. When the video of the incident went viral, protests began in the city, and later spread to other cities of America. Soon, the protests gave way to riots, lootings, and burnings.

Cases of white-on-black killings by police and other white persons have always been well documented and reported by the mainstream media. People, especially from the black community, have come up with police racism.

In 1992, it was the Rodney King court case, in which white policemen were acquitted of using excessive force in arresting a black man that triggered the Los Angeles violence. Close to 60 people died in the violence. Property damaged was estimated at $1billion. In 2012, a neighborhood watch volunteer killed a 17-year-old black boy, Trayvon Martin, and was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges. Protests were held across the nation. Accusations of widespread racial profiling flew.

In the summer of 2014, a white police officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Violent protests started immediately before the case could be heard in court. Then, they intensified after the policeman was acquitted. Freddie Gray, a young black man died in police custody in Baltimore in April 2014, and protests against the police began once again. These soon erupted in violent riots.

So, there is the pattern: A white-on-black killing, and, then, protests, violence, lootings, and burnings. Wait until the unfortunate situation happens again, then repeat the cycle. Many goods were stolen during these protests and many jobs lost because of rioting. These are just examples of the destructive potential of race riots and burnings.

Race is a highly charged subject in the United States and many other nations. Past wrongs and present inequalities create fertile ground for hatred, frustration, and anger. Race is becoming a deadly weapon, which politicians are using for their own political gain. Violence and protests are seen as a kind of righteous search for long-denied justice. Nothing inflames anger like perceived or real injustice. It is mind-chilling that people think that these measures will solve anything. These kinds of “solutions” really encourage more unbridled emotion, angry protestation, lootings, and violence. Each time a high-profile case, like the George Floyd case, hits the news, public anger boils to the surface faster and more aggressively than the time before. There is a rising sense among a growing portion of the population that the inequalities and injustices in society must be met with violence.

Racial tension is ingrained in American history, and it is part of a bigger unresolved problem that is getting very ugly every day. But the problem must be solved, and it is becoming crystal clear that protests, violence, and burnings are not the solution. Americans need to retrace their steps and ask themselves very important questions.

Certainly, there is no excuse for police brutality. Surely, white-on-black, black-on-white, black-on-black, and white-on-white killings are completely senseless and evil. Anyone who perpetrates these acts should be punished and made to face the full wrath of the law. In solving race hatred, American people are resorting to violence and riots, sowing more seeds of bitter division and lawlessness. How long would it take for them to realize that protests, riots, and killings will not solve race-related problems that are staring them in their faces? In fact, measures taken so far would only aggravate racial strife. This is the truth that no one wants to admit and face.

Do people in the mainstream media, academia, and politics not perceive that the “solution” of violence and hate isn’t solving anything? Will these people who ceaselessly fan the embers of racism take responsibility for stirring up the hate-filled, race-based division playing out in America’s streets? Will they see that romanticizing lawlessness and encouraging retributive racial “justice” only makes the problem worse?

There is no question that America committed a great sin against the black race by breaking up African families and forcefully engaged them during the period of slavery. But, at least, America also abolished slavery and has shown some repentance. Booker T. Washington, who was born a slave, later became one of the most prominent black educators of his day. He said at the beginning of the 20th century, “Think about it: We went into slavery as pagans; we came out as Christians. We went into slavery as pieces of property; we came out as American citizens. We went into slavery with chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with American ballot in our hands…….Notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, we are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe.”

Apart from the white-on-black killings, there are many attacks on blacks in America mostly by people from the black community. The stats are inconvenient but they are true: 93% of black murder victims in America are killed by blacks. The epidemic is truly a black-on-black crime. The greatest danger to the lives of young black men are young black men. This is not only true for blacks in America. Many European Americans die in the hands of European Americans. Latino Americans kill mostly Latino Americans. According to the FBI, in 2018: 80.7% of European Americans, who died of violent crime, were killed by fellow European Americans. In the same year, 88.8% of blacks, who died of violent crime, died in the hands of blacks. These violence exist but often we don’t hear about them, but they exist. This is in no way justifying these killings but to bring to light the truth that people generally kill their kinds. Violent crime is mostly intra-racial and intra-community.

If Americans make real efforts in solving inhumanity and injustice in their society, then most of the problems of racism and racial tension would have been solved.

Protests after protests have shown us that we are traveling along a road called hate, a journey that will bring us to destruction and damnation. And as Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. said, the culture of an eye for an eye will leave us all blind. Though tough at times, we must develop and maintain the capacity for forgiveness.

There is some racism in both blacks and whites. When we realize that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us, we are less prone to hate people of other races. This does not mean abandoning efforts at bringing justice in the society. We must with all of our energy continue to rid our society of racism. We must find an enduring and better solution because the so-called practical way of violent protests and racial tension has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. We must find another way of love.

The revolution should really begin in our minds and, if you like, our spirits. We must find another path to curbing racism and learn to live together as brothers and sisters. Love and compassion will help in our pursuit of justice.

Author's Bio: 

Gbadamosi Adedayo is a chemist cum writer who likes to express his thoughts on what is going on in the world. In his free time, he likes to watch football and try his hands on coding.