By Professor Cecil Blake
Covid-19 has taken the lives of descendants of Africa in Diaspora in terribly disproportionate numbers since it was declared a pandemic. This piece, however, is not so much on that reality but on the insidious BLACK GENOCIDE going on in American streets and even homes, over the past several years at a pandemic level. It is the pandemic character of BLACK GENOCIDE that makes it a “pandemic companion” to COVID-19.
The reality and effects of pandemics create the nexus that binds this truly ugly and devastating companionship. POLICE BRUTALITY is just one weapon in the prosecution of the genocide. It is this weapon that triggered the writing of this piece.
Like coronaviruses that come in phases, albeit seasons for some, we suddenly find ourselves in yet another season/phase of the Black Genocide pandemic, aptly referred to as the “American Spring”. New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo brilliantly read his “chapter” on systematic Black abuses and murder in the hands of the American police force and others in “modern” times, punctuating the “modern times” from the death of Rodney King in 1991 to the present. He identified by name those that have fallen victim to the fatal American institutional racism, with police brutality partly as an instrument of elimination.
The latest victim is George Floyd, brutaly murdered by the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota by replication of the murder of Eric Garner of New York, New York. Both victims cried out loud that they could “not breathe” because of the stranglehold on them. Breona Taylor was murdered in her bedroom in Texas. The list is long and painful.
Unlike the Coronaviruses, however, for which vaccines and medications can be created to handle them, Black Genocide has no such MEDICAL research to fight it. Black Genocide rests its hope for amelioration on the country to enforce its laws, “judicial decrees” and even constitutional amendments as remedies. But even with all of that, institutional racism has developed an immunity to such interventions. The leaders talk about the need for “conversations”. Conversations about a moral problem that has been going on for centuries? The futility of such conversations on a problem grounded in national “immorality” on race issues continue to be the norm
The late Rev. Martin Luther King explains how difficult the remedy is for this tragic malaise. He problematised what I refer to as Black Genocide, and other forms of Black oppression as a MORAL issue. He lamented the problematique by saying: “Morality cannot be legislated, but behaviour can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart but they can restrain the heartless”. He has been proven right over the decades since his pronouncement except for the fact that the “heartless” in the American police force, and others have not been contained or significantly restrained
For a country that warranted among others, its revolution of 1776 on the evil of British immorality against the backdrop of the adminstration of colonial America, its engrained immorality in its institutions and subsequently its majority population (at least for now) is not defendable. Not all members of the present White majority are “immoral” when it comes to chronic racism personally and institutionally. However, many have participated actively in Black Genocide in various forms and practices. Some may even argue that they are not aware or conscious about their racist orientation because racism is so deeply entrenched in American society that it permeates white psyche and mentality by osmosis.
I will close with an observation by the Governor of New York who, to my mind, made a neat connection between institutional racism and the disproportionate number of deaths of African Americans from Covid-19. So the idea of Covid-19 as a companion to insidious Black Genocide could be analysed particularly along those lines, as well as others that have been identified and discussed by great Americans like Martin Luther King. I hesitate to say the “conversation” continues, because it is moreso the achievement and mafestation of “CONSCIOUSNESS” as catalyst, to ameliorate an immoral racist society that is the imperative.