The death of George Floyd was unfortunately aided by a policeman's knee on his throat. His pleas "I can't breathe" typify a nation of unrest where too many feel like "we can't breathe." Some cite racism, which was obvious, in how Floyd, as well as many black men, are treated when already restrained by handcuffs or surrounding force.
The attitude of many, including President Donald Trump, leaves much to be desired; however, as young protesters confronted candidate Joe Biden about his previous support for policies which disproportionately imprisoned many young black males, they raised questions of why should he be believed as well.
Republicans continue to be tone deaf in assessing problems in communities of color, especially ignoring that protest is part of our national founding and genetics. People like to quote Martin Luther King as some badge of identification without appreciating that his greatness was contributed to by potential nemesis Malcolm X, who prompted him to action, or a Rosa Parks, who initiated the Montgomery bus boycotts when King refused to lead.
Looting and violence as an expression of protest does not honor George Floyd, but neither does doing nothing. We too often harm our own communities in doing such. Whitney Young showed a way which will work when he stated, what good does it do to be able to sit at the lunch counter when you can't afford the price of the food? Neglected in our rebellion has been a vision of how to obtain economic parity. James Brown use to sing, "I don't want nobody to give me nothing, just open the door and I'll get it myself." The Civil Rights Movement of the '60s happened making an impact not by singing "We shall overcome" but by hitting segregation through boycotts targeted at the pocketbook of such places of businesses.
Republicans continue pushing an opportunity society without sufficient safeguards to ensure that all have an equal opportunity to participate. Such will not happen as long as education isn't valued and the numbers who can't read or effectively write or do basic math lingers particularly among children of color. The Department of Education continues in its ignorance of reality in not forcing institutions to release their data on admissions and graduation for people of color. Such also needs to be done for the coronavirus.
What is being done to demonstrate a plan to close the digital divide for all kids lest children who are poor find themselves further left out and behind? Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest of North Carolina often talks about "Disruptive Technology's" potential. I challenged my prestigious alma mater, Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health which pushes all types of "progressive agendas" to disclose how many people of color it has graduated who can help in this fight. My medical school has approximately the same number of blacks that were there 50 years ago when I was a student.
Apple's CEO Tim Cooke rendered all types of lofty words on Floyd's death while laying off 17,000 employees and developing new technologies which price out the poor and limit their ability to compete in this distancing society. Why not some free iPads for schools or drop the price of phones with accessories which stabilize for 10 years not every 18 months? Where is the citizen advisory police board oversight plus universal standards for police policies and conduct by which their performance is to be judged?
It is projected that approximately 50% of black small businesses will close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Obama administration closed the Regional Offices of the Small Business Administration which is very much needed in these times. There need to be incentives for businesses to thrive, but consumers must have the money to buy their essentials. Quit the focus on big business and support the small which had created over 50% of the jobs in this country. The stimulus was the beginning of the ballgame, but government cannot continue it and all of the giveaways while still operating. Blanket liability for companies taking risk is wrong, for such is not given to those who serve on our front lines. After knowledge of the "Tuskegee Experiment" many people of color still remain skeptical of white established medicine. Where are our black doctors or will we be relegated to "assistants"?
Most importantly, we must view ourselves differently and act accordingly. The continued use of the "N" word by us to us must stop. Our support for artists who constantly give us more of the same is also tragic. The allowance of white performers to further degrade us should never be tolerated. We must tell our own stories and pick heroes typical of our promise, such as Percy Julian who invented steroids or Garrett Morgan whose gas mask led to the protection of firefighters, as well as others in the fight for mankind.
We must embrace the UNCF slogan that "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste." Therefore, we need to get educated and fight back. We must insist more than February must convey Black History, appreciating that it did not start in slavery. When these things truly begin, we can "Say It Loud, We're Black and We're Proud" for the goal is not to be loved but to be included, appreciated and respected.
Ada M. Fisher, MD, MPH is a former Medical Director in a Fortune 500 company, licensed teacher, retired physician, former county school board member, speaker, author of Common Sense Conservative Prescriptions Good for What Ails Us Book 1 (available through Amazon. Com) and is the NC Republican National Committeewoman. Read Dr. Ada M. Fisher's Reports — More Here.
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