Black America and the Neverending Loop of Systemic Tragedy

With the death of Daunte Wright and the trial of Derek Chauvin, Black America is fighting with the past and present while bracing for future tragedies.

Black America and the Neverending Loop of Systemic Tragedy
Photo Credit: Leah Millis/Reuters

For three weeks, the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd has been taking place in a courtroom. Just ten miles away from that courtroom, 20-yr-old Daunte Wright was killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The reason was for expired tags, but when Wright called his mother, he stated that he was pulled over for “air fresheners hanging in the rear mirror.” Officers discovered that Wright had an outstanding warrant, but instead of an arrest to further clarify that, Wright is no longer amongst the living. His mother has to know that the last phone call her son made to her was one before he was killed violently. The saying is that parents should never have to bury their children. Unfortunately, Black parents around the country do not feel connected to that saying

Three months ago, many white Americans stormed The Capitol in Washington D.C. under the lie that the election had been stolen. Wrapped in that is a backlash that Black Americans exercised their right to vote in places like Georgia and Michigan and helped swing the tide to the Biden administration. Five people died on January 6th, including a Capitol Police Officer. Officers were being beaten and yet, the rioters were allowed to go home. Gleefully returning to their hotels fresh from vandalizing offices, stealing furniture, and make threats to Congressional representatives.

Look at that in the contrast to the response of protests. Tear gas. Riot Shields. Rubber bullets. Mass arrests. We do more to fortify a Walmart than the actual U.S. Capitol. To bring awareness to injustices, protests have been a weapon for Black Americans. The response to this is for police departments to use their military gear and treat them like insurgents in their own country. It’s a never-ending cycle of accidental shootings, death, and no accountability after.

Whether it be nine minutes of a knee on a neck or a split-second decision where an officer uses a gun and mistakes it for a taser. Black Americans have no room for error. We are not allowed the room to make mistakes and go home. Black Americans have to be outstanding citizens in a country that has built-in impediments to make them feel less than.

Collectively, we are tired of living in perpetual crisis mode. It’s not something that you can take a ‘mental health day’ from and clear yourself of. Living in a system that doesn’t value Black lives gives you a life of always looking over your shoulders. It robs Black Americans making for health issues amongst other things. To where, if we were given even a period of safety, I’m not sure what the response would be. In the back of our minds, we would know it would be provided with caveats.

When people see the mantles and posters of George Floyd’s face, they see a movement. A movement that they can come in and out of like a revolving door. When Black Americans see that, many thoughts are running through our collective heads:

“Am I next?”

“Who will be next?”

“Will he get justice?”

“How long will it be until we are marching for someone else?”

“It’s only a matter of time until Americans move on to something else.”

The Black American collective are coming up or passed on two unfortunate anniversaries. A year of a COVID-19 pandemic that has been disproportionately infecting and killing Black Americans. As the George Floyd trial goes on, not only is it hurtful to watch, we are preparing ourselves for justice not to be served. Lastly, we are preparing ourselves for more body camera footage of Black Americans either perishing or being humiliated. In Virginia, US Army 2nd Lieutenant Caron Nazario was both handcuffed and pepper-sprayed for wanting to stop in a well-lit area. This is a man who serves this country. As the eyes of the world focus on Daunte Wright, Black America has the sad realization that there will be more.