Tyre Nichols is yet another martyr like Rodney King, George Floyd and countless others
One of the beauties of the English language is its flexibility, its ability to come up with new words and, brazenly, borrow some from other languages when needed. Well, English has now more than met its match with the brutal death of Tyre Nichols. There simply are no words that can any longer adequately describe the depths to which American policing has now plumbed. Policing is italicized specifically because it is anything but that. The paramilitary death squads that roam our streets, masquerading as law enforcement, are to be feared, and not the supposed perpetual “Black crime wave” that keeps on getting unwarranted attention like the very worst racist, violent drunk at the end of the bar.
Here’s the reality – the police are at war with the very people they are supposed to “serve and protect”. And that war rages ever harder still against Black Americans in particular. Tyre is yet another martyr like Rodney King, George Floyd and countless others. Forget that the five officers who killed Tyre are Black. They are still brutalized agents of a rabid policing system that doesn’t just need restructuring, re-funding or re-training. It needs to be abolished in its current form and then to start all over again with something that simply doesn’t summarily execute its fellow citizens in the streets.
Unless we fight back against this new low of police brutality like we have never fought before, then the omens are not good. No other Western country has anything like this. The closest one can think of is apartheid South Africa. But that’s apartheid South Africa that was shunned by the rest of the actual genuine Western world. Violence is firmly stitched into the fabric of American life, culture, politics and society. While a constitutional amendment ensures that the country remains awash with firearms (again, no other Western country has anything like that), the authority and apparatus of the state is blindly venerated by a sizeable minority of Americans. “Stand your ground” has a macabre echo from the likes of the last stand at the Alamo, while a gun is fun and might is right. Rambo, High Noon, a good guy with a gun, my cold dead hand, heritage not history and so on. Consequently, the police and the military are held aloft like guardian angels, who then swoop down like unformed demons to snuff out Black life on a whim.
So, ask yourself this. If Tyre had been a White man, do you really think that the same five cops would have meted out the same fatal punishment? Because if you do, we have a London Bridge to sell you. Irrespective of the color of the murderers, they inevitably sport a badge and a gun. And a taser. And a baton. And punches. And kicks. And chokeholds. And any number of other ways to dish out sadism in the name of policing. Rudyard Kipling spoke of the “White Man’s Burden” in an effort to be an apologist for nineteenth century Western imperialism. Now we have the “Black Man’s Burden” which is the diametric opposite of that because it is absolutely true. White folk don’t have to worry about being killed if they get pulled over for a speeding ticket. White folk don’t have to worry about being physically assaulted because they went out to the store. Or for a jog. Or stayed in for the night. Or for anything else come to that.
Enough is enough already. This latest outrage simply underscores how worthless our two-party system really is. Because this continues to go on, whether Tweedledum or Tweedledee is in power, Black blood is being shed regardless. We’ve cried out many times before about our movement. This time we are crying out louder than ever. We need you to join us, to stop this madness. We need your passion, belief, vision and commitment. The Democrats and Republicans offer you nothing more than more of the same. They are so indifferent to the real problems of the US, that they actually couldn’t give a damn if you joined them or not. Not so us – we both want you and need you.
Tyre Nichols will go down as yet another Black name that died needlessly and viciously at the hands of police thugs. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and their community. We promise you, we will forever hold his name high and know that all new members to our cause will do exactly the same. You want that fight for us not to be murdered in the streets? Trust us, you’re going to get it.