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  • Ruth Hailu

A Message to President Trump: We Are Not Thugs

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

The sad truth is that our president has promoted racist ideals in this country. If you feel the need to argue about this, then you are a part of the problem. Even Trump supporters are aware of this. It is just that his racist ideals are not a deal breaker.

Our president’s response to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement is not surprising. I cannot even say that I am disappointed, because that would imply that I was hoping for an adequate response in the first place. Unfortunately, all of it was expected.

On May 1, President Trump tweeted, “The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.”

This tweet was addressed to the Americans who were ignoring stay-at-home orders during the global pandemic. They were blatantly risking the lives of the people they came into contact with, and for what? Because they felt “oppressed” over the fact they could not get a haircut? Or was it because of the “lies" perpetuated by the liberal media?

President Trump calls these Americans “good people.” His reasoning is that they “just want their lives back again.” How privileged do people have to be to compare stay-at-home orders to oppression? What about the oppression of black people in this country for the last 401 years through the middle passage, slavery, sharecropping, voter suppression, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and police brutality?

We protest the innocent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others. For years we have been peacefully trying to acquire justice for the many victims of police brutality. Meanwhile, black people are still being murdered in cold blood with no consequences to the perpetrator.

We riot in the streets because we have to live in fear of being murdered every second of every day. We are not safe in our own homes. We are not safe when we go outside for a run. We are not safe when we fall asleep in our cars or in our beds. President Trump says that we are “thugs for dishonoring George Floyd’s memory.” Meanwhile, he fails to address the police officers who escalated situations during many protests.

Such police officers ripped masks off to pepper spray protesters and forced batons into civilian hands to have reason to beat them senseless. The real “thugs” here are the police. Aren’t protesters people who “just want their lives back again?” Except when African Americans demand justice for victims of police brutality, they are thugs. Meanwhile, when white men and women protest a literal pandemic and orders to keep them safe, they are good people.

It is unbelievable. People argue that the recent Black Lives Matter protests are “unpatriotic.” You preach to us about the Boston Tea Party, a response to the oppression brought on by the British. You preach to us about the American Revolutionary War, years of fighting and bloodshed all done in the name of liberty. Nothing in this country came peacefully.

Justice for George Floyd. Justice for Breonna Taylor. Justice for Rayshard Brooks. Justice for Kendrick Johnson. Justice for Shukri Abdi. Justice for all the innocent people that were murdered with no consequences and no justice. Justice for the people whose murderers were not caught on video. No justice. No peace.

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