And now Jacob Blake.
A new name. A familiar narrative.
There’s outrage in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and throughout the country tonight after yet another black man, Jacob Blake, was shot multiple times by white police.
The anger boils down to one question: How do you justify police shooting an unarmed black man in the back perhaps as many as seven times?
And then there’s the tired reply: If he’d done what the police had told him to do, none of this would have happened.
This is a story repeated almost every single day in the U.S.; the only items that change are the city in which the shooting happened, the name of the black man and how many times he was shot.
If he’s lucky, as Jacob Blake is right now, he survives. (Blake might die from his injuries; as of this writing, he remains alive.)
Left unstated in every story is the depravity is allowed to continue because black men are seen as disposable throughout the country. One more black man is shot (and almost certainly dies), and the majority of Americans shrug.
Not my shooting.
Not my black man.
Not my problem.
Tell me that I’m wrong.
In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, almost three months to the day before Blake was shot, nationwide protests, some of which spun horribly out of control, drew the attention of politicians, public figures and private citizens.
The media spotlight soon turned in other directions (presidential race, coronavirus, economics, kids returning to school, etc). But the hard work of real reform continued.
Perhaps the protests in Wisconsin will be contained to that state, or perhaps they’ll spread in the coming days. It won’t really matter; protests can last days or weeks, but change takes years.
In the meantime, more black men will die. And Americans will continue to shrug.
No country that treats its people like that can be an example to the world.