Relying heavily on Blackpast.org (Racial Violence in the U.S. Since 1660) and the Smithsonian Magazine (The Long, Painful History of Racial Unrest), my research revealed that from the 18th through the 20th Century, 69 major riots occurred. Fast forward to now, the 21st Century. The burning question for some (and obvious answer to others) is why?
The 1968 Kerner Commission Report offered what I believe is a reasonable explanation. President Lyndon B. Johnson convened this special task force, which earned its title because Illinois Governor Otto Kerner
led the investigation. Their assignment was to identify the root causes of these recycling riots and related events. The Commission identified 150 major/minor incidents of civil discord from 1965 to 1967. One of the glaring comments in the 426-page document, which became a best-selling book, stated, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one Black, one white —separate and unequal.” Sound familiar?
Fifty-two years later, not a lot has changed. Granted, some Blacks have squeezed through the net of oppression/suppression. But for the masses of people of color, much remains the same.
A final point to consider if you find the proposed cuts in the 2020 federal budget objectionable. Depending on the November election, services for health, housing, and even the SNAP anti-hunger assistance program for children, the disabled, low-income families, and seniors will be on the chopping board.
Likewise, the only way to reduce disparities — in education, the criminal justice system, voter suppression, and other forms of racial discrimination that ensure a proverbial ‘knee on our necks — is to VOTE for the candidate who best represents our values and beliefs.
Also, we cannot forget the devastation of COVID-19.