In the protests over the state-mandated lockdowns a week earlier, the protesters were shouting, “My rights! My rights!” Pretending they were innocent victims, they were asking us to consider, “What are my rights?”
The correct response at the time was, “If you want rights enforced, then what are your responsibilities in return.” President Kennedy had something to say on the subject.
Then came the murder of George Floyd. All the arguments over rights and responsibilities were put under a glaring focus that played across our screens. In this light, the arguments over rights are selfish and shallow, coming from a place of no fear while parading around government buildings fully armed. Few if any were arrested.
“Where are my rights?” The African American community is asking a more fundamental question. It is the same question they have asked since they arrived here on slave ships: “Where are my rights?”
Where are they, indeed. As the protests across the nation demonstrate, the rights of Black men and Black women are lacking in most every metropolitan city from coast to coast, and in the rural outposts in between. I am surprised that I have not seen a protest sign saying, “Do I even have rights?”
“Do citizens have rights in the United States of America?” On paper, you do; however, in the streets, it may depend on the color of your skin.