Black history is unique & it can’t be hijacked

Stop co-opting the Black experience for political gain. In the days after George Floyd was brutally murdered by Minneapolis police officers several groups have tried to dominate the conversation that grew about race, justice, and police brutality. We have witnessed groups on the left and right try to hijack a movement against police violence against Black people—rumors of some planting bricks where demonstration marches were scheduled to occur and others showing up at protests armed and ready to incite violence between law enforcement and protestors. We’ve seen businesses looted and burned down. Graffiti has been sprayed on houses of worship, namely on synagogues, and places of business. All of this distracts from the very real cause of brutality by an agency of the government on citizens who pay taxes for said agency. There are many who are speaking out against this hijacking, attempting to put a stop to those who seek to dilute the issue of state sponsored brutality against Black people. I have three major issues with people who are trying to use the murder of a Black man, George Floyd, for their political narrative.

First, it ignores, minimizes, and erases the historical violence faced by Black people at the hands police/law enforcement. Ever since Black Africans were brought to the shores of America in bondage they have faced brutality from those who claimed to be enforcing the law. Some violence was perpetrated by those who were enforcing slave codes, by slave catchers, and later by White supremacists who infiltrated law enforcement agencies. All of this occurred before and after 1948. The idea that White police officers had to “learn” racism and brutality from Israel is not only nonsensical, it is insulting to my ancestors who have faced brutality since they were captured, and bought and sold in race-based chattel slavery. The idea that police training with their Israeli counterparts led to the death of George Floyd or other Black people minimizes and erases violence Black people have been subjected to since they were captured, placed in bondage, and used as chattel slave labor in order to encourage a false narrative that Israel is to blame for the plight Black Americans face. This uses, in the most disgusting manner, the Black American experience as a political prop to advance an antisemitic antizionist narrative. Those that push this lie co-opt the Black American experience, trying to create false intersectionality, even when it ignores the uniqueness of the Black American experience that is rooted in chattel, race-based slavery.

Second, it singles out Israel, ignoring the fact that US law enforcement officers participate in training with multiple international partners. Once again, this applies a double standard on, demonizes, and seeks to delegitimize Israel. >Now, this is nothing new. There are people who will use anything and everything they can to portray Israel as the root cause for all evil in the world. I am not optimistic enough to believe that my words will change their minds. However, I will not remain silent while the persecution Black people face, historically and currently, is used as a prop.

Lastly, this trope uses a very well known fascist tactic, used by nazis, to divide and conquer to cause division between the Black and Jewish communities. Law enforcement officers in the US do not need to learn racist policies from foreign police agencies—they have a solid history of enacting bigoted violence against communities of color, passed down generationally since Black people were first brought to these shores.

For those who try to make the struggle of Black people, the deaths of George Floyd and others —those who choose to ignore the brutality that my ancestors and my contemporaries face— I say STOP. Our struggle is not yours. You disrespect our history, heritage, and future every time you use our people as a prop. You dehumanize the unique experience of Black American people… and we see you.

About the Author
Brandy Shufutinsky is a social worker, with a MSW from the University of Southern California and a MA in International Relations from the University of San Diego. She hopes to utilize her advocacy in social justice on a global level, working towards making education more accessible to immigrant populations. She has previously been published in The Forward. Brandy is working on a doctoral degree at the University of San Francisco in International Multicultural Education.
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