On this Resurrection Sunday, George Floyd sleeps.
His last gasps and unrequited pleas for mercy and for air to breathe cycle on repeat in HD as the world watches America on trial. America where justice flees from sea to shining sea — for people Black like me, who perish beneath the oppressor’s unrelenting knee.
America, where 400 years since Africans first arrived shackled upon her majestic emerald shores, the Negro still is not free. And I can’t breathe.
Even on Easter, I am tormented. I wrestle with my Christian faith that assures me I am free.
Except how can I feel free when I can’t breathe?
I am torn between love and hate. Engaged in a suffocating internal war to reconcile the dream that is America and that bitter nightmare that too often dictates the fate of Black lives in the America that once enslaved us, flayed us, raped us, and still slays us while cloaking herself in red, white and blue “democracy.”
Except beyond American mythology, there is still no justice — just us.
Amid my earnest reflection on the last words of Christ, I am haunted by George Floyd’s last gasps and pleas, which fell upon deaf ears as his Black body finally — after 9 minutes and 29 agonizing seconds — went silently limp, slipped into eternal sleep.
And I can’t breathe.
Even amid my clear vision this Easter Sunday of a bruised and battered Christ, hanging on a bloodied cross on Golgotha, I clearly see, staring back, both American and Christian hypocrisy.
I swim upstream in a toxic sea of lies that stands in juxtaposition to biblical and Constitutional ideals and truths, which hold that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Except for those with melanin and nappiness.
This is America’s original evil.
An America that sees more humanity in dogs and cats than in human souls with bodies Black and who languish in a nation that still stands, after centuries, starkly divided on the problem of the “color line.”
An America, where if a Black man kneels in silent protest against this nation’s insidious lie of “liberty and justice for all,” he is reviled and castrated. An America where justice still is not colorblind. And my Black skin is hated.
An America where Black folk cannot kneel in peaceful civil protest. But America can kneel on us.
Asphyxiate us. Torture us. Render us lifeless while glaring into a lens that allows the world to view its hateful unrepentant heart and soul that arrogantly defy the laws of God and humanity as she berates us with profanity.
An America that now seeks to erect barriers to vote. That defecates and urinates upon the U.S. Capitol with shouts of “stop the steal.” With vile threatenings to kill.
A “God-fearing” America that seeks to take us back to when Jim Crow was king and Black bodies dangled like Southern fruit from poplar trees. When lynchings after Sunday service delighted “good Christian” folk who posed for pictures as Black bodies swung in the Southern breeze, and it was as American as picnic baskets and sipping Southern sweet tea.
I can’t breathe…
As a Christian, I celebrate Easter as an heir and son, adopted into the Kingdom through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But as a Black man, I stand as an American outcast, a most hated bastard son of democracy, without the rights, freedom and justice guaranteed to those who are no more American than George Floyd and me.
In Christ, I know I’m free. But in America, I still can’t breathe.
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