'He angry at 46, I'm angry at 31, you angry at 16': video shows trauma of protests in the U.S.
TORONTO -- WARNING: This story contains links to a video with offensive language
A video showing an intense conversation between three generations of black men regarding the ongoing protests in the U.S. is making waves on social media and shedding light on the intergenerational trauma of police violence against black people.
Protests and riots have been spreading across the nation for days following widespread outrage over the death of a black man named George Floyd, who begged for air while a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes.
Videos shared on social media from the protests show buildings going up in flames, police using tear gas on protestors and journalists being arrested. But one video, originally posted to Facebook by a user named Christina Black, depicts the turmoil from another angle.
In the video, a 45-year-old black man in a white tank top tells a crowd that he is “tired of seeing this s***!”
A 31-year-old man, identified in a Twitter thread as Curtis Hayes, from Charlotte, N.C., says to him, “And you the older generation than me. And I am too!”
The older man says that they’ve been “standing around as the older ones, taking all this bulls***. […] Always standing around for a Kumbaya. Ain’t nobody coming to protect us. We gotta start our own f****** riots.
“It’s time to stand up,” he adds later in the video. “I’m ready to die for what’s going on!”
Hayes says he understands how the other man feels. But then he reaches into the crowd to pull a third person into the conversation: a teenager.
“He’s 16!” Hayes says. “He’s 16! […] This ain’t the way! ‘Cause they ready to let loose. It’s the United States. The president say: ‘if you loot, we shoot.’”
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he’d spoken to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and that the military “is with him all the way.
“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” the tweet finished. Twitter flagged the tweet as “glorifying violence,” but did not take it down.
In the video, Hayes speaks directly to the teenager, telling him, “What you see right now is going to happen 10 years from now, and at 26, you going to be doing the same thing I’m doing.
“So what I need y’all to do right now, at 16, is come up with a better way. Cause how we doing it, it ain’t working.”
He then gestures to the older man.
“He angry at 46, I’m angry at 31, you angry at 16. […] Putting yourself in harm’s way is not the way.”
He mentions that he has a five-year-old son, and doesn’t want him to have to go through this.
The video has been viewed more than 18 million times since it was shared to Twitter.
The conversation speaks to the ongoing crisis of police treatment of black people in the U.S., and the trauma of going through protest after protest with no real change.
During the protests over the past few days, some protestors have carried signs emblazoned with the names of black people whose death while in police custody have sparked mass protests in the past: Michael Brown, Philandro Castile, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and others.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while witnesses pleaded for him to stop, was arrested on Friday and is facing charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Some of Floyd’s last words were, “I can’t breathe,” the same words spoken by Eric Garner in 2014, who died after an officer used a chokehold on him while attempting to arrest him for selling cigarettes.