Tobias Harris kept it real.
On Wednesday, the 76ers forward wrote an essay for The Players’ Tribune titled “Y’all Hear Us, But You Ain’t Listening.”
He wrote from the heart and didn’t sugarcoat anything when talking about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, his attendance at Saturday’s peaceful protest organized by the Philadelphia chapter of Black Lives Matter, and racial injustice.
“Keep it real,” he wrote. “Admit something’s wrong in this country, admit that this is about race, and let’s build a way forward.”
The article came five days after fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, was unarmed and handcuffed and told Chauvin he couldn’t breathe.
The incident occurred after a white father and son were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault May 7 in the Feb. 23 shooting of a black man on a residential Georgia street. The arrests of Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, came after a national outcry. Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed in Brunswick, Ga., while jogging. William Bryan Jr., a motorist who filmed the shooting, was charged with felony murder May 21. Gregory McMichael told police Bryan had tried to help them stop Arbery.
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On March 13, Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was shot at least eight times after three police officers entered her apartment in Louisville, Ky. Taylor’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.
The protests in cities across the country over the last week have been in response to not only the two recent police killings of black Americans but the 13 total since 2014.
“We been in the streets protesting for years about police brutality,” Harris wrote. "But it’s like, Y’all hear us, but you ain’t listening. That’s what’s the most upsetting thing for me. And I know it is for others too, around the world.
“It seems like nothing is really working to get our voices heard. We have normalized this to the point where it’s common to see videos of people on social media being bashed by officers.”
And that doesn’t include the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Martin, a black teenager, was fatally shot in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, thought the young man in “a dark hoodie, a gray hoodie” was a “suspicious guy.” That’s what he told the 911 dispatcher before shooting and killing the 17-year-old. Zimmerman, who said he was acting in self-defense, was acquitted of all charges.
“Saturday in Philly, it was about togetherness of people pushing out a message,” Harris wrote of the Black Lives Matter protest. “And that message was really about respect. It was about people respecting others, and understanding their hurt and pain.”
His article came one day after Harris called for the resignation of Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, who referred to Black Lives Matter as a hate group in a statement Monday.