There is part of me that is shocked every time there is a new update about another riot breaking out somewhere in this country, and there is part of me that is completely numb to it. I don’t mean numb in a, “I don’t care,” way, but rather one that says, “It was only a matter of time until this happened.”
Anyone who is dumbfounded as to why these riots are happening — I’m looking at you, white people — has not been paying attention.
The peaceful way was attempted in every possible manner — praying, wearing t-shirts, kneeling — and it still was not good enough to evoke the change that was needed.
For all of the hate Colin Kaepernick received for choosing to kneel during the national anthem, people still cannot (or choose not) to see that the very issue he was peacefully protesting nearly four years ago is the very issue why riots and looting are now part of daily life in America.
George Floyd died and he did not have to, period.
Derek Chauvin is responsible for George Floyd’s death, period.
Those are indisputable facts.
It is not the first time a person of color has lost their life at the hands of a white police officer, and it will not be the last. There is a problem with police brutality against people of color in this country, and it is ignorant to believe otherwise.
Do white people die at the hands of cops of color? Yes, of course they do. But they are not being innocently killed for allegedly selling forged checks. They are not being killed for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. They are not being killed for sitting in their cars. They are not being killed, only for there to be no conviction against the officers who killed them.
Instead, people of color suffer these fates while seeing white people wield axes at police and orchestrate mass shootings, yet not be killed.
Not all police are bad. Hell, most police are not bad. Screw it, the overwhelming majority of police are not bad. I have friends and family who are in law enforcement, and I love them dearly. I know the line of work they are in is extremely dangerous and I appreciate their service. This is not about them. They are not the police officers that people are protesting against, and they should know that.
You can believe that cops like Derek Chauvin are a disgrace to the profession and should rot in prison for the rest of his life, and you can believe that most cops are respectful, upstanding citizens who will protect and serve the public as they swore the day they joined the force.
To quote my high school friend Anthony, “Prosecuting bad police and supporting good police do not have to be mutually exclusive.”
Over the past few days, I have voiced my frustration and outrage over Floyd’s death on social media and it has — as expected — been met with ire and pushback from my conservative contemporaries, including several family members.
I do not regret it. It needed to be said, and more white people need to speak up. Part of having white privilege is not having to face these issues everyday and having the option to sit out of the conversation.
We are privileged to not have to worry about what we wear. We are privileged to not have our hearts beat through our chests any time we are pulled over. We are privileged to not have frantic phone calls made to police against us for the color of our skin. We are privileged in ways we will never fully comprehend.
I have grown exhausted from seeing every kind of deflection or pivot on social media — particularly from white people — in response to Floyd’s death, and it’s been less than a week. An innocent human being lost his life and people are trying to justify or dismiss it.
I unfriended someone this morning because he shared a five-year-old article about how Jesse Jackson said Barack Obama “failed” black people. It is the kind of action that is intentionally done to fan the flames and ignore the real issues facing our society.
Another person mentioned how Irish people were met with, “No Irish Need Apply,” signs when looking for work in the 1800s.
The reality is that while the days of those signs and slavery are both long over, I do not know a single Irish person who faces any kind of discrimination today; yet people of color are still fighting the same goddamn battles Martin Luther King Jr. fought during the civil rights era. The two examples are not even in the same language, much less the same conversation.
I’m aware this post is going to upset a lot of people, and that is a reality I have to accept. Its intention is to provide some level of understanding, not to stir the pot. I am happy to continue having civil and respectful conversations with people whose views conflict with my own, but any personal attacks will be ignored and removed.
It is important for people of color to know they have white allies who hear them, hurt with them, fear for them, and will fight for them. If that loses me any followers or “friends” on social media, then so be it.