A week ago in the United States, George Floyd was killed while in police custody. He was arrested due to apparently attempting to buy groceries with a fake $20 bill. I just literally saw a tweet which was a man who had had the same thing happen to him. He didn't get arrested or killed, he was white. For many days now there have been riots in cities across the United States, and protests have also since spread across the world. There is much frustration all around us now. Racism should not be allowed to continue.
Is rioting a good action to take? I did find myself asking this originally. Rioting leads to violence and destruction and division. But then I thought about the issue. These people are not rioting for fun, to cause chaos for its own sake or to get social media attention. They are frustrated. Frustrated at the African American community continually facing much greater levels of racism, of being victims of police violence and brutality and of feeling that their lives do not matter. Or we can picture it this way. If you hit someone but they don't respond, and you continue to hit them, eventually they will respond. They will grow tired of being hit and want this situation to change. The African American community has been abused for decades, well centuries. Now, we are seeing the power of people, the power of a people rising up against an oppression.
The scenes that we are seeing on the news and social media daily are horrific. I understand that the security forces want a restoration of "order," but we are seeing protestors being attacked by heavily armed police and national guardsmen. The military is now being brought in too. As I saw on Twitter, it seems that the US government is at war with its own people. This time, I really do hope there is change, and tangible change. Racism is taught and learned, not inherent in our minds at birth. There have been many signs of unity to come out of this, but we need more than unity in protest, we need unity in life.
Black Lives Do Matter. They are lives too. And yes, "all lives matter". They really do and I totally believe that. But to reply to Black Lives Matter with that, is to completely miss the point. These protestors are not stating that their lives mean something more. What they are saying is that their lives matter too!! On YouTube, I heard this notion explained brilliantly. Keegan-Michael used an analogy of a house being on fire. The fire service will come and put the fire out. While all houses do matter, the fire service isn't going to spray water on all the houses. The other houses are fine and dandy. The fire service sprays the one house because it is on FIRE. All lives are important, but right now, and for way too long before this, black lives are on fire.
Hopefully true racial equality will emerge from this. Not just in the United States, but all across the world because racism is another epidemic. It is a disease which impacts all societies and infects all of us. One day, and hopefully it is sooner rather than later, we will witness an equal world. I wish that George Floyd did not have to have died in the first place. But we should always remember him, and use this incident and all other like it, to press for a future where racism is only something we learn about in history, and not something that many people have to have as a part of their lives.
Black Lives Matter.
This link goes to the video where he explains this idea. Please watch!
This link leads to a video in which all revenue goes to various African American organisations!