A lot has already been written and said about the killing of George Floyd, the protests, police violence, Black Lives Matter, and Donald Trump. There is no need for us to go over the details – you can see those elsewhere.
However, like so many people around the world, we have been paying close attention to what has been unfolding. We have staff across the globe, of different races and cultures, but we are united in our abhorrence at the killing of George Floyd and disdain at how the authorities (including the President) have managed the situation.
So, here are a few thoughts for you to consider…
Police brutality against African Americans has been going on for decades. You have seen the lists of names of those who have been killed by the police. You have heard time and time again of police getting away with murder. It is hard to believe in justice when those who are supposed to uphold it are not held to the rule of law. This needs to stop. Police need to be held accountable for their actions and the protection they have been afforded by their colleagues and others in positions of power needs to end. The police also need to clean themselves up in order to stand a chance of gaining trust in the communities they are supposed to ‘protect and serve.’ For too long, some departments have seemed to have a gang mentality; us against them. The police are supposed to serve their communities. Not terrorize them. There is clearly a training and recruitment issue to address in the police.
While all of this is true, we do need to note that not all police are bad. You have probably seen images of police officers joining with protesters, taking the knee, and showing that they too have had enough.
‘All Lives Matter?’
To say ‘All Lives Matter’ is to completely miss the point. If all lives truly matter, you can’t allow one group in society to be systematically targeted, beaten, and murdered. To allow that is to say that ‘all lives matter – apart from black lives.’ All lives include black lives.
But even this is not quite the full argument. African Americans have been subjected to racially-motivated abuse for decades.
To put it another way, saying ‘all lives matter’ is like a fire department saying ‘all buildings matter’ and then ignoring the ones that are actually on fire.
Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean others don’t matter, it says black lives matter too.
President Trump has not dealt with this situation at all well. Hiding away under the White House with the lights off is not very presidential. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. President Trump has done lilittle to alleviate the problem and bring people together as the protests have built. His tweets have been inflammatory, and his rhetoric has, as is often the case, exacerbated the situation.
In fact, it could be argued that, since he was elected, Trump has increased racial division and emboldened the far right in America. How many far-right people have been pictured wearing the ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball cap?
Once again, President Trump has shown that Barack Obama is still more of a president than he will ever be. President Trump’s gas-lighting tactics are wearing thin, and he is being shown as being ineffective as a world leader – again.
This is not just a situation for the USA now, either. The protests that began in Minneapolis spread across the United States and then overseas to Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, and more.
The eyes of the world are in the USA right now, and the movement has spread around the globe and sparked discussions and demonstrations internationally.
Addressing Racism in Society
While the protests and demonstrations began because of the death of George Floyd, they have taken on a larger feeling. No longer only about systemic racism and abuse by the police, there are now questions being asked about racism in society in general.
We cannot have a truly free society if racial prejudice continues to go unchecked. This means work is needed by everyone to help educate people and stamp out prejudice. It is not just a problem for African Americans to address but it is a problem for all of society to address. Indeed, it could be argued that the real change needs to happen among white people.
Time for Change – this Time!
Enough is enough – and we’ve had more than enough. This problem is not a new situation, but hopefully, this time change will happen for real. These days technology has allowed abuses that would have previously gone unreported to be recorded and spread around the world. No longer do people have to go unheard. We all have cameras and recording devices in our pockets and social media can help spread our voices far and wide.
Hopefully this time there will be a genuine change in society for the better.