George Floyd and Kenny
A reflection of what has been done to help the community
As I reflect on the events over the past ten days here in Minneapolis and throughout the country, I’m reminded just how fragile life can be. While I didn’t know George Floyd personally, our paths did cross a few times in a downtown restaurant and at the barbershop, ironically, only about five blocks from where he took his last breath.Watching George Floyd take his last breath was gut-wrenching for me and I’m sure for you as well. For officers of the law to have such blatant disregard for human life is unconscionable. Thank goodness the majority of law enforcement officers work hard to protect and serve, upholding the law for me and you. I know, I’ve worked with both the Minneapolis & St. Paul Police Departments (four years) in various programs, to help steer “at-risk youth” in the right direction. As of now, thanks to the loud voices of the peaceful protesters, the swift action of MN Attorney General Keith Ellison, and capturing the incident live on camera by a brave young lady; all four former officers are now charged in the death of George Floyd. So now, the process begins toward conviction and incarceration. I would be remised if I didn’t say “thank you” to my family, friends, and others here in the US and from around the world, that expressed concern for mines and the safety of others that find themselves in harm’s way. I really appreciate your concern & thoughtful sentiments.Today, as the Floyd family memorialize George in a private ceremony here in Minneapolis, let’s not only remember them in our thoughts and prayers but let us do our part to further promote peace and work to assure that justice is truly blind for all.
A few simple thoughts
on the memorial and the need to see a direct change that can be lasting.
I call what happens in police forces as a white superiority paradigm. That embodies a way of life, built on a tenant that if its not happening here, its probably not happening. It’s not actually ignorance, but can be viewed as such. It is more a lazy denial of how an entire people are being treated, to keep another people’s perception of control intact. It is a paradigm.
Embedded racism, systemic racism, institutional racism, structural racism, all are correct, but none of them capture the true way of life racism that permeates our society.
America is uncomfortable not just with what happened to George, or Breonna, or Amaud, and so many others, but with their own feelings about it. Many people are painfully, silently aware of the deep segregation that exist in our national society.
The bathrooms are no longer labeled, or the water fountains, but people know which bathrooms are for them, and which aren’t in many parts of the country. What restaurant black people go to, and which white people go to. No one will tell you to leave if you go to the wrong one, but service could be different, patrons stare, kids point, its all there for anyone to see.
The segregation is so much worse because it is unspoken, accepted, even when so many find it uncomfortable.
One of the many ways that society remains silently divided is in the resporting of Black death at the hands of the police. It is not just that Chauvin or Rolfe felt it was perfectly okay to casually kill another human being calluselly and blame the victim for that manner of death.
They have a whole system in place to protect them from what justice could find them, if it was reported accurately. The accepted way of reporting these instances of Black death are twisted, and misrepresented, lied about officially. There is one way to file a report on a death, and an entirely different way to file for the killing of anyone who is Black.
The patrol officers involved all know what they are each doing, the superior officers know to, and try to ‘protect’ the patrol officers. The unions play a big role in getting those officers returned to duty, because of clauses in their contracts that allow for immunity from any type of accountability.
There is a reason so many preceive a militaristic form to policing, is because that form exists. There is a whole segment of the populatrion who live in military readiness, without any reason. They glorify the police and offer their support for any and all killing that the police are involved in.
The idea that we must make war on the ‘criminals’ all around us, if just a level of fear that can not be supported anymore. Our children live within a sphere of this war-making perception, that has been ingrained in all of us, from the time we were children.
That perception focuses on white heroes, for the most part. But in our business world, they are white heroes, and in our institutions it is white heroes. There is some call for change of that, but the system is a paradigm, and will not change without a new paradigm.
Th white superiority paradigm exists because people find it reasonable. It is reasonable to make an agency to fight racism, it is reasonable restructure a police force, but those reasonable changes will be met with harsh resistence, when everyone goes home.
You don’t hear about the legal battles, the laws that are focused on white superiority, making change impossible, but often touted as something important. It’s just words, just talk, and unless those millions with voices against ineffective change speak up, those in the fight, who want immediate change, for the issues will again make change that can’t be maintained.