George Floyd: What is My Part?

I cannot get the thought out of my mind. The image of a white police officers’ knee on the neck of a Black man as he cried “please sir I can’t breathe,” it was an apt metaphor for the plight of the African American Community in America today. This is two weeks after a video surfaced of another Black man running through a tree lined neighborhood while a white ex-policeman in a pickup truck chased him down and shot him dead. In another American city, again within weeks, a Black woman in her own apartment was shot and killed by police who were serving a search warrant. There are conflicting accounts of this incident, there were no body-cams. All men are not created equal nor do they enjoy equal protection under the law, not in America anyway. Ask George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery or any of the others. Where was their equality?

As a white man in a white community it is easy to look, shake my head in disgust, even go to a rally, then continue in my white bred world.  If there is ever to be justice, there must first be a reckoning. I need to look at my own actions and more importantly my inactions and determine where I as a white American added weight to that police officers’ knee. How am I complicit?

I am complicit when I hear someone use a slur and let it stand.

I am complicit when giving advantage to someone simply because they look more like me.

I am complicit when I laugh at a racially charged joke.

I am complicit when I fear you only because you look different.

I am complicit when I look down upon anyone, even if it is only in my mind.

I am complicit when I allow mob mentality to trump decency.

I am complicit when I simply say “hey, not my problem.”

I am complicit when I judge anyone because of how they look.

I am complicit when I let any of this crap stand.

It will only be when we as individuals do our part to cure the symptoms, will  society have any chance of recovering from the disease of racism.

As I write this the man who killed George Floyd has just been arrested. I am curious as to nature of his apprehension? Did a squad burst in ala Breonna Taylor or was he afforded professional courtesies? His three accomplices as of this moment remain free.  The four former officers, it seems, are being accommodated an abundance of process. George was not even grated the accommodation of breath. The inequity is astounding.

Public officials are pleading for peaceful demonstration as they claim to understand the frustration. HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND THE FRUSTRATION? We have not lived in the oppression for a second!

In 2017 Vice President Pence walked out of an NFL game in an orchestrated stunt when African American players took a knee in protest during our anthem. Mr. Vice President where is your outrage and demonstration over Former Officer Chauvin’s knee?

When I began this blog last month my intention was to talk to folks around my age about retirement issues, to stay clear of political and divisive social issues. As I began to write this week I was continually drawn back to this story. I was trying to turn away; I was trying to be complicit. As much as I tried; my better angels would not allow it, not this time. I understand my platform is small and insignificant, my words will only reach a few, however It is not insignificant within my conscience. I could not let it stand.

10 Comments

  1. And the answer, Gene, from the man in the highest office of our country, who said “ I alone will fix everything” said.. if they loot we shoot”..No empathy, no guidance, no peace.

    Is there a way out of this nightmare?☹️

    Diane Marconi

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    1. Hi Dianne, Thanks for reading and your reply. The only way out is November 3rd. I hope you and your family are well. We hope to see you guys soon. Chris sends her love. Gene

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  2. Hi Gene. I share your sentiments. It feels like the 1960s all over again and I ask myself how can I make change. Your checklist is a good start/reminder of what we need to practice every day. November 3 rd can’t come fast enough.

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    1. Diane, Thanks, this one hit me really hard. Just seeing that man struggling for breath and crying for mercy. God help us that Nov 3 we get it right. Be well

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  3. Gene, our thoughtful, heartfelt, ongoing response to continued racist violence is so important now.
    Thanks for clearing the deck to reflect on the hard times we are facing together.

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  4. When I accepted your Facebook friend request I had no idea that twelve hours later I would see this thoughtful and soul comforting piece. Easily the most meaningful thing I’ve seen on Facebook in a long time. It reminds me that I am complicit when I read posts by Facebook “friends” that are laced with racism— some blatant, others subtle. To often, I see memes and videos that are hate filled and hurtful and let them stand without comment. Thank you for taking a stand!!

    Like

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