On the day of George Floyd’s memorial service I am acutely aware that Protest Justice has been noticeably absent from commenting on his murder by Minnesota police officers last week. This is not because I don’t care – far from it – this is the first time I have been able to sit, rationally, and write about it. WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY #blacklivesmatter – black lives have always mattered.
The anger and trauma I have felt is precisely what has translated onto the streets – thank goodness it has; the world has to change. An unarmed, handcuffed man, held face down on the floor, with another man kneeling on his back and neck, when he is clearly stating he can’t breath – for almost 9 minutes, is barbaric. How can you witness such brutality without feeling sickened; feeling outrage and anger? Those who are meant to “protect and serve” have been accused year on year, country on country of racism, the ‘bad apple’ cops not called out for fear of reprisal by their community or colleagues. But, when it’s there, in front of you it cannot be ignored, swept under that bulging carpet where so much wrongdoing has been swept before.
The term ‘white privilege’ was first popularised by sociologist Peggy McIntosh in 1988. It refers to the collection of benefits that white people receive in a racially structured society in where they are the ‘top of the racial hierarchy’. For example, young black men are 9 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police. There is, historically, less black inherited wealth than in the white community, with BAME communities often experiencing more social deprivation. One of the most powerful images I have seen is that of a line of white women, arms linked, standing between the police and the protesters of colour to form a human shield. Not only have these women recognised they are powerful, they are choosing to use that power and privilege.
If you are seeing things that shock you in the news reports, don’t think this just happen in the USA – it happens here in the UK. Police violence – at protest, in everyday life, wherever in society must not be allowed to continue. In this tumultuous world we all must use whatever power or privilege we may have to challenge everything that is corrupt.
#solidarity #justiceforgeorgefloyd #georgefloydmemorial #georgefloyd