Yesterday was the homegoing service for George Floyd.
Been thinking a lot, as I watched the protests from across the world.
Why this incident?
I don’t really have an answer, except for that I don’t think it was Mr. Floyd’s murder alone. I think his was the culmination of a series of things that happened.
Not that Mr. Floyd’s murder couldn’t have been enough, by itself. I just don’t think that it was.
You know, Rosa Parks refused to get up on that bus. But, when you ask her why, she said that she remembered Emmett Till. Things link, even when you don’t think that they link.
For me, it’s all linked….COVID-19, Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
The global pandemic came to America. And, we watched in horror, as the numbers rose. Then, we began to get the numbers of who was dying…and, it was us. Because, of course, the group in the most vulnerable when it came to work. The most vulnerable when it came to access to healthcare. The more vulnerable when it came to pre-existing conditions. Of course, there would be a time when all of those things would add up, and the sum total is nothing good. So then, when it’s found out WHO is being killed by this virus…suddenly, here comes the ‘ Open the Economy Up’ movement. That bullshyt, astroturf ‘ movement’ paid for by the likes of Betsy DeVos and crew. That ‘ movement’ was informative, because, folks like me had always postured, ‘ well, what would happen if you had groups of folks coming out with their open carry weapons’.
Well, we saw what happened. It city upon city. Groups of phucking ARMED folks, taking over state capitol buildings, and yet…nothing happened to them. They were armed, with weapons of death, shouting and yelling at law enforcement…and yet…nothing happened to them….
I had heard about the Ahmaud Arbery case vaguely on Twitter. And, then, I REALLY began to hear about it. When I first heard about it, I thought it was shades of Trayvon Martin.
But, after the tape surfaced, it was so visceral. Mr. Arbery could have easily been in 1920 or 1820. He was hunted like a runaway slave and then lynched. He was out, minding his own business, but, he was guilty of EXISTING WHILE BLACK. That was his crime, and he was found guilty and executed. The visual of him running and being hunted……..that law enforcement didn’t see any charges that should have been brought…….Uh huh . Uh huh.
Then, there was Christian Cooper.
I have said it before, and I stand by what I say:
The pages of history of THIS COUNTRY are littered with the blood of Black men at the end of some White Woman’s FALSE ACCUSATION.
We watched as that woman was trying to get Mr. Cooper lynched. She did it with malice. She did it with purpose. She did it with forethought.
Mr. Cooper was fortunate that he lived in 2020 during the era of cellphone cameras. Let it have been 1980, and it could have turned out like Emmett Till.
Breonna Taylor was not as fortunate as Mr. Cooper. Breonna Taylor harkens back to an incident decades ago – the murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton.
Murdered in her home.
Murdered in her bed.
Murdered while asleep.
Based upon an illegal warrant.
Switch sexes and decades, and the stories echo with resonance.
So then, we get to Mr. Floyd. I have not viewed the video. I can’t really watch these videos anymore. I do try to listen to them, and they are as horrible to listen to as to watch.
8 minutes. 46 seconds.
That’s how long it is. That’s how long the murderer had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
You listen to it, and you hear the pleas of others there, watching, to get off the man’s neck. A man who wasn’t resisting arrest. We watched while mobs of armed White men had nothing happen to them – not even a disturbing the peace charge..and George Floyd didn’t live long enough to get a mugshot.
People saw it. People heard it. And, even though you knew the outcome, you still hoped that somewhere, somehow, humanity would come through. That Mr. Floyd would be seen as HUMAN, and the pressure against his body would be removed. But, it wasn’t. And so, he was murdered. In broad daylight. On camera. By someone whose job it is to ‘ protect and serve’.
And, people said, no more. Stop telling us we didn’t see what we saw. Stop telling us that ‘ we didn’t understand’, because, it was quite clear what we saw. Stop telling us that you don’t know if it’s likely there would be charges. Take off the uniform and the badge, and it becomes clear. Everybody who has seen a few Law and Order episodes know that, if you are in a group when a crime happens – EVERYBODY IN THE GROUP – will be held responsible. The jails are full of people who didn’t know that their friend was going into the convenience store to rob somebody, but, when they caught up with him, you were in the car, so you will be charged too. So, trying to tell folks that the three officers, who stood around and did NOTHING while Mr. Floyd’s life left him weren’t also culpable, is complete and utter bullshyt. They are accessories to his murder.
It was so many back to back incidents in a row. Something had to give. And, even in the middle of a pandemic, this was so important, that people risked their lives to go protest. And, the police showed out. They showed why they are held in deep contempt by certain communities in this country.
“ If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If and elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
——–Archbishop Desmond Tutu