It’s (past) time for white people to take responsibility for racist systems
When I was growing up when a woman was raped people would ask, “what was she wearing? What was she doing?” As if, wearing the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing made raping her ok. That has changed (a little) but we do that when Black and Brown people are killed by the police. We expect the victims of a system they did not develop or maintain to be able to fix it. That is ridiculous and it has to stop.
When the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial came out, I cried out with relief that he was found guilty. Despite all of the evidence, including video and testimony from police officers and medical professionals, I feared this was going to go the way it always has before. At least one jury member would think that he had just cause or had some doubt about what killed George Floyd. The media had to keep reminding us that Floyd wasn’t on trial here. His struggles with addiction (a problem that is an epidemic in the United States) have nothing to do with how he died. Floyd died because Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost ten minutes. He kept it on for three minutes after Floyd was dead.
White people need to do more to end racism
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has been spearheaded by Black and Brown people but to expect them to change the system that has killed or maimed so many is crazy at best. At worst, it is criminal. This is akin to thinking the slaves should have been the ones to end slavery. It took an amendment to the Constitution to do that.
The New York Times looked at a number of cases where Black people were killed by the police and how many times those murders resulted in criminal charges. You can read their piece here. One case they did not profile was Elijah McClain. He was detained by police, put in a chokehold and injected with ketamine. It turned out, the police had no real reason to stop him. He died a few days later, after suffering a cardiac arrest. He used to go to the animal shelter and play the violin for the stray cats because he thought it eased their stress.
What I am doing
I am sick of seeing police officers and others kill Black and Brown people with impunity. This is what I am going to do to end that.
- Join Showing Up for Racial Justice. There are chapters all over the country. I am going to work with the chapter in New York City.
- Support bail reform. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, about 700,000 people are arrested in the U.S. every day. Approximately 66% of people in jail have not been convicted of anything. It is no secret that Black and Brown people are locked up more than white people. Keeping people in jail while they await their day in court ruins lives.
- Call out racism where I see it. It is not enough to not be racist myself, I need to call out racism when I see it. If we create an environment where racism is not tolerated, we can make all systems more fair for everyone.
What are you going to do? Please share any other things that you are doing and that I can do in the comments.