I haven’t been able to write about it. I haven’t been able to find the words. I’m still not sure how if I have.
On Monday, May 25, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd –– an unarmed black man –– until he died by asphyxiation. There were three other officers present who did nothing. It lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Today Chauvin’s charge was updated to second degree murder and the other three are charged with aiding and abetting.
This comes after a week of anti-police brutality protests across America and some in Canada, too, after Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a black woman, fell from her balcony and died after police entered her apartment. Most of the protests have been peaceful, but there has also been looting and fires, resulting in curfews. There is great debate about where the violence has originated –– there is speculation that some of trouble was started on purpose by outside groups and extremists. But what matters is that most of the protests –– from LA to New York, and from Houston to Minneapolis, of course –– have been peaceful, law-abiding, and inspired.
Keep in mind that a pandemic is raging around the world, and that venturing out into these community protests poses health threats in addition to the risks of violence and arrest. But millions have shown up.
It’s a movement –– rather an eruption in a movement targeting a 400-year-old disgrace: racism against black people.
With today’s charges, I’d like to think that after seven days of relentless, country-wide demonstrations, awareness is cracking this dark night.
Even with the time that self-isolation and unemployment has afforded me, I have not picked up a book. This has bothered me –– why? Why haven’t I been able to read?
Yesterday, on #BlackoutTuesday, I read about two thirds of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by academic and educator Robin DiAngelo. It’s a book for white people to understand how whiteness has provided immense privilege and has also made white people ultra-sensitive –– about acknowledging it, admitting it, and calling it out amongst other white people. It’s an eye-opening read that challenges, provokes, and offers solutions. It’s the perfect place to reacquaint myself with reading.
I’ve also been reading so much else (online) –– from news to opinion pieces, as well as following the words of so many inspired thinkers on the topics of racism and black issues. And reading so many heartbreaking stories of what happens in the US and here every day. I have much to learn.