Black Lives Matter
I like to write about nice little things that bring me joy. Video games, movies, good news stories, general musings and reflections on a variety of topics that I enjoy. I've got a couple of drafts lined up, and I could have got one of those ready for today's post. I try to keep things light for the most part, as I know there's a lot of darkness and uncertainty in the world, and sometimes to dwell on it feels like you're only amplifying it. However, I'll be putting the niceties on hold today and instead try to amplify an important message that has been spreading across the world following as unrest mounts following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police in the US.
Warning - the videos I'm about to link to get quite graphic, so... don't look away; look closely. Pay attention to what you're seeing, because it is awful, and it needs to be recorded, it needs to be witnessed and it needs to be stopped.
This all started with a man, George Floyd, being arrested over an alleged fake bank note, who was pinned to the ground with his neck being knelt on by a police officer. He then suffered a cardiac arrest, despite repeatedly saying that he couldn't breathe. This has since been declared a homicide, but this was just one instance of the injustice and prejudice that many people in the US, and indeed around the world, face on a daily basis. It kickstarted masses of protests across the country, and even overseas, with people coming out to condemn the actions of the police and stand up for countless people like of George Floyd, whose lives are thoughtlessly cast aside by racist bigots.
Thousands of brave people in the States have had the courage to stand up to the absolutely abhorrent and despicable behaviour of their police, who are responding to many peaceful protesters and reporters with flash bangs, tear gas, pepper spray and straight-up assaults against unarmed people. Many of these moments have been captured thanks to protesters' smartphones and cameras, and many of these so-called "cops" will have a lot to answer for over the coming weeks.
The worst of it is though, that Donald Trump himself has taken a stance against the protests in any form whatsoever, dubbing the protesters "lowlifes and losers", and threatening to get the US army involved. None of this has any place in any nation, let alone one that prides itself on liberty, freedom and security for its citizens. And what was the First Amendment, again?
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
[Source - Wikipedia]
Ah, yes. Over 10,000 US citizens have now been arrested over their involvement in these protests. Peaceful protest absolutely and undoubtedly falls under the First Amendment as freedom of expression and the right to peacefully assemble, and yet we see police and the President himself standing in direct opposition of those who are exercising their freedom of expression in support for the Black Lives Matter movement. And by doing so, they are choosing to stand against the fight to end racism in all the forms that it takes. It's despicable that Trump hid in the bunker of the White House with the lights out while protests went on in cities across America, and even ordered police to tear gas protesters in order to make way for his photo-op at a Church. His tweets have condemned the protesters at every turn, and it's very telling that he's had so little to say about the attitude of some of the police.
I would like to also just note that I know that there have been violent protesters, who have been deliberately provoking the police, looting stores and causing damage to property. They do not represent the majority who are protesting, and it is unfortunate that many peaceful protests act as a means for people to start riots. However, on the flipside, I also acknowledge that the vast majority of cops do not support the actions of those who are mercilessly attacking individuals, or the actions of Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd. But, until this inequality and racism is eliminated entirely, the message and the spirit behind these protests will not die down.
It's not enough anymore simply not to be racist. We have to be anti-racist, and support its eradication wherever we can, in whatever form we are able. There is no gene for racism, there is no gene for bigotry. You're not born a bigot, you have to learn to be a bigot. Anything you can learn, you can unlearn.
I'll end this post with a powerful message that I've seen being copied and pasted around on Facebook of late. It highlights the severity of white privilege, and the simple everyday acts that black people have been killed over.
I have privilege as a white person because I can do all of these things without thinking twice about it.....
I can go bird watching (#ChristianCooper)
I can go jogging (#AhmaudArbery)
I can have a mobile phone (#StephonClark)
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner shop (#MichaelBrown)
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I can go to church (#Charleston9)
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own stag party (#SeanBell)
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I can break down on a road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerenceCrutcher)
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I can be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I can ask a cop a question (#RandolphEvans)
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I can run (#WalterScott)
I can breathe (#EricGarner)
I can live (#FreddieGray).
I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED. (#GeorgeFloyd)
White privilege is real. Take a minute to consider a Black person’s experience today.
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