George Floyd, the black man who died when a cop kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, was single. I could say that this post at this “Single at Heart” blog is about him because he was single.
I could say that fortunately, so far as I can tell, there is no story out there proclaiming that George Floyd “didn’t have anyone.” The Chicago Tribune interviewed his lifelong friend, Christopher Harris. CNN talked to Floyd’s brother, his cousin, a friend from the NBA, and an employer who was also a friend, among others. Donna Edwards, a former Maryland congresswoman, said, “George Floyd was my brother; he was my son.” The protesters filling the streets of so many cities are marching in solidarity with Floyd; his life mattered to them.
But it is not really true that this post is about George Floyd because he is single. It is about him because his murder, and all that has transpired since then, around the nation and the world, is all I can think of. I have the TV on in the background, all the time. I’m checking the news. And I’m looking for the perspectives of people who live these experiences in a way that I, as a white woman, never could.
Black Voices Matter. I hope you will listen to them when they are interviewed and when they host their own shows. I hope you will read what they have to say. Here is just a small sampling from my reading list.
Read Eugene Robinson:
“Do you want to prevent the kind of rioting, looting and arson we have seen in Minneapolis this week? Then stop police officers and racist vigilantes from killing black men, like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Stop treating African Americans like human trash and start treating us like citizens…
“City officials perceived the Minneapolis unrest as an emergency. This nation needs to understand that life-threatening racism is an emergency, too.”
Read Roxane Gay. Referring to white people, she said that they:
“put energy into being outraged about the name “Karen,” as shorthand for entitled white women rather than doing the difficult, self-reflective work of examining their own prejudices. They speculate about what murdered black people might have done that we don’t know about to beget their fates, as if alleged crimes are punishable by death without a trial by jury. They demand perfection as the price for black existence while harboring no such standards for anyone else…
“They fret over the destruction of property and want everyone to just get along. They struggle to understand why black people are rioting but offer no alternatives about what a people should do about a lifetime of rage, disempowerment and injustice.”
Read Colbert I. King. He made the case that the cop who killed Floyd had something in common with the woman who called the police on a black man who had simply asked her to restrain her dog in Central Park, as park rules require. He had something in common, too, with the President who called the protesters “THUGS” and threatened that “shootings” could follow.
“They carried out brutish acts apparently unencumbered by the morals that restrain decent, civilized people. To remind: Minneapolis’s paroxysms of rage were induced by the sight of an unarmed black man dying while a white cop kneeled on his neck.”
Don’t just read the excerpts I shared. Read the entire argument they made in support of those snippets. They are much more powerful. And keep on reading, because there are so many black voices worth hearing and many more to come.