A Response to ‘Don’t blame all cops for Floyd’s death’
To the editor:
Often when the issues of racism arise, we whites jump to our initial defensiveness: “I’m not racist!” No one wants to be called a “racist!” As Ibram X. Kendi states in his book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” the opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist,” the opposite of “racist” is antiracist — that means we truly believe everyone is equal and we fight for policies that provide for equal opportunity and we state antiracist ideas. We’ve all had racist ideas or supported racist policies. Our growth comes when we identify those racist tendencies. Identifying racist ideas must be followed by action to eliminate them. We whites are often so fragile when it comes to the discussions of race that we think it’s all about us and jump to anger, fear or guilt and shut down meaningful and important discussions of race. A wonderful resource to examine this fragile nature of whites is Robin Diangelo’s ‘White Fragility.’
It’s possible that people who state “All Lives Matter” have their hearts in the right place. If you say this in reaction to the Black Lives Matter mwovement you are discounting black lives. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Philando Casitile, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and others point to the need to clearly focus energy to rid our society of culture that devalues black lives. One quick analogy a friend shared with me: If your house is on fire and the fire department focuses its efforts on your burning house and your neighbors declare “Our houses matter too” that would be simply awful. Well, the value of black lives is burning in this country and its time for all of us to work to put out that fire.
The letter’s title “Don’t blame all cops for Floyd’s death” is worth a few words. Hopefully the four cops involved will be held accountable. Yet, if we only focus on George Floyd’s murder, we miss the point. There seems to be a policing culture in this country that makes it okay to kill unarmed black men (and women). Too many instances of this occur. There seems to be a policing culture that makes it okay to rough up protesters. There seems to a be a policing culture that values certain lives more than others. So, if we focus only on individuals and ignore the culture of policing, more individual police will feel emboldened to act in ways similar to those of the four cops who murdered George Floyd.
There’s much work to do.
For my full response go to my Facebook Page.
(New Ulm native)