May 25th marked the two year anniversary of the night we watched a police officer ecstatically murdering a man in the streets, on camera, for almost ten minutes, George Floyd, in Minneapolis. His death activated the isolated (in more ways than one), and triggered months of protests in the streets where because a contract had been broken so many times (civil rights under the constitution of America), many in the world people decided it was time to tear it up, all over the world. I’ll never forget where I was. Will you?
Two years later, a man/child walked into a grocery store in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, and killed 10 people for explicitly racist reasons, and not many people reallllly cared, did they?
In our most recent podcast episode (link here once it drops this Sunday), Hillary and I struggled with the question “Have things improved, or have things deteriorated further since that fatal day, for that human, George Floyd”. We found, we couldn’t answer the question. It’ll be a decision to be made later by those looking at these times, as the dust still hasn’t settled.
In a way similar to Derek Chauvin dehumanizing with joy George Floyd laying on that road, detained, cuffed, helpless, calling for his mother and dying, Payton S. Gendron, consciously strategized for months, with “intelligence”, to travel hours to murder humans with darker skin. He had dehumanized them long before.
Did you really care?
Did the majority people really care when George Floyd was murdered? Or were they bored, shocked, restless, available, and so moved by the cinema of it all they hit the streets just to feel something after two months of isolation? Was #BlackLivesMatter that outlet?
One percent of the corporations who pledged to make donations, to make changes, to fix things during the fear of spring 2020 held up any obligation to lift a finger in the following year. One percent. Empty words. How many empty expressions of sentiment floated around when we look back? Corporations ran by the men and women of our two countries.
Many people cared. They did. They changed, they read, they studied, they cried, they re-wired, they donated, they became aware of their unconscious bias. More stories were told, more organizations formed, more POC voted into positions of power, laws passed (some), calls to reallocate Police budgets to other government based institutions (social services, mental health services, earlier intervention in at-risk communities #defundthepolice), more funding provided where funding previously lacked, presidents changed, more roles in Hollywood, Black faces on advertisements, and an executive order signed on May 25th that promised to do “more”.
Many people loathed. Many people hated. Many bided their time. Many people reinforced negative stereotypes, amped up the hatred they taught their children behind closed doors. They joined extremist hate groups, formed new hate based political parties, social media networks. They carried out actions of hate, police killed more people in the USA in 2021 than 2020, and 16 more Black people than in 2020. Citizens were further activated by a lack of education of systemic racism and generational wealth gaps, instead opting for Great White Replacement and Critical Race Theory complaints and delusions..
Why no global protests for Buffalo? For London, Ontario? For Mosque shootings? For Mass shootings?
We have a bit of data available actually. Simply put, we cared two years ago, but now that we’re back to events, jobs, bars, vacations, and “freedom”, we’re not really outraged. Now it’s the story of the day.
Why does the murder of George Floyd “SEEM” so much more triggering to the world than the massacre of TEN Black people in a mass shooting?
It was the cinema and the free time. But before we all feel too guilty (and you should), for “white” communities, society is designed to keep you too distracted to care about the civil rights and politics of others, for all intents and purposes. They’re very comfortable as a “culture”. A percentage of you are dirt-broke, struggling and have had a bad rap, but that’s not a small percent, that’s growing, but it’s small. The poorest are two distracted with their own issues of trauma and despair from a broken system to care. I get that. Just don’t think it’s unfair when you see a special program to help Black people get ahead. Just keep learning your history. For “Black” communities, it’s because it was the cops. We know of the white citizens who hate us. But the system is supposed to ensure those it employs are not bound of those prejudices. And it - f’kin - doesn’t.
"It’s not all cops"
We KNOW that, we think we know that at least, some of us… depends where we live. But, we don’t know if the cop that pulls us over at 3pm and is cordial will be the same kind of cop when we’re heading home after a 1am late shift after they’re ending 5 days of all night shifts. We don’t know. I will say, I’ve encountered a number of police in my life, one has blatantly racially profiled me while abusing their power out of many that didn’t. We can all establish it’s some, right? Humans the constitution we were born into dictates have almost godly power, it seems, and that we should obey. One in a hundred, one in a million. I’m thinking of the lotto mantra, “you gotta play to win!”
We don’t wanna play. We don’t want to encounter the police if we don’t have to because WE don’t want to be the ONE. One out of a thousand, out of ten thousand, out of a million,. There have certainly been millions over the decades, AFTER slavery, after we were “free” on this land. As much our land as white settlers, and in truth, none of our lands at all. Police brutality doesn’t have to end in slow 9 minute deaths on camera, it comes in all shapes and forms. All forms of abuse. There are a number of bad rights violating outcomes to be experienced when you’re a person of colour and your number is pulled by the Boys in Blue. It’s only the deaths on camera you hear about. Society is much too busy (as demonstrated by the Buffalo shooter) to care much about anything other than a cinematic murder during a two-month stint from our jobs.
Again, only history will determine if the events of 2020 will be the next real stepping stone in the fights for equality taking place all over the world.
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Clinton is a entrepreneur, entertainer and activist with interests in retail, beauty, music, real estate, blockchain, farming, and more. He is a founder of BlackLantic, and sits on different boards in New Brunswick.
"I migrated to NB in 2009 to my surprise, well ahead of the 2020/21 crowd."
With a strong belief that POC need to support, work together, and collaborate, Clinton has spent years driven by a need to make the world a better place for his kids, and people of all cultures/lifestyles to grow up in.