Friday, June 12, 2020

Why The Protests For George Floyd When Not For Others

On social media and in some articles, I have seen this question asked by some: Why are people protesting and marching in the streets and why are government officials demanding action over the death of George Floyd when (and then the usual example of blacks shooting other blacks in the streets of Chicago is given) other killings are going on and no one is protesting or seems to care about their lives?

RIP: George Perry Floyd, Jr. [Oct. 14, 1973-May 25, 2020]  

At first blush, this seemed like a reasonable question to me but at the same time it gave me a sickening feeling in my stomach and I wondered why am I having this conflicting feeling.  I will answer in two parts: 1. Why is there such an overwhelming reaction to the George Floyd murder (not just in the US but all over the world) when there is not the same visceral reaction to other killings?; and 2. Why did I experience such a sickening feeling in my stomach just by that question being asked?

1. Why the greater outpouring of emotion and protests and talk of reform after the George Floyd death in relation to other tragic deaths and killings all over the United States?  The answer is because unlike any other time I can remember in my life, we have actual video and audio, for an extended time, of a hate crime and I would call torture taking place right in front of our eyes and ears; and what is even worse, it was done by a member of law enforcement, a man who is supposed to be there to protect the people [like the overwhelming majority of police officers do-putting their own lives on the line] was instead taking a man's life in the cruelest way.  Not only did we see that, we painfully heard the cries of George Floyd begging for his life, telling the officer he couldn't breathe over and over and over again; and in one of the most emotional tearful horrible things to hear, George Floyd, called out for his dead mother.  If you are not pained and moved by that, you do not have a heart. 

We mourn all those dead, killed by violent action. Yes, we mourn the police officers who were killed by evil action and are sickened by it; we mourn those kids killed in senseless and yes evil black on black shootings in Chicago; we mourn other blacks who have been wrongly killed by the police, like Breonna Taylor - a good, wonderful first-responder ER Technician, shot by police in her own home, who broke in without knocking.  We mourn them all equally as we pray for and mourn all who have lost a loved one-no matter how they have died.

By marching for and protesting for George Floyd, when we did not for others, we do not mean to demean those other lives lost.  It is just because we were able to see this hate crime taking place on video and hear a human being begging for his life with our ears, without an ounce of humanity shown by that police officer [I do not even want to dignify him by saying his name],  that is why this is different.

2.  Why did I experience such a sickening feeling by just the question be asked-why not protests for the others?  There are two reasons.  By asking that question, to me it is implying [and some actually say this straight out] that because we protest and march and speak out for George, we don't really care about other blacks who were killed by blacks, or we don't care about the policemen killed, and some viciously, by evil people.  That is wrong and that is a sickening implication to me.

The second reason is, from those who are asking that question, aren't they attempting to take away this moment that we are honoring and celebrating the life of George Floyd, the pain that the family and the nation and the world feels.  That really gave me a sick feeling in my stomach that there would be people [even many who I like and admire] who could not understand why seeing the sickening video and audio of the George Floyd murder would make the whole world speak out.

Yes, you are right who ask that question, George Floyd's death is not any more hurtful to his family than all the other families who have lost loved ones to violence; and it is because all of their lives mattered George Floyd's life mattered; and it is because all lives matter, Black Lives Matter! 



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