Many people don’t know how to respond to the killing of George Floyd and are amazed that such overt racism still exits in our nation.
The police brutality that happens to black people in the US is an extension of a larger systemic issue that has plagued our world throughout human history. We form ingroups and outgroups based on the similarities and differences we share with people.
If you belong to one ingroup and don’t really have any friends outside of your ingroup, that has a profound influence on your worldview, and how you perceive individuals that are different than you. Because of systemic racism, most of the people in power in the United States, including cops, all belong to the same ingroup (white anglo-saxon male, not targeting you, just the way it is) and as a result minorities haven’t really been included in the strategy of this nation.
Many people are dumbfounded when they see the unnecessary force officers often use on unarmed black people but let me ask you this question. Let’s say for example you are a white male, and you go to your black friend’s family cookout, how do you feel? Are you uncomfortable, do you do your best to avoid these situations? Do you panic? I bet you the officers that have used excessive force all had these same feelings before they received a badge. Had they resolved all of these biases before becoming an officer of the law, many lives could’ve been saved. So if you’re reading this post and wondering how to respond to the murder of George Floyd, ask yourself if there’s any particular race, or demographic of people you feel uncomfortable around. See if you have any biases. If you do, seek help, whether it be from a friend or a counselor, whatever it takes! Real, authentic growth can only come from an uncomfortable place.
When I was in college, I had friends from multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds. One time, I was having dinner with one of my white friends and had to use the bathroom. I left my backpack and all of my school work on at the table with my friend. When I came back, a lot of my black friends joined me at the table, but my white friend was no where to be found. I just laughed and thought to myself, wow, they were that scared! What my friend experienced on that particular night, is what I experience everyday as a minority in this country.