The killing of #GeorgeFloyd has just been sitting with me with no words available until today. It follows so many incidents of Police brutality and killing of men of color in this country. An unarmed human being only suspected of a nonviolent crime suffocating at the knee of someone who has sworn to protect and serve, while other police stand by ignoring the pleas to stop, “I can’t breathe.”
#BlackLivesMatter. We must keep saying it. A dear beautiful friend, posted how this has affected him and I messaged him. What I shared with him best describes how I feel and want to say.
I’m sorry. As much empathy as I can muster, even as a gay man who has felt the wounded side of being targeted a handful of times, in truth I don’t know what it is like to live in this kind of fear. I hate it, racism. I know I want to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. I desperately worry about my nephews and nieces of color, especially my nephews as they become young men in this country. Two of them have autism. I’m afraid that they’re not going to read social cues from another citizen or a cop and will get shot, because they aren’t given the space, the time, the chance that breathes in the moment between life and death. I know that as a white man, as an ally, I am in a place of privilege and responsibility to be on the frontlines of the solution. I know we have to speak loudly at every turn, phrase, action, joke and embody being antiracist. It’s not enough to not be racist. We must be AntiRacist. We must dig deep into the soil, uproot fear, ignorance, cultural identity/traditions, hate. We need to elect more people of color into positions of leadership and power – especially women of color. I think as this happens, there will be fervent resistance from racists entrenched with fear. Let it be the last gasps of racism, then. I pray for this country. It is due for a reckoning, because we have been unwilling to look racism directly and name it for the evil that it is.
I love this friend, I love my nephews and nieces. George Floyd loved and is loved. There’s no peace without justice. There’s no justice with racism. We must end racism – personal and structural.