George Floyd was murdered in the Minneapolis neighbourhood my mum lived in up until three years ago. I was raised in a city and metro area – Detroit – that was devastated by race riots in the late 60s, around the time I was born, and never recovered. The racism in the US, particularly in law enforcement, has destroyed lives, families, neighbourhoods, even whole cities.
Cops in both the US and the UK are harder on black people. There’s stereotyping, baseless suspicion, and a presumption of guilt. Black people are dehumanised, and it is absolutely shameful. In the US, a hyper-macho, racist police culture is made deadlier by the easy availability of guns in communities and military-style hardware in the hands of cops.
Don’t forget, though, that George Floyd was killed without a gun. Minneapolis is a beautiful, diverse, idealistic, usually-peaceful city. If it can happen in Minneapolis, it can happen here. It does happen here.
This is a wake-up call for Brits (myself included) to start thinking about race with an awareness that this is also a racist and segregated country. If we want to improve things, we need to think and talk about the social hierarchies that underlay our identities, about the assumptions we make and the opportunities we miss. We need to stop hiding from guilt, uncomfortable truths, and the potential for embarrassment and look for ways to reach out, listen, learn and connect.
We can take this opportunity to work together for a better society: fairer, more loving, and more sustainable. I’m thinking about ways MinorOak can help, and I am open to your suggestions as well.
owner, MinorOak Coworking
For more UK information, Google:
1. Slave Compensation Act
2. Windrush deportations
3. Triangular trade
4. UK BAME deaths in police custody