Over the past week and a half, riots have turned from political protests to protests about racism. After the death of George Floyd on May 25th, Minneapolis rose up and protested the cruel death that occurred because of a police officer. This quickly spread throughout the nation, turning into a fight for equality. Within a few days, the #BlackLivesMatter movement had spread throughout the world with protests happening as far away as New Zealand, France and Hungary. So now we are facing two pandemics, each influencing the other.
The current president continues to make matters worse by not speaking up, so social media and protests have been speaking to the people. I’ve easily come across lists of books written by black authors, movies about racism, causes to support, and questions to reflect on, making this subject the underlying theme of every day. Personally, I’d like to make my bookshelf more colorful. As a white female, I’m privileged to not worry about my life every day, but these protests have drawn my attention to how bad this threat is for black people. This nation was built on racism and it’s about dang time that we dismantle it.
The BLM movement has caused such an uproar (and rightly so) that changes have begun. The white police chief of the city of Portland, OR stepped down to be replaced by a black chief. The Minneapolis police department is going to disband. Videos are being filmed every day of police brutality, and every day police are having to take responsibility for their actions – many officer arrests have been made. Not enough, but more than ever before. In some places, riots and looting happen. In nearly every place, unarmed citizens are being met with armed police, rubber bullets and teargas. Pictures depicting how to be safe at protests are circulating online. Citizens are starting to see how important it is to vote in local elections and people are taking a deep dive to learn what it takes to be a police officer (not a lot of training) and how much money is given to police departments (way too much).
Calls to defund police have been heard all over the nation. Where would the money go? To people who need it. Homeless shelters, social workers, mental health. I personally have rarely had to call the police, and when I have, a social worker could deal with nearly every case. I’ve interned for the police and experienced the same thing.
The system is broken. Law enforcement is broken. There needs to be justice.
It’s time everyone does better. It’s time to have the hard conversations and call people out. Read up on the Stanford Prison Experiment if you need to learn about the broken law enforcement system and human corruption. Start to educate yourself on race by reading ‘So you want to talk about race’ or ‘White Fragility’. It’s important to see color and to know where people came from. Watch ‘Just Mercy’, ’13th’ or ‘When They See Us’. Think about how racism is all around us and that we’ve grown up with it and how we’ve somehow managed to become blind to it. White angel food cake? Black devil’s food cake? Black cats are bad luck and blackmail is bad? We’ve been conditioned to believe that whiteness is good and that it holds superiority. That it’s better than black. It’s time to change. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s time we all start being better.
*all photos in this blog post are not my own.