In the wake of Floyd’s death, Americans and people around the world are experiencing shock, grief, outrage — a set of emotions that too often are repeated. If the past is a guide, these feelings will fade and we will return to our lives.
But something tells me — not this time. Floyd’s horrific death should be enough to finally move us to positive action…
Our country has often moved forward and been made better through peaceful protests. But our cities must stop burning. Innocent people, including many minority and immigrant business owners, are watching their livelihoods go up in smoke. There is no excuse for looting and criminality, and offenders must be stopped. But a call for calm is not enough, either. This time, we must remain vigilant and maintain our determination to make a difference.
Beyond justice for Floyd, systemic change is necessary to make our institutions more just. Yet all the structural reforms in the world are insufficient to remove the shadow hanging over every incident of this kind. To be black is to be forced to overcome implicit and explicit reactions to the color of your skin. It might be dismissiveness or underestimation or presumption of how you think. In some circumstances, it might be fear. We encounter these responses even among decent people who sincerely do not want to react that way. The good news is that these emotions can be overcome — and often are — with the respect that builds when people know one another as human beings — as friends, neighbors, co-workers and teammates.