Posted on: June 1, 2020 Posted by: Darren Belgrave Comments: 1
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, from left. Photo from CNN.com

Ex Minneapolis police officer, and actual human garbage, Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder for the murder of George Floyd. It for whatever reason took 4 days to arrest the officer. Derek Chauvin, kept his knee on the neck of Derek Chauvin for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. During this time, two minutes and 53 seconds George Floyd was non-responsive. Derek’s bail has been set at $500,000. Derek Chauvin is a white, 44-year-old male, who reports confirmed has had 18 conduct-related complaints filed against him. These reports demonstrate a history of violence. Chauvin has a history of being involved in shootings and deaths. Three other officers were also in the video, that has now been viewed the world over, have been fired. These officers however, have yet to be charged for any crimes.

The criminal justice department in the United States protects itself first and foremost, the rich second, and minorities often not at all. One clear example of the inequity of treatment experienced by minorities in America is with, white supremacist and mass murderer, Dylan Roof. On June 17, 2015 an armed Dylan Roof walked into an African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine black people were murdered. Several others were left injured. After his subsequent arrest, police brought him to a Burger King for something to eat. If this heinous event was reversed, Dylan would simply not be alive today. Those cops would have shot him instantly and been awarded metals for their bravery. Minorities are viewed as threats first and readily dehumanized in the eyes of many within the American Justice system, where as whites are viewed as relatable and members of the community.

Systemic Racism Is A Feature Not A Bug

These discriminatory dynamics are prevalent in other institutions as well. Black women are more likely to have complications and lack of service when giving birth in hospital. They are often denied pain medications. Staff members will openly question whether or not they have the ability to pay for their care. Even in the case of Mr. Floyd we see systemic racism at work, as the report from the medical examiner even tried to blame George’s physiology as the reason for his death. Black students are often treated as much older than their white counterparts, and often receive significantly harsher punishments for their actions. Blacks are often denied rental opportunities in certain communities. Being offered higher interest rates from banks than Caucasian borrowers, is another practice that is widely documented, and a reality accepted by those on both sides. From a young age, minorities are taught that they must learn to soar where everyone else simply gets to walk.

Systemic racism is not new, and there is not more racism in America. The only difference now is that the victims of systemic injustice can produce video evidence their plight. America has embraced black culture without ever truly accepting the black individual. Which is why minority communities often turn to protest even though they more often than not are unsuccessful. Protesting has both complicated and exasperated the conversation. Destruction of public property is never okay nor a path forward. Though much of the damage during a protest is often perpetrated by bad actors. Participants who do not share the ideals nor perspectives of the protesters, cause damage to hurt the protest and pivot the conversations. These actions also allow law enforcement to augment their use of force to quell any dissent. This is not a new tactic, and has been recently used by the Chinese government in Hong Kong. The challenge is protesters also are responsible for starting fires and damaging storefronts, making it extremely difficult to distinguish between the two.

A mural in Minneapolis by Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Hernandez

Belittle The Victim

Regardless, the effect is the same. The conversation pivots from the murder of George Floyd to property damage. Political pressure mounts, and leaders in the black community are inevitably forced to ask for the protests to stop. This is not the last time the world will endure a tragedy like this nor is it the last time the pain will be forcibly silenced. This is partially due to how the majority valued George’s life to begin with. A black life being taken by a police officer is not worth property damage in America, and it may not ever be. The vandalism also allows racists to feel morally superior in there condemnation. Rational people know what happened to George was murder, but allowing the conversation to focus on vandalism retools the argument and restores a sense of moral superiority.

Mainstream media purposely facilitates this phenomenon. It is a massive problem. This is one of the areas where Trump’s presidency was right on the money. Perhaps, it took one so well versed in sensationalism and self promotion to recognize and articulate these failings in our media. Or perhaps, creating mistrust in our own media furthers his administrations’ agendas. Nevertheless, he has shone a spotlight on the self-indulgent entertainment (not news), they project onto the masses. This is subtly woven into the patchwork of institutionalized racism within the country. Pundits pontificating about injustice while the 24-hour coverage of fires will blanket the mainstream airways. Hi-def cameras will loop video of police in full riot gear holding back protesters and firing rubber bullets into crowds. I can not remember a single time SWAT teams were descending upon a conservative protest. Again, all these are tools utilized to perfection. The property damage, vandalism, violence – which are objectively awful – will always take precedence over the equitable treatment of minorities and the murder of George Floyd.

Fortunately, many seem to be responding differently to this racially charged murder. Perhaps, it is more difficult to distract a population under lock down, with nothing else to focus on. The focus on George Floyd has not dissipated as quickly as other murdered innocents and traditional tactics of mass manipulation seem to be less effective in this current socio-political climate. Hopefully, people will continue to remember that a George Floyd was murdered by ex police officer Derek Chauvin. A police officer who had a history of reported violence, while three other police officers watched.

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