Everybody has seen the pictures of George Floyd being murdered. Everyone has also seen the pictures of police brutality and the excessive force used to break up peaceful protestors. By now, people would have seen looters vandalizing for destruction’s sake.
However, the real story is actually not of George Floyd. It is Anne Cooper was walking her dog off the leash. When a black man reprimanded her she turned threatened to phone the police and say a black man is threatening he.
Her story is much more of a powerful indictment.
She was perfectly aware that by phoning the police and making this statement she was making use of institutionalized racism.
Ann Cooper was using the knowledge that institutionalized racism exists in the American Police Force in the hope of getting an innocent man arrested.
If we understand this then we understand that actually the history of racism in America can be traced back to the legacy of slavery and the fact that the Jim Crow laws.
Something is rotten in America. We should no longer turn around and look at our screens on television and ignore these are people that are just violent. Something is broken. The question of looting, which I don’t justify, should also be addressed by the additional question why are people looting?
In every society, there is a social contract. In other words, people will pay their taxes and agree to the rules of society, on an understanding that the society is fair and that they will be protected.
I am willing to pay my taxes which will pay for the police force which, if I need, I can phone and be confident that they will protect me. But what happens if that police force is actually against me because of the color of my skin?
Again, I am not justifying violence. I’m not justifying looting. What I am saying is that the voice that has broken out throughout the cities of America, the voice of anguish and the voice of frustration and the voice of a generation that has lost hope, should not just be dismissed by the accusation of people who just want to loot. To do so would be a terrible mistake.
In order for America to correct itself, it really has to address some of the deep racist issues that are within the society.
For example, we need to look at how police are educated, how police officers are selected, and how police are put in a position where they can choose what use of force is right and what use of force is wrong?
The names and lists of people killed by the police, either in their home, at their wedding, or in a car because they were considered suspicious is far too long.
Today, there is an opportunity to really look deeply at what is rotting in American society and to address these real social problems.
I have a suspicion that the current President is unwilling and unable to do so.
It should be of concern to everybody when a President of the United States threatens to use an army against his own people.
No this isn’t a bashing of Trump nor outright support for rioting, but it is a clear and thoughtful call to really try and understand the social contract within America that is now broken.
No society can exist in this situation, and today America is on its knees.
For a full discussion see the Podcast America on its Knees