By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of a young man named George Floyd whose death at the hands of white cops has symbolized one of the biggest and most influential series of racial injustice protests in the world. From Minnesota, to London, to Nigeria, and Brazil, protesters around the world are exercising their freedom of speech and right to protest against police brutality in the black community.
But as with any efforts to promote marginalized people, there will be naysayers in the form of the the dismissive undertones of All Lives Matter, Trump’s oppressive Make America Great Again narrative, and “Auntie” Tom-like sellouts such as Candace Owens who seek to abort the agenda of providing equality to all. To their dismay, they have taken refuge in the criminal background of George Floyd which suggests a history of criminal behavior and possible influence of drugs at the time of his death. What these judgmental narratives fail to do is acknowledge the imperfections in humankind that acknowledge that truth be told, all of us have some things about our lives that would be frowned upon if exposed to the public, but all of us deserve to live.
So while the spread of venomous and judgmental rhetoric is used to justify police brutality against black people, and in this case George Floyd, let’s expand upon who we all know George Floyd is, whether we knew him or not.
He’s somebody’s son.
Even if we didn’t know this, he made sure that we knew this during his untimely death, as he called for his deceased mother as his air passage slowly but surely became depleted of the air he needed to breathe. Are you a mama? Do you have a son? If so, I am sure that you can stand in agreement that our sons and daughters are far from perfect, but don’t we love them anyway? How would you feel if your child’s last words were crying out for you while he was being treated in such a brutal and hateful manner? Would you be thinking of his criminal past and drug abusive behaviors then?
Speaking of a criminal past and substance abuse, have you thought of the systemic issues that might contribute to ones criminal behavior and use of drugs?
I don’t know George Floyd’s story, and I won’t claim to now, but systemic and racial Injustice makes one vulnerable to engaging in criminal behavior and using drugs, if indeed these were facts in this case. And the truth of the matter, what separates those with a criminal past from those without it, is that they were the ones who got caught. And as George’s death shows us, our penalties for being imperfect are often much harder than those posed on white people. So when we fail, or are even assumed to have failed based off of biases and stereotypes that see us as potential threats, its harder for us to navigate through these waters and get back on our feet. This can easily lead to criminal actions and the use of drugs because the system makes it difficult for us to break these cycles.
He was an American citizen.
He was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in the city of the USA’s largest military base in the country. He was surrounded by people who fought to protect our constitutional rights and as an American citizen, the United States Declaration of Independence declared him the right to “LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. This was taken away from him on May 25th, 2020 when he was unlawfully murdered by the very people who were sworn in to duty that they would protect him and keep him safe.
He was a father.
He was a child of God.
Doesn’t our dollar that we all value say “In God We Trust?” He was made in the image of the very God that many people forget about when they judge George Floyd and forget their own sins. The same God reminds us that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” ~1 Corinthians 13:1
You see, its easy to judge George Floyd when he represents someone whom you don’t understand, who doesn’t look like or remind you of someone that you love. But it’s not as easy when we all see George Floyd as one of our own.
So if you still have an issue about who it is that George Floyd is, maybe the question shouldn’t be who is he; but rather, who are you?