I wrote this in response to a rather callous Facebook post I saw which essentially excused George Floyd's death because he had a criminal record (I don't know if that's even true, because it's not relevant to what's happening) and then denounced continued protests because the officers were arrested so, "Sounds like justice was done."
Some context of my post is lost without the original to which it's replying, but I'm not going to repost it here. Some quotes that are alluded to in my text: "I don't know why we keep putting criminals on pedestals for [equality movements]" and "we’ll never get anywhere with an out of control mob."
Despite announcing independence from Britain with the phrase "all men are created equal" the founders of this country immediately produced a government where the only citizens that counted were white, male, land owners. And, despite fighting an entire war with ourselves over it, we're still trying to fix that failure.
George Floyd's death happened to be the straw the broke the camel's back for this generation. Having the officers involved arrested and tried does little to address the larger issue. Until systemic change actually happens there will be repeated cycles of pressure build up and outbursts.
One of the most prominent recent protests for the cause of racial equality was a football player peacefully and respectfully kneeling during the national anthem and a huge part of the country denounced him for doing so. Years of peaceful attempts to have racist monuments removed throughout the South have failed. And throughout, repeatedly and regularly, black men and women have continued to be killed at the hands of white police officers with little improvement.
Sadly, as JFK portended, when the people populating the institutions of power ignore the problem eventually it bubbles up into a violent confrontation. Our country brought itself into existence by violent confrontation. Slavery was ended in this country by violent confrontation.
Throughout history, and around the world, we've repeatedly seen that unfortunately an "out of control mob" has sometimes been the only way that we "get anywhere."
I don't know anything about Floyd's past. But his past is entirely irrelevant. No one should have a police officer kneel on their neck until they suffocate to death. The pedestal he's put upon is the pedestal labeled "humanity" and we all stand on it together.
To dust our hands and say, "Sounds like justice was done" because in this one instance--after days of protests and rioting across the entire country--the perpetrators were arrested is to ensure that the cycle of anger and violence will continue for another day.