George Floyd will not have lived in vane. He is igniting a crucial moment in American history. Now is the time to rise to the situation.
COVID Shut down, shelter in place, death counts, these were the top of mind concerns of the country. The news was an endless drone of the same pandemic. Even as the occasional story would touch on how minorities were being disproportionately effected both economically and in health, still the main concern was the virus and what to do about it. That’s all changed now.
The pandemic is still a threat. But to paraphrase Warren Buffet, only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked. Michael Pollan recently used this quote in an article in The New York Review of Books to show how the pandemic has laid bare the fragility of our food eco-system. The pandemic has also laid bare the rabid racist behavior that continues to plague our nation. Then, George Floyd gave human form to this terible plague. And it does seem a plague. What does the pandemic and police violence share in common? They attack disproportionately at our most vulnerable.
By recent news coverage it does not seem like the police or the authorities are really learning anything. But it’s time we did. How do you stop racist behavior from controlling our actions? Racism tries to rob people of their humanity, Therefore we need to instill people’s basic humanity, There is no one who is disposable. This must be the new emphasis of our nation.
This has far reaching consequences: it means equal opportunity, equal, education, equal health care, equal humanity must drive our public policies and our private convctions. White privelege and class privelege have ruled for too long. Every aspect where white privelege gives an unfair advantage there needs to be a counter weight giving everyone an equal boost.
Affirmative action, like civil rights, needs a resurrection. I had prayed we had once come so close. My mother was a civil rights political activist and the inspriation for Jamie’s mother in The Rites of Passage. She thought for sure we were headed to a new era in 1967, in the aftermath of the Detroit Riots–and indeed the riots that swept the country. 1968 was to be the difference. And it was: in the opposite direction. Our civil rights were murdered by the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. What an amazing difference: instead of Nixon we could have had Kennedy.
So now, here we are again. back where we started from. It’s time to lay down our racist ideas and embrace humanity, embrace Black Lives Matter with all of our hearts and souls. It will take us to a new revolution and hopefull a new new deal for America: and a new equality.