The televised murder of the innocent George Floyd by police officers has initiated a discussion about police brutality in the US, specifically towards persons of color, along with a broader discussion on racism and on empathy.
Racism is common
Racism, ultranationalism, and brutal violence were widespread throughout history and are still prevalent to this very day. It's not just a small group of weirdos that are on the side of racism, it is often the majority.
In the US, there's Trump. Certainly not all of his voters are racist, but racism isn't a show-stopper for them, which makes them complicitly racist.
Pick your battles
We can't address every injustice. That would devolve into whataboutism and dilute the conversation. There certainly are horrible things in the world. As a brief whatabout, what about prisoners in China being murdered for their organs? Yes, that is horrifying, as are many other things, but even so, we should try to stay on topic, because:
We don't have the time or capacity to know about everything, nor ability to help. When an event triggers widespread attention on a specific topic, like the Me-Too movement recently or Black Lives Matter now, we do get the rare opportunity to make a difference, together!
If you care, then you should avoid whatabouting or retorting with "All Lives Matter!". "Black Lives Matter" doesn't mean that other lives don't. The context for this discussion is that US police act as if black lives, specifically black, don't matter to them. In this context, the retort communicates unwillingless to denounce these actions of police, which implies a belief that black lives don't matter.
Black Lives Matter
I said it in the title of this post, but I'd like to finish with a simple message: Black Lives Matter, and police should be held accountable for their actions. Police officers who murder should be punished. It may sound obvious but sadly the reality is far from this.
Defensive appendix - on being a phony
In this extra section I'd like to pre-emptively reply to an anticipated comment. This hypothetical comment calls me a phony, for two reasons -
I'm not American, what do I even know about American police? I do feel embedded in american culture via the internet, TV, music.. But also, everyone should feel welcome to the conversation. I also see the discussion as part of a broader global discussion on empathy.
I'm also an Israeli, who spent four years of his life serving in the Israeli military. This is the very same military that "temporarily", for more than 40 years, maintains an Apartheid-like policy in "Area C". In addition I can't help but notice that the BLM discussion is mostly ignored in Israeli society. From all of my Israeli friends and colleagues on Facebook, I've only noticed a single brave soul addressing it. All I can say is that this reality made writing this post challenging for me, and that I do agree that Israeli society has a lot of soul-searching to do.
- "Not all of Trump's voters are racist, but racism isn't a show-stopper for them" - a very accurate observation from an unknown (to me) source - I did read it somewhere but can't locate it at the moment. If you know who observed this point it to me and I'll give proper credit