I’ve been asked to speak on this and I won’t.
Instead I’ll write and try to keep it brief.
When examining any kind of problem, particularly something as complicated as systemic racism, it’s imperative to first establish the context within which these issues arise.
For all intents and purposes, I am an educated, caucasian, Australian male and while I have plenty of stories and experiences with prejudice thanks to a ‘mixed’ appearance, I am not black, nor am I American, nor is anyone in my family black, nor do we have any instances of unjust homicide due to authority figures.
While I feel horror and disgust at the use of force against an individual who was already under control and no longer presenting a threat and also experience a deep sense of sadness and disappointment; my empathy does not make me an expert.
Therefor, my opinion is irrelevant.
The action I have chosen to take is to listen.
I listen to my black friends around the world.
I listen when they document how these instances are not limited to the U.S; that Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Holland all have their underlying issues with race.
I listen when they argue that though these officers were recorded in broad daylight… similar officers, similarly recorded, have never been arrested.
I listen to the gen-pop who watch rioting and bemoan “what does it solve”?
I listen to the “all lives matter” crowd, though I’ve never heard this argument from the family of a child murdered by police.
There is an impulse of compassion within us, to want to take action and fight on behalf of another in situations of injustice, to stem this feeling of helplessness.
While the intention may be pure, the execution may not always be elegant.
My only grain of salt, is perhaps rather than adopting best intentions on behalf of someone else, perhaps we should listen.
Listen to your Black friends.
Listen to the Black community.
Read about Black history - not American history - Black history.
Even in Australia, we have our own history of genocide, mistreatment and abuse, which we conveniently sweep aside until it’s popular to relive.
And if the moment occurs where we realise we have few (to no) Black associates, then perhaps we can recognise the massive disconnect between lived experiences.
Three facts are outstanding:
George Floyd was murdered due to gross misconduct; thankfully I have not yet met anyone who denies this.
Escalation of Police tactics permit militarised force against peaceful civilian protestors.
We are all recovering from a pandemic.
There is a lot here worth examining.
Christopher. S. Sellers is an expert on Creativity + Innovation
Founder + Director of Black Bulb Creative