I want to write briefly about the remarkable time we are living in.
I’ve been trying to process even more murders of black Americans by police on the news, events which have become all too common throughout my life. The era of cell phone videos changed this, but only to the point that we could bear witness to the horror more directly, and observe that the stories the police used to justify the killings never withstood scrutiny, even to the (surprised!) eyes of people who previously willed the news away with hazy implications of guilt, as if hazy implications justify spontaneous, extrajudicial executions.
As with US school shootings, it seemed that no amount of loss could make anything change. Each time, there would be hope that THIS would be the event that bent the arc of history toward justice. Each time, it seemed THIS would be the day when people stood up and said that we are NOT A COUNTRY that allows this to happen, and it would end. But each time wasn’t that time.
But now, unexpectedly, there seems to be… a sort of reckoning.
I’m afraid to get my hopes up that it will be that time. It could be! But I’m afraid to hope.
This reckoning arose not only over the original event, namely the recorded murder of a man named George Floyd who was suffocated by police kneeling on his neck, but grew dramatically over the outlandish assaults by police against people peacefully protesting against police brutality.
The police have been shooting journalists with rubber bullets. The police have been been arresting news crews on the air. The police have been tear gassing members of the clergy.
Individually they may have been thinking: police are never punished for brutality, even if the brutality is recorded, so this won’t matter. Collectively, they were surely also thinking this, because they were all choosing to behave the same way, and this is how structural racism works.
Yet…. this is playing out differently.
The automatic deference is gone.
Diplomatic complaints are being lodged over attacks on credentialed press from other nations.
Police officers are being fired for misconduct (which had previously just been deemed regular conduct).
British youth with ADORABLE British accents are having mass solidarity demonstrations, and hearing them chant, “Black Lives Matter!” so Britishly delighted me on every level, even before looking at the other solidarity demonstrations around the world.
I don’t know where this is going, but I know I want to bend it toward justice. I want us ALL to bend it toward justice.