George Floyd: Murdered by US systemic racism


It would be too easy to suggest that the Minnisosta police officer Derek Chauvin who murdered Floyd George in broad daylight with his fellow accompolises were just a bunch of ‘bad apples’ in the State police force. Whilst the murder charge is completely true and one hopes that justice will be rightly served the danger is that we ignore a much more profound uncomfortable truth: It wasn’t just the four individuals that murdered Floyd George, but rather America’s deep seated racial prejudice, turbo charged in the last few years by a President- President Donald Trump, who has become the very symbol of white supremacy in the US

Generally speaking when we’re talking US and indeed global phenomia of ‘white supremacy’ we’re referring to white advantage and privilege over Black or brown people, including; greater access to better education, jobs opportunities, health care, and housing.

But there’s another even more painful aspect to ‘white supremacy’ that involves how the State and its institutions can dehumanise Black and brown individuals –African and Latin Americans –in order to sustain the status quo.

What better way to justify affording you less, by explaining that: ‘ You’ve got what you deserve, and in extreme cases your not only less than us, but rather you’re not like us at all. We have to right to judge you as a thing or a beast that is to be controlled or slaughtered as our privilege permits’.

This may sound alarmist to some but lets have a look at four shocking events, three over the last few week and a historic event that occurred six years ago.

The first event occurred in Central Park last Monday . Christain Cooper is volunteer working to conserve the park and in his duties he asks members of the public to comply by the rules of keeping dogs on a leash. Christian is African American

Amy Cooper, a white woman, working at an investment bank presumably earning a six figure salary took great offense that a Black person, who in her eyes was not her equal, should be telling her how to behave. That annoyance quickly reverted to anger and menace. In her mind he had no right to be telling her what to do, she was white and that order must be preserved. Her first act is tell Christian about what her power can do and when he ignores her she innacts it.

The switch from anger at him to feigning that she is being threatened within a inch of her life has to be seen to be believed. Christian Cooper could have ended up dead with officers mistaking his camera for gun having been told she was in a life or death situation and then shooting him first, ask questions later. Thankfully the latter did not occur

The whole episode had little to do with Christian Cooper, it was all about Amy Cooper and her white supremacist world of controlling this Black man even though he could have been shot and killed

A few months before that Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, hunted down Ahmaud Arbery, 25 whilst jogging and shot him dead. In fact they were not even arrested until the video went viral over two month later . If there was no footage the murdourous duo they would not even have been arrested because a white supremacist America means that Black lives don’t matter.

To justify the killing of unarmed African Americans you first have to build a powerful narrative of fear and build in a process that dehumanises the individual. If they can be seen as inhuman or a beat to be feared and controlled rather than the same rights you would offer fellow human beings you can act in an unlawful. How else do you explain the killing of a 12 year boy Tamir Rice in a play park with a toy gun in 2014?

The dehumanising process meant that the officers did not see a child, or that the child was in a play area for children, but rather they saw a ‘black beast’ to be feared and controlled, and as such he was shot dead with no one held accountable.

What occurred to Floyd George last week was much the same. He was not aggressive, his alleged crime was not serious. His real crime was to Black in white supremacist America. To be clear it is most unlikely that a white person suspected of such a minor offence would ever be in that life and death scenario that George and others such as Eric Garner have faced. These cases are all about power and unbridled racism that can take a mans life with impunity.

The tragedies I’ve outlined in this article are sadly not isolated incidents unconnected, but rather entwined to a poisonous American system that is incapable of dealing with its inglorious past that needs to devalue and at times dehumanise black and brown people in order to maintain a white supremacist status quo.

Simon Woolley