“You can scream all you want, but you must hold my hand.”
I looked attentively at my daughter in the hopes my words meant something? My two-year-old stared straight through my eyes into the window of my frustrated soul and proceeded to let out a primal scream, the intensity of which, I wasn’t quite prepared for.
Y’see, I didn’t want my daughter to put herself in any adverse danger, so followed my paternal instincts, in an attempt to offer some form of protection to my darling, adrenaline fuelled, toddler. As my attempt at verbal communication had no relevance, I leaned into silence and let my tenderly firm grip of her hand reinforce my position.
We eventually made it home and as I opened the door, I was greeted by the broken tone of my wife who said “Have you watched the video of George Floyd?” After only a few seconds of viewing the footage, I instinctively recoiled and said “I don’t need to see anymore” and I still can’t bring myself to watch the entirety of the video, as the repetitive narrative of police brutality felt very familiar to me.
(Sidebar: If you have made it this far, I applaud you, however if you find yourself to be sensitive or easily offended then turn away and don’t look back, this is my interpretation of my experience and may make for uncomfortable reading)
The death of George Floyd sickens me to my core, yet the exploitative nature of the media continues to manipulate parts of the story to serve a malign agenda and provoke an audience. George Floyd certainly deserves better then left- or right-wing media picking at the carcass of the story, looking to tear off scraps that feed distasteful bias and an insatiable hunger for viewership.
It would be fair to say “Ty the media can only report what they find, are you saying we shouldn’t show the reality of the world we live?”
That’s exactly what I’m asking for…
A full 360-degree perspective of the world that is looking for an authentic understanding outside of simplified caricatures. You are doing a huge disservice if the focus is limited to race and not use this to look at class, poverty and lack of opportunity…which isn’t exclusive to colour and I speak as a black man, raised within the concrete walls of an inner city.
The sickening video reveals the life of a man slipping away in front of our eyes, with his neck being slowly crushed under the full body weight of an adult man. This act is fucking brutal under any circumstance, no matter the victim or the perpetrator…and regardless of an individual’s moral, social or political standing I have found no one who defends such an incomprehensible act. The footage of George Floyd transcends the police brutality media narrative; it is a violation of our humanity.
The video allows us to witness the mental breakdown of the fragile minds of men who have stayed inside the pressure cooker of law enforcement for waaaay too long. How else do you explain anyone who feels it’s appropriate to apply their full body weight on another human’s neck? Reinforced with work colleagues who just let it happen? Compounded within inadequate institutions who fail to look after, review or monitor the mental health of their front-line employees.
There is nothing more topical and triggering then the ever-green card of “race” and if you add the toneless conversations of social media into the mix, it only makes people reaffirm their positions rather than listen to the key element of nuance.
If you truly appreciate diversity; you know it can’t be measured by generalised political classifications. You have to accept no one size fits and ALL legitimate attempts to find solutions are perspectives that must be embraced. True diversity isn’t just a broad term used to classify the exterior, it is understanding the idea of a multi faceted, continually evolving, individual perspective is more than skin deep.
The media leans in hard on the race angle but subsequent reports prove very interesting because I don’t just see one race on any side of the divide…which means people are coming together because of a shared understanding, experience and mentality.
Social media is not all bad, but when the primary output is to “share” how does that allow for the counter flow of valuable receptive input? At best you have a form of communication where feelings, thoughts and opinions are cast into a digital void. The biggest error individuals on all sides make is confusing “sharing” with “doing” and the two are neither mutually exclusive or compatible.
The black square I posted via my social media had noble intent, but do you know what is really going to make a difference? Holding onto my humanity and continuing to put in the work with myself and giving my children a broader perspective that moves beyond recycled themes, slickly presented by a sensationalist media… because news stories aren’t just reported, they are chosen and selected.
I’m not fighting anyone over the intent of a hashtag; almost like the situation with my daughter, shouting at someone who has their own unique understanding, view point and perspective is never going to work. Consistency with actions and interactions based on love, guidance, understanding and mutual respect feels like a more authentic route to me.
Until next time.