This is from Facebook, the morning that the “Guilty on all Three Counts” verdict was announced in Minneapolis.
If it seems angry…it is.
“Already this morning, I’ve seen/heard a chorus of relief and not a little self-congratulation about the Chauvin verdict. An African-American reporter saying, “Our faith is restored in the idea that justice is possible.”
What this says to me is that America is STILL a horribly racist society. In some ways, it’s even worse, now, than it was in that dark era that we all point to and of which we say, “We’ve come a long way since THAT!“
In some ways THAT era was easier. Racists in the 60s and before were open, unashamed, even brazen about it and suffered very few repercussions for their words and actions. They were easy to identify and avoid. I knew the malignant racists in my Virginia hometown and avoided them like the plague they were. Today, racists swear on their mothers’ graves that their views and attitudes are not racist…and then go out their front doors and act out their subconscious (or conscious) racism on a daily basis.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this was ONE trial, one actually rather small step, especially when you consider that what it took to FINALLY hold racist police officers and administrators and politicians accountable for the blatant murder of a black man was 9+ minutes of close-up videotape of a troglodytic sociopath obeying his worst impulses, smirking into a camera, and totally abandoning any pretense of professionalism. It beggars my mind that we were all even so afraid that the verdict MIGHT be different – were all girding our spiritual loins and bracing for riots all across America – than “Guilty on all three counts”. Could ANY twelve adults (or any twelve six-year-olds) watch that video and manage to try to defend Chauvin, if they had any hope at all of validating their claims to not be racists?
But what about the HUNDREDS of other killings of young (and old, c’mon) black men and women and CHILDREN? Are juries now going to hold them to account, too? Will this one verdict, in the most visible case ever of police racism, generate enough disgust and indignation to make jurors lose the blinders and see, clearly, racial antipathy for what it is, our society’s greatest failing? Could this single verdict START momentum toward some sort of meaningful, systemic change and put police departments on alert that they had better clean up their act, before we take the choice out of their hands and do it for them?…
I’m not holding my breath.
Here in Washington state, I heard one politician say that the state government CANNOT interfere with police departments. No? REALLY? If we get fed up enough to pass laws governing police swaggering and lack of professionalism and reserve the right – which we really already have, anyway – to disenfranchise any PD which doesn’t adhere to the standards that the community and state set for their conduct, they WILL toe that line or they can all individually start checking the want ads for jobs at McDonald’s.
It takes a certain, virulent, ingrained, unthinking brand of racism to even TRY to make an argument, like that waste of skin Tucker Carlson continues to try to do, that there is no such thing as systemic racism in America. It takes Willful Ignorance and Selective Blindness. And NOT thinking and/or behaving that way takes a determined EFFORT, pretty much since childhood, to reject the subconscious racism that seeps into the hindbrains of human beings raised to equate the terms “dark” and “black” with “evil”. “His black heart“, “Her dark motives“, “Luke, come over to The Dark Side!“, “the blackest intentions” – all a part of the vernacular of which we never even consider the full ramifications. People of color stand at the starting line of Life in America (and a LOT of other countries; C’mon, Part Deux) with one foot in a concrete block, while all us Anglos and Slavics and Scandinavians and even many Asians do jumping jacks and itch to Get Goin’ down that yellow brick road to Success and Security. If we are ever going to evolve beyond this oblivious, clumsy, destructive societal adolescence, we HAVE TO start seeing what is right there in front of us, as we saw that 9 minutes of George Floyd’s execution, instead of squatting in some neo-conservative, QAnon/Proud Boys fantasy world that we construct because we just don’t want to accept reality, like small children stamping their little feet and telling Mommy and Daddy, “I hate you!” when we don’t get that bike we REALLY wanted.
And, ultimately, eventually, we WILL either grow up and evolve past racism…or we will literally die from the sheer weight of trying to suppress an entire world of humans whose skins look different from our own.
Derek Chauvin is Guilty. Jury done said so.
Now…what will we do…NEXT?