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Racism? Questions to ask about George Floyd’s tragedy

Today is just a personal journal on the recent protest regarding racism that is sparked by the tragedy of George Floyd. Today is the seventh day of protest, some looting in the disguise of protest, and how leaders are responding or reacting to all these.

I am not academia, I am just someone who has a passion, or maybe I should say that I understand the importance of diversity. Not only in the workplace, but also in our daily lives. So please don’t hold me for not having the most technically corrected terms, it is just my personal journal.

I first learnt about the tragedy of George Floyd was the day that I thought he was illegally killed (What I believe in anyway). When I started watching the video, I had already known that he had died shortly afterward, so I watched the first few seconds and I had stopped. I had watched videos or clips of people losing their lives for stupid reasons, and extremely unfortunate events such as at the wrong place at the wrong time. But George’s video was different. It is the first video that I have seen that someone’s life is being taken away for unjust reasons. It got only worse when I found that no one was held responsible.

Since then, I have witnessed all the protests across the United States, and how people longed for justice for racism actions.

Racism is the prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

After watching the video, and with more information available in the media about the incident, I have tried to analyze and do my part to understand what has happened.

And recently, there were also many protests regarding the restrictions of COVID-19, people in the United States came out to protest, and some pictures show that even gunmen protesters carry weapons into the governor’s office in Michigan.

I had to wonder what was happening, and how come a black person who is outnumbered by armed police on a random street is killed by the lethal force, while a group of heavily armed military wannabe can stand outside of a Governor’s office with no consequence?

I don’t want to jump into conclusion what causes the difference in treatments by the authorities, but we can ask questions. We can start with Mr. Floyd’s tragedy.

Note: I am asking random questions myself, not meant to be exhaustive or exclusive.

Did George Floyd do anything that threaten the life of the policemen?

I didn’t see any. I saw talking, and the police officers were putting George on handcuffs. I couldn’t hear what they said, but nothing looked threatening to me from George’s actions. .

Did George Floyd threaten the policemen’s life?

We can’t tell what George had said to the police officers. We can’t be sure if George threatened the policemen’s lives by saving something that indicates that. However, from an objective evidence point of view with the available videos, the FOUR police officers had full control of George’s movement and there is no reason to overreact to anything that he said.

Were the police officers too crowded on George Floyd’s body so they have to “make space” to knee on his neck?

Well.. does it take 4 grown men to put weight on one person to suppress motion? it may if you ask 4 average Asian men to suppress Shaq O’Neal, it may not be enough. However, from what I saw, 4 may be overkill. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on George’s neck didn’t look like he had no choices buy kneeling on his neck to me..

Overall, I didn’t see any actions, or exchange, or even any objective pieces of evidence that you need three officers to put weight on George and on top of that to kneel on his neck.

now, let me ask some hypothetical questions. I don’t pretend I know the answers…

  1. Did the police officers act how they acted because they knew George or they have a history with him?
  2. Did the police officers assume George is dangerous because he was accused of using a counterfeit bill?
  3. Were the police officers too afraid of George’s body size that they think they need to exhibit such overpower force?
  4. Did Derek think George was telling the truth when he said he couldn’t breathe? so it goes back to question 1, did they know each other?

Now, let’s ask some more core question.

  • Would the police officers act differently if George was white? Asian? Hispanic?
  • Would the police officers act differently if it was outside Michigan’s governor’s office?
  • Would the police officers act differently if Derek was just protesting for Covid?

No one knows.

Now, the media shows that Derek has many complaints in his file for misconduct.

  • Did the police force management do their job to make sure a dangerous person like Derek Chauvin is being looked into?
  • Would Derek act the same if that’s a white person in the same situation?
  • Is Derek a Racism person? if so how can we show it and is it a hate crime against someone in police custody?

Lastly, I don’t think it is fair to blame every police officers for some bad actors in the police force, especially in a country with over 300 Million people. However, I am sure Derek isn’t the only person who thinks he didn’t do nothing wrong.

On the record, I think he is very wrong and deserve every ounce of justice. He took someone’s life and that’s avoidable.

OK. I know I am only asking questions, with no answer. I won’t have the answers, but I think these are important questions.

Sorry for not providing much insights in this post.

Questions we should ask about George Floyd and Derek Chauvin?

  • Did George Floyd do anything that threaten the life of the policemen?
  • Did George Floyd threaten the policemen’s life?
  • Were the police officers too crowded on George Floyd’s body so they have to “make space” to knee on his neck?
  • Did the police officers act how they acted because they knew George or they have a history with him?
  • Did the police officers assume George is dangerous because he was accused of using a counterfeit bill?
  • Were the police officers too afraid of George’s body size that they think they need to exhibit such overpower force?
  • Did Derek think George was telling the truth when he said he couldn’t breathe? so it goes back to question 1, did they know each other?
  • Would the police officers act differently if George was white? Asian? Hispanic?
  • Would the police officers act differently if it was outside Michigan’s governor’s office?
  • Would the police officers act differently if Derek was just protesting for Covid?
  • Did the police force management do their job to make sure a dangerous person like Derek Chauvin is being looked into?
  • Would Derek act the same if that’s a white person in the same situation?

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About the author

Susanne Ricee

Susanne Ricee is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and Researcher at Diversity for Social Impact. Sue brings over 15 years of HR and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion consultation experience.
Sue's previous experience includes Microsoft, Target, and Kraft. Sue is also the manager of Diversity Leadership Directory