I am Pained

This morning I heard a moving and sensitive account of the death of George Floyd, the Man who was handcuffed and stood upon by a US Police Officer. He was a African-American man, a Black man and he is one of the many Black men killed by a White police officers in similar circumstances. Only this time someone was near him to record the fact on their camera and it went viral. The result of this blatant unlawful killing has been rage, and outrage throughout the English speaking World and I suspect much further.

This time the reaction is not just of Black people, I saw many White young people demonstrating against the Police, and of course the actions of the President have not helped, but the things that comes strongly to my mind is ‘the ideology of race’.

I grew up thinking that there really are ‘races’ of human beings. I did not believe or accept and that some human beings are superior to other human beings because of their skin colour and therefore their superior or inferior intelligence. Later I recognised that the same ideology was applied to men verses women, and in both cases I rejected the notion of nature or the inferiority or superiority of these categories of human beings.

Any of us who saw the murder of a man because he was Black are sickened by what we saw but what action will be take? Violence to my mind is not an suitable or helpful reply, and I am glad to say that the young people who demonstrated in Trafalgar Square did not use or threaten violence and I am pained that I could not join them. Demonstrating is a wonderful way of showing solidarity but we need surely to go beyond the people who could get to Trafalgar Square, what surely is needed by all those of us who are moved by the outrageous recorded murder is to create a new World in which every life is of equal value. The divisions of race, class, gender, disability and age are man-made notions that assign power and privilege to some but not the many. It is a system like the one that created the enslavement of millions of African women, men and children. It is a system that invaded and colonised lands and people whilst claiming to bring civilisation to Africa and Asia.

I am pained by what I saw but perhaps I am not alone in wishing to see the end of the oppressions of people because of the colour of our, or our biological sex. Confronting the police is not enough, we must surely make the World anew. Me must answer the question- What are we for? Not merely what are we against.!

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