What White People Can do Next!


Slim and The Queen

George Floyd’s death was absolutely preventable says a leading cardiologist, how bizarre that the prosecution was required to “humanize” George Floyd for the jury so he was not seen as an object. He was dehumanized by Chauvin, his death embodied the terrible history of the USA in it’s relationship to African Americans.

Why on earth are they required to tell the court GF was a “momma’s boy” if not for fear of the innate prejudices they might encounter in a jury? How bizarre they have to say how he was loved in the community. They want to give a “rounded” view!!!

In the end none of this is relevant, only the simple fact that Chauvin had a knee to his throat for nine minutes!! No matter who or what GF was or had done – this was the crime.

At the same moment as GF is being humanized Daunte Wright is shot dead in Minneapolis. A boy of 20 driving his car is pulled over!! He has to die. This feels endless and terrfiying. It is scarily reminiscent of the beautiful film Slim and the Queen which I recommend to everybody. https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/tv-movies/a29993538/queen-and-slim-real-story/. IT “ follows a black couple on the run after they shoot a police officer in an act of self-defense”.  As writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas told OprahMag.com, the film is a love letter to the Black community. Even Rihanna gave it her stamp of approval.

This film captivated me, I cared for and loved the characters, I feel at one with them in their humanit. I have nothing in common with Chauvin or any racist person or policeman. Yet, I feel ashamed, not for the first time in my life. I take all this personally. I also feel powerless. What can I do?

Emma Dabiri has written a book called “what white people can do next”! She says “abandon guilt..as a white person dwelling in either state as a response to racism is self-indulgent and white-centred, it will also dictate that you prioritise making yourself feel better rather than bringing about meaningful change”. She is so right and it is an easy trap to fall into, I put my hands up.

What can I do? I chose long ago to challenge racism and anti-semitism at every opportunity and I have occasionally put myself at risk to do so. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” – Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee’s Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime

For me Emma Dabiri’s clearest advice is “stop reducing black people to one dimension”. Black people are people with the full range of complexity, contradiction and emotion that comes with our humanity” I give myself a qualified tick for this one – but can I ever completely get rid of the shame – that is work in progress!