America is reeling. Before we could emerge from the fog of Covid-19, we were thrust into the saga of the George Floyd killing and the subsequent unrest. When events like this play out before a nation on video, raw emotion can erupt. In this case, it was amplified by shelter-in-place orders, massive unemployment claims, and small businesses teetering on extinction.
Over the past two weeks, we have seen peaceful protests, but also looting, businesses torched, attacks on police, and the desecration of some of the nation’s most revered memorials. All of this is numbing. Recently, I thought that I had finally turned the corner on my anger over the Floyd killing. (I’m African-American myself.) “Where do we go from here?” I wondered. “How do we get something positive out of this?”
But then the demands shifted. Cries for justice morphed into “Defund the police.” We started hearing calls from white Americans to do something to help ease the difficulties blacks are facing. On the surface, this seems good; the intentions definitely are good. The problem is that, with no context or reference to what is needed in the black community, and often with few black friends or colleagues to consult, many Americans—from those in corporate America to vocal social media consumers—are throwing support and resources behind Black Lives Matter, without considering carefully what the group actually stands for.