Monday Notes: Since George Floyd’s Death…

No Justice. No Peace.After George Floyd’s death, the first thing I did was search for a way to be more active in my city. My journey began with contacting the editor of one of the Black newspapers. I was taken aback by three things: 1) every other one of her words was a cuss word; 2) she denigrated Black citizens by calling them “lazy”; and 3) she was dismissive of White people. Even though my decision was pretty clear, I slept on the meeting I was supposed to have with her and decided it wasn’t the best place to use my skill set and talents. I also reached out to a civil rights activist that I’d once interviewed to ask how I could be of help, but he never returned my call.

I’m sharing these situations because I want you to know that it wasn’t easy just because I was Black and motivated. Even in the midst of everything, it was challenging for me to find a solution that was a good fit. That’s when I took my own advice and joined Color of Change. What has been reinforced in each meeting is the importance of unity and direction. Thus far, we’ve been asked to use an app to be sure that people are registered to vote (at the least). I’ve also learned about how specific organizations are connected to why Black people do not receive justice when murdered by the police. I’ll discuss that later.

1df45dfe-5408-45a9-90c0-22faebf2fa5cNext, I decided to lean into hard conversations centered on race. Part of this includes speaking up when I feel someone has made a statement that seems to fit in the covert or overt racist category. For example, when an IG acquaintance posted about how her church fed police as a way to demonstrate “unity” during global protest focused on how police were killing Black men, I asked her a simple question: Has your church supported the BLM movement? Her answer was a disappointing no that she wholeheartedly stands by, but I feel better having broached the subject, as opposed to ignoring it altogether. And I don’t have to assume where she is on the subject. It’s quite clear.

A third thing I’ve done is begun attending our homeowners’ association meetings. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. How can I say I care about a community (e.g., our city), but not be active and care about a microcosm of that community (e.g., our neighborhood)? Guess what happened? During the meeting, I witnessed firsthand what some White women think about breaking laws or rules, and how they end up being the proverbial “Karens” we’ve seen in videos. For example, a board member’s response to college kids caught swimming in the pool at one in the morning was to call the police. Her response to people who are able to walk onto our property because there’s no gate at one entrance was to call the police. I was surprised. One of these activities is illegal, and one is not, and the consequences of calling the police depend on who the police or perpetrators are. I plan to address it from a place of concern in a letter to the Board.

pollsThe last thing I’ve done is educate myself. While some White people have been reading up on racism, etc., I thought I’d learn a little bit about two topics: voter suppression and the Fraternal Order of Police. I’ve written about voter suppression here. But FOP was new to me. Basically, elected officials sometimes take donations from the FOP. When they do that, then it makes it easier for policemen to cash in on favors, and more importantly for union leaders in different cities to speak unfavorably of the victims (unarmed Black people), as well as to deny that the killings are racially motivated. The FOP literally shapes a specific narrative. You can read more here. These two concepts have been enlightening to me, and at the least I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned with my social media community.

I think that’s about it.

What have you done since George Floyd’s death? This is more of an accountability situation than it is bragging. Plus, we can help one another do more than we’ve been doing.

If you haven’t done anything, then that’s fine too. I mean it took me eight years and several more deaths to be more involved. But one thing I realize is the only way we can do better is to actually do better.

51 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Since George Floyd’s Death…

  1. LOL!!!
    Honestly, I kinda figured she was Black because we have a family member-in-law who attends a similar church who feels the same way. Another Black friend who also attends that type church is deathly afraid of ANTIFA so no BLM for her.
    Chile please!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d say my main contribution is being much more vocal on my blog and especially in the conversations that me and Ron have every week. Sometimes I feel like it’s Seek the Worst and Expose it ALL Blog! LOL!
    Let me just say that I am disappointed, but NOT surprised about the response that you got from the police cook and picnic planner. in the words of Maya, “When people show you who they are believe them.”
    I’ve learned so much about who people really are that it is disturbing.

    Good on you for seeking and finding your place in the world of racial and social justice.

    Oh, BTW, 911 calls are a HUGE problem! As my brother said, the more frantic the call, the more aggressive the response (See: Central Park Karen trickery).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL but that name is too long Lady G lol I have noticed you’re more vocal and I’m glad. I think when we have a voice, we have a responsibility, whether we want to take it on or not.

      And yes. I should add that this was a Black woman who attends a predominantly White church. I was just amazed…she said it with such conviction, like I was crazy.

      And for sure about that 911 calls!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve focused my blog more on the slightly less long-term future and finally had the courage to argue in favor of Reparations (after letting dirty looks silence me at 2 Bible Studies in a row back in 2018…), and 2nd, I’ve gone back to my own family history to get hard evidence, which I am 3rd starting to have the courage to use in confronting people who assume or even dare to argue/insist to me that I must not be Black, and cannot speak about the lack of opportunity and the still actually existing racism in our country. 4th, I’m also starting to ratchet up my research and writing about the Fancy Trade, and connecting it to modern day sex trafficking to show how racism hits Black women hardest in that area, also in response to people who say I don’t look Black.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’ve been busy! This sounds really helpful and I think it speaks to what many of us realized…we have to start where we are, not where we wished others would be.

      By the way, the recent episode of United Shades of America was about reparations. I’d never really considered it as a viable option, until I watched that episode, so I’m glad to hear you mention it…that you would get “dirty looks” at Bible Study is funny.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks: I had initially thought that it was clear that I had action items in my posts, but a friend told me to make them more explicit (“connect the dots for me”) and connect everything more explicitly.
        I’d also never seen reparations as viable until recently. Yeah, that was really uncomfortable, but I just had to speak up: when people agree that the Hebrews deserved back-wages from the Egyptians for 400 years of slavery, I couldn’t stand it, and never did 6 little words get me such disdain! (“Like slavery reparations for Black Americans.”)

        And the next week, I just had to step in it again: 2 little words when someone said essentially the same thing! (“Like reparations.”) -I think that’s about when I stopped going to Bible Study. I knew that second time that it would be bad, but I was so angry from the previous week that I just had to say it. I just couldn’t help myself.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve started shouting at people more. Not because I want to, but because it angers me that some people, even in my own family, are not taking the BLM seriously and keep saying infuriating things as: “But surely ALL lives matter.” So yeah, shouting mainly. Not proud of it, but it happens automatically.

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  5. “The only way we can do better is to better!” I couldn’t agree more.

    Since the murder of George Floyd, I’ve assisted with forming a space for black employees at my job to speak out, I’ve co-written a letter to the CEO and COO of my employer about the concerns some of the black employees expressed during the meeting, I’ve participated in the now newly developed Diversity Committee (a recommendation I suggested), spoke up during times of discomforting and racially insentive conversations, and I’ve been more open to hear perspective instead of automatically jumping to conclusions and walking away. Tough conversations need to happen and must happen. While I continue to strive to develop my own table and seat, I will also continue to sit at the table as long as there is a seat and when there isn’t a seat; I’ll bring my own chair (paraphrase of Shirley Chisholm’s quote). I’m not just going to sit but I will also speak and keep speaking. We all have steps to take. I’m doing my best to keep stepping daily.

    Oh and yes, I’ve protested and challenged myself to do research to understand more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing these Kotrish! You’ve been busy. I especially agree with bringing your own chair and most definitely, building your own table and seat(s). That last part is where I think I am.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this perspective and insight. Your post is really honest and informative. Overall, your voice really adds to the overall post. I’ve really struggled as well with how to help and how to make efforts that are helpful and valuable. As a white woman, I have a whole range of emotions over what is happening, but none stronger than the feeling of needing to do more. I’m definitely trying to use my voice more as well. I really enjoyed your post.

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  7. I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’m in a book group that over the past 3 years has read several #ownvoice books by writers from Africa, Asia, South and Central America. Recently I’ve read many recommended books from middle grade – adult about the history of racism. It’s allowed me to speak from a position of strength when I’m confronted with racist comments. As a teacher, I like to read a variety of sources to form my own understanding.
    The other night, I spoke with a biracial friend who identifies as black and whose wife is an Immigrant from Columbia. The challenges are endless, and I know this year has been exceptionally difficult. I try to be an ally and listen.

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  8. Incredibly powerful and moving post Dr. G. Your openness and willingness to share your own ups and downs in your journey. “It took me 8 years” creates a safe space for your readers to drop our ‘defence mechanisms’ built in to protect our own egos – and look honestly at what we have done and not done. For me: my perception has shifted dramatically since BLM. Being a psychology professor, I have the opportunity to work with both black students and young black leaders in across Canada. YET my own compassion and empathy has always been rooted in my own white experience. BLM opened my eyes to all the ways I can lift my black students up. To give them more of a voice. From the cover photos on my textbooks to active inquiry and inclusion. THANK YOU DR. G for continuing to be a teacher to us all. And a fellow student in this classroom of life. Dr. D xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for these words. What you mention (representation on the book) is something that is integral in conversations about race/racism, in general. It’s something White people, in particular, rarely consider…I mean I get why. It’s like asking a fish is it wet. When someone’s a part of the mainstream culture, they rarely have to consider what is exclusive, so I’m happy to hear about this and your other shifts.

      And absolutely about the eight years. I’ve tried very hard, for the last few years, to be less judgmental. Turns out it’s a much more inviting way to be 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Your experience of trying to get involved is indicative of the broader issues we are seeing with our social movements. There is no clear direction or a solid form of leadership that others can take note of. I look at it in the same way a corporation operates. They compete. They have different missions/products. In the end they have a common thread of making money. That common ground is why they are able to influence our media and our government policies.

    I’m not saying that race doesn’t matter, but the way corporations operate let you know that they love when race matters come about. It becomes a sort of distraction when on one hand you have a church giving free meals to police and on the other and another church trying to get laws passed to reform policing. While we fight over these things organizations like the FOP rake in donations for those against these social movements while creating content in the form of extremism that muddles the message. Without a clear leader or spokesperson for the movement it is easy for organizations to pick the worst of us as the face of a movement.

    I personally was working with disaffected youth before COVID (in a limited capacity), but since I’ve moved I have not been as active as I would like to be.

    Best of luck to you in your pursuits. I hope you can find an effective way to reform our society even if in micro doses.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this comment. You’ve interpreted my intentions perfectly and I appreciate it. I used to question why Black people, in particular, keep searching for a leader, but it seems that we do need one, even if it’s just for a unified voice. I’m not sure that’s possible, though, given how diverse we are within the actual so-called race.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. After I was emotionally stable again, I actively wrote my representatives for police reform and attending “virtual” community discussions on anti-racism while supporting black businesses/entrepreneurs and practicing self-care. In my mind, they are equally important. Also, even though I didn’t really want to be that vulnerable or educate white folks who asked what they could do, I had some very raw conversations with white co-workers, expecting a call from HR that never came.

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    1. The self-care piece was never more evident as it was in this time frame, so I’m happy to see you’ve added it here. I felt the same with White people. I did the same, but chose who and what I’d discuss.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, the self-care kept me whole. I realized after a half dozen conversations with White folks who wanted to be “allies” or basically be told how to be human that I didn’t want to do that anymore. It felt like a burden that wasn’t mine and I set a hard boundary. I spend that time on self-care now too.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. It sounds like you’ve been very proactive, Kathy. I personally feel that voting is the best way to make a difference and to try to create change, not just on the federal level, but in our state and local elections and primaries. Our state primary is today and I will be voting. I know it sometimes seems like voting doesn’t make a difference, but it’s truly our right and civic duty, I believe. I have attended several town hall style forums on race, including Lift Black Men’s Voices, one called What is White Fragility, and another White People, Here’s What You Need to Know that a former student and her recently founded organization held. I attended these events to listen, learn, and try to be part of the solution. I have donated to senate candidates outside of my state (for example, Kentucky) hoping to help candidates more aligned with my view of embracing a diverse America. I am also speaking up more when I hear someone say something that I don’t feel is right. I like to believe that in my work as a TRIO professional, I am also making a positive difference by helping students who are first generation to college, from low income families, and from populations underrepresented at the predominantly white university where I work earn their college degrees. Sometimes I still feel like none of this is enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get fired up very easily Kim lol

      I agree about voting. I’m not sure about this year, but I think the whole purpose is mainly to just oust Trump, who seems to be fighting with all his might to cheat and stay in…anywho…

      We’re all doing enough, unless we’re doing nothing, so I’d say you’ve been just as busy as I have 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  12. What you are doing is excellent! For a variety of reasons too lengthy to get into, I would not be one to protest in the streets but instead, I’m making a point of saying my piece and asking questions to those around and above me who are not accustomed to explaining their viewpoints. Of course, I do it in a diplomatic way but with a purpose to have them reflect on how dismissive they are perhaps being. And if they are unable to “reflect”, they quickly realize that they may need to step back and simply listen to the experiences of others. Yeah, a few well- placed “What do you mean by that?” questions can make a Zoom call go quiet…I’m considering that as my extra contribution to what I’ve done in the past.

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  13. Well yikes about the newspaper editor, that experience must have been frustrating. Oh I would like to ask about the Color of Change group ? Do they work locally , city to city ? I was thinking of signing up but I don’t always like giving out my phone numbers for privacy reasons . I would like to get a bit more active in my community as well , and taking down facebook and making zuckerberg acountable for the hate speech on FB sounds like a plan . Also my city’s police budget was absolutely ridiculous! And sorry I’ve been getting all political on your posts 😅

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    1. It’s all good Krystle. You’re like my internet daughter lol

      Yes it was super frustrating because I thought for sure I ‘d be able to help there, you know? I’m a writer. It’s a newspaper…but whatever lol

      Yep…for Color of Change, go here: https://act.colorofchange.org/signup/signup?source=coc_website_popup

      But you are gonna have to give them your cell phone number. That’s how they communicate primarily and through email.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Alrighty thanks for the info . I may sign up . My fiancé and I did for certain political campaigns and the red for ed thing for schools . But it can be odd getting wierd alerts lol . They should make a discord server . Its super private and invitation only . But thats just me being into new stuff .
        ☺️So happy I found your blog too ! Its very informative and I learn new things from your writing .

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  14. Admittedly, I’ve done nothing concrete since George Floyd’s death, but I’ve opened my heart to learning more about how racism manifests itself and some of the history. Hopefully this turns into something I DO as well as LEARN. It’s all so complex and your action of getting directly involved in your community is such a wise one. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. It is difficult to know where and how to help and I appreciate you sharing your story. Gets the wheels turning. I find I am more aware of what people post on social media and have started to research (credible) information to counter some of what is posted.

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  16. Your multi-faceted approach is impressive and laudable. I’ve initiated conversations with many family members and friends about BLM and put a sign in my yard (one of only two in our mostly white neighborhood). I also urge them to vote in November for candidates who support change and equality. I sent in applications for absentee ballots for myself and my hubby. I heard mail-in ballots will require 2 stamps and have tried to disseminate that info widely on my social media. I am usually lazy about carrying my cell phone but making an effort to have it with me and know how to use it, should I need to record something. Had there not been a video of how things went down with George Floyd, he would not have had any chance of getting justice. And I’m generally more observant of police interactions with citizens, especially POC.

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    1. Thanks for sharing these Joan (and for your compliment). I think it’s so important for each of us to do as much as we can. How can we expect the government or police to do better/more, if we’re not willing to do better/more?

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing your approaches and observations, Kathy. OMG, how your observations speak to the enormity of the challenge. Our greatest shame. And I say that as a Canadian. Racism is not limited to the US by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve struggled with what I, as an old white woman in a small remote place, can do. I started a Social Justice Saturday blog series several weeks ago and I’m sad to report that it has received the least take-up of anything I post. It’s like people just don’t want to hear bad things anymore. I won’t stop, but I am disappointed in the response. You feel like you’re speaking into the abyss.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I LOVE Social Justice Saturday! It’s my favorite, next to those informative maps. I’m glad you are continuing to write and share them. It’s important for a lot of reasons and I’m sure you’re helping someone gain perspective.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks, Kathy. I love writing them and definitely won’t stop; my voice is all I have. But it is discouraging how few people want to know, or at least step up to the plate. We can keep encouraging each other from very different vantage points.

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  18. I have become more of an active speaker on this subject too. I am a woman of dual heritage, my father is black and my mother is white meaning my skin is lighter and most people pass me off as being white. Im incredibly proud of my Jamaican heritage so decided to take this in my own hands in my work place. I’ve had several conversations and held an hour long group call/discussion to speak on the topics of privilege and what the Black Lives Matter statement actually means. I think a lot of what’s happened has opened my eyes to the privilege I have that some of my own family members don’t just because of the colour of my skin. I plan to continue to use my voice to anybody who will hear!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Olivia! Yours is a nuanced one that I don’t hear enough about. I mean I’ve always understood people who identify as biracial are sometimes torn between two identities, but I’m glad you used the phrase “people pass me off as being white,” because it’s really other people’s issue and way of placing a racial identity onto you. That’s heavy in itself.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You’re so right, its up to me what I identify with as my race. A lot of mixed race people I know say they are white and thats fine, its totally everybody’s choice to identify with what they want to. But I choose to embrace it.

        Liked by 4 people

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