Time for reflection, self-education

If you have awakened from a comfortable sleep wondering how we as a nation got here, it is clearly time for deeper reflection. With the video documenting George Floyd’s death after more than eight minutes beneath a Minneapolis police officer’s knee, the veil has at least for now been lifted from the plague of police violence that too many Americans still deny.

While Floyd’s tragic, needless death was only the latest of many fatal attacks on black men and women, America, like a sick patient, is now feeling something, where earlier it was seemingly numb to news of yet another extrajudicial death.

We’ve been here before: injustice, protests, riots.

Yet nothing changes.

The question is what are we personally willing to do?

If you think it’s black people’s job to fix racism — and no one else’s — you’ve got work to do.

If you fled an autocratic regime for our freedoms, but are OK with a democratically elected American president unleashing the U.S. military on his own citizens — who are exercising their freedom of expression, by the way — you’re a hypocrite.

If black looters are the biggest problem you see, watch video of the white ones, so you’re fully informed.

If you are more outraged over lost property than lost lives, check your heart.

If even peaceful black demonstrations rattle you, then you should really be frightened by the left-wing anarchists and white supremacists — including those in police uniforms — who have hijacked legitimate protests against police violence.

If you’re cool with former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, but outraged that Colin Kaepernick knelt on a football field, you’re delusional — and want to be.

If you’re bothered by the violence in the streets, but shrug off police violence, you’re complicit.

If you are appalled by police violence, then organize — but not in the streets this time — and demand meetings with police chiefs to discover their anti-racist policies, that is, if they have any. And take along video of their officers acting badly.

If you’re not black and feel compelled to call the police on a black person for simply breathing the same air as you, back off. Who the hell are you?

If you’re waving the Confederate flag or spray-painting swastikas, you’re no patriot, you’re a menace to society.

If you haven’t ever really talked to black friends or colleagues about their challenges and fears, then you’re a coward. Ask them, and listen. Remember, it’s not about you. And don’t — do not — tell them to “get over it.”

If your kid calls a classmate the n-word, don’t shrug it off. You’re raising a little racist. Not good.

If you’re shocked that police officers, and even police chiefs, have breached the code, stepped out of the thin blue line and decried how Floyd was killed, kneeling in support of protesters — as happened in Coral Gables over the weekend — well, so are we. But it’s an opportunity for reform. Use it, people.

If you are asking, “What’s next?” demand the county revisit creating a community oversight board; hold electeds accountable and ask why they are so beholden to police unions; collaborate with social-justice groups that are actually accomplishing something you believe in.

We all must be willing to start looking inward to determine if — just maybe — we are perpetuating attitudes and environments that give cover, breath and life to the Derek Chauvins of the world.

— The Miami Herald; Online: https://www.miamiherald.com/