The Beginning of the End for Unearned Authority

At last glance it looks like we are up to almost 600 documented episodes of police violence during the George Floyd protests. An attorney and mathematician have compiled a google doc titled “GeorgeFloyd Protest – police brutality videos on Twitter”.

Greg Doucette and mathematician Jason Miller have all the receipts, doing the massively time-consuming work to locate these depraved videos all in one place. Undeniable and powerful, there is no room left for anyone sane and decent to deny this is happening. This is the resource to provide to any dim stragglers, those claiming ignorance or any of the other forms of denial some older white Americans seem keen to continue with. A haunting fact being this is simply what has been caught on video—the violence stretches like grains of sand in our culture—unending and vast. Those who continue to deny this reality are simply entrenched in their own racism and authoritarianism. Logic, proof, and empathy are not what those lost souls are about. But those who can still be reached—perhaps this will spark life into their seemingly dead cardiac tissue.

Our entire mode of modern “civilized” life has been predicated on certain professions and distinct wealth classes having the first, and often only, say in the direction of our lives. The vast population being subjected to their whims as well as their sociopathic tendencies. This moment in time is not simply a protest of one murder, but the beginning of the end for the unearned entitlements in our society. The bravery of the Black Lives Matter movement cannot be overstated and their willingness to plunge forward and demand systemic dismantling is a watershed moment in history.

There is no way those of us who are white can ever comprehend living life with this kind of default fear or how terrifying it would be to anxiously see our sons and daughters go outside, worrying that they will get on the wrong side of someone steroided up and looking for a  feeling of individual supremacy.

It is for us to aid and support and to dismantle in any way we can. Any success that may come in terms of bringing George Floyd’s murderer and accomplices to justice cannot be viewed as an end point. Breonna Taylor still has no justice. And you can insert literally millions of names into the statement “______” has no justice. The heinous individuals who have skated by on the lightness of their skin will need to have a worth as a human in the future by caring for others. The simple lack of melanin won’t cut it any longer. This is how it should always have been, but the lowly and honorless found ways through history to enslave others. They succeeded simply because the decent were too quiet and tacitly accepted the perversion as normal. We have all seen in a small way how the outrageous can become normalized (just watch the mainstream media dissect a Trump press conference as if any response beyond “that fucker is batshit crazy” is appropriate). This is how we get to a place like this. All minor injustice needs to be met with a mountain of opposition.

The only fitting response to the horror is to honor those who have been victims is through the wholesale restructuring of society. Until this sickening and toxic framework is gone, there will always be the need for an “other” to harm. This must be the beginning. The moment in time of the great unraveling, not an unraveling to fear, but one that pulls apart the confines and limitations that bind.

I’ve been writing and considering these needs for societal overhaul for so long with a grim feeling that the changes would never come to pass. We all talk and commiserate, but truly don’t know how to bring about change. BLM and their associated activists are discarding the notion that these changes cannot occur. I believe they will be viewed as the liberators who delivered the paradigm earthquake.

This younger generation of activists has restored my sense of the possible.

Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.