I’ve never been a victim of racism, and I don’t live in fear that I will. I understand that puts me in a privileged position.
I feel outrage at the death of George Floyd, and saddened at the way those protesting for justice have been treated. But I know I don’t fully understand the horror of the situation that others feel so acutely.
In some ways I don’t feel that another white voice is needed; that there are many more black voices who can speak/shout more eloquently, more intelligently and more powerfully than I can. But that misses the point. We each have a voice – black or white – and those voices should have equal value.
As someone who has never been the victim of racism, it can be hard to talk about racism. I’ve been very publicly accused of being racist. And so I often refuse to comment – not out of fear, but out of a sense of disqualification.
But my silence adds weight to the knee on the neck of George Floyd and countless others who have gone before him.
Kneeling is usually a gesture which symbolises submission, deference & respect. But the policeman who knelt on George Floyd’s neck used it to exert force & ultimately expel life.
Symbolically, I kneel alongside those who are protesting on their knees as a mark of peace in spite of their anger and rage, and in the face of outrageous provocation; and I kneel with the Police Officers who have acknowledged their unconscious part in systemic racism through the Police Force, and have taken to their knees to diffuse some of the fear & anger of the people they’re policing.
Black lives matter. And black lives are as precious as any other.