By Dr. Denise R. Ames
The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer has sent shock waves throughout the United States, and even the world. My point in this blog is to reflect upon what I see as some of the topics or questions that are being ignored or not sufficiently addressed. It is a good time to start to deeply reflect upon what the events mean to us as Americans, and internalize these thoughts and reflections to start the process of rebuilding something different. In a larger sense, the fate of our country depends on our responses.
The following are #3, #4, and #5 of my 12 Reflections:
#3. The Looting/Rioting Element
Much of the liberal media separated the protesters from the looters with a sharp dividing line. In fact, in the early days of the event, for example, PBS News Hour barely mentioned the mayhem in the streets and destruction of property, much of it disproportionately affecting the people hardest hit by the pandemic and rioting. Some of the conservative media conflates the two in one broad sweep. Either way you look at it, the looters/rioters played a huge and destructive role in events and their destructive role should be called out.
#4. Class: The Unmentionable Word
As I saw it, I conflated African Americans participating in the event into two “classes.” Largely, middle class young blacks were marching for the end of police brutality and supporting Black Lives Matter, while many “underclass” blacks were looting in the streets. I read the account of one reporter who joined the protests and noted the two groups. He pointed out that when an opportune time came, the looters broke from the larger group to carry out their unlawful acts. As noted in point #3, these two groups are quite different and I if the trends continue, reforms and policies that are advanced will disproportionately help those who need it least, and will not address the real needs of the black underclass.
#5. Black on Black Violence
I have seen where black on black violence is now considered a racist term, but I can’t find any other term to succinctly describe it. Despite the “contested” term, it is the elephant in the room when it comes to police reform and trying to remedy inequality. There are good statistics and studies that show the number of black victims at the hands of other blacks is staggering. It dwarfs the number of unarmed blacks that police shoot each year (9 in 2019). But it is largely unmentioned in discussions about reform among those on the left. These out-of-control killings are terrorizing neighborhoods and killing defenseless black citizens. It is such a tragedy that it cannot be ignored.
About the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames
Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.
Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!
Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.
It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.
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