Our first BLM rally, and what Catholics can do

We went to our first Black Lives Matter rally today. I was emboldened by our bishop, Peter Libasci, who went to a vigil last night. He brought with him the stump of the Easter Candle. No one was able to go to the Easter Vigil, because churches were locked down, but he brought a light with him, and shared it. 

A friend who was there gave me permission to share these photos:

So today we painted up some signs and went to our local rally, which my husband was covering. I wanted to make a point of being there as a Catholic, so black Catholics could see that they’re not alone. Here is what we came up with (on somewhat short notice):

We brought masks and hand sanitizer and parked several blocks away. We took three cars and arranged a secondary meeting spot if things got hairy. I didn’t expect any violence, but you never know, so we only brought the teenagers, no little kids. 

It was a pretty good crowd for our area. Maybe 600 people? I’m not good at estimating. Loud enough to make a real roar when we got going. We were in the commons that traffic was constantly circling, and people laid on their horns and made an enormous ruckus for about two hours. The city we were in, Keene, is 92.07% white, but I saw many more people of color than usual at the rally. 

Here is a pic my husband took of me and some of my kids:

The crowd was probably 60% people in their 20’s or younger, but there were many old men and women, and including some episcopal clergy and people dressed like, well, New England rednecks, with ill-fitting tank tops and neck tattoos. Nearly everyone had masks, although the social distancing left something to be desired. A few organizers were walking around handing out masks, and several people walked around offering bottled water.

I saw a few ACAB signs and a few calling for the police force to be dismantled. A few signs were profane and some that were just unintelligible, and seemed to be made by people working out their personal issues with cardboard and ballpoint pen. Most of the slogans were expressions of solidarity, calls for justice, and “black lives matter.”

 I was on the calmer side of the commons. We chanted “I can’t breathe” “Black lives matter,” and some call and response: “Say his name: George Floyd” and “Say her name: Breonna Taylor” and “No justice: No peace.” 

A sheriff and some police officers were walking around holding signs that said “We hear you.” I thanked one of them, and he seemed surprised. 

The only person I saw who was carrying anything that resembled a weapon was this fellow. 

He explained that he was there to defend local businesses. His services were not required, though. 

A white man kept circling the crowd waving a huge American flag with a Trump flag attached to the back. He was followed by a small group, but one protestor, Keene resident Tay Jennings, who is black, got in front of the others and held them back, repeatedly urging them, “Let him be, let him be.” 

I prayed, “Jesus, keep everyone safe.” Eventually the flag man left. When the flag man came around, the police officers folding up their “we are listening” signs and took out their radios. A drone hovered overhead and a helicopter kept circling. 

A whiskery old man in a backwards baseball cap cruised around the commons repeatedly, singing — something, maybe sea chanteys and gospel music, and shouting, “Keep it peaceful! Keep it peaceful!” leaving a wake of alcohol fumes. 

I couldn’t hear the speeches at all, and didn’t want to get into the middle of the crowd, so we stayed on the periphery.

There weren’t a lot of kids there. One was the four-year-old daughter of Tay Jennings.

Another child held a sign she had evidently made herself, reading, “I’m sorry that George died.” 

A white mother carried her black son with a sign that said, “When do I stop being cute and start being dangerous?”

I’m ambivalent about giving protest signs to children. 

My sign, “Jesus hates racism,” got some attention from passing drivers. A woman who looked to be in her fifties slowed down and snarled, “Why don’t you get down on your knees and shut your mouth?” I laughed, not knowing what else to do. One other woman had a sneer and some angry response, but several people nodded and called, “Yes, he does!” and one woman shouted happily, “I hate racism, too!” 

We left after about two hours. I don’t know how much longer people congregated in the park. I was glad my kids were there to see what there was to see. 

Now, we live tucked away far from danger. I want to stress: This was a very low risk, positive experience for us. I understand that many people, for various reasons, cannot participate in rallies, and there are rallies that are very different from this one. But if you are Catholic and if you can speak out, you should, somehow or other. You should let the world know, in a way that makes sense for your station in life, that Catholics reject and revile racism.

And speaking out is not enough. I know that. The whole time, I kept thinking, “This is the exciting part. This can’t be all we do.” It’s exhilarating to stand there screaming “Whoooooooo!” and “Yeah!” while trucks honk their horns and people grin and cheer. But this can’t be all we do.  

Here is a thread that collects video of police brutality at rallies

What else can we do? 

Here is a statement from Karianna Frey and Leticia Adams, Catholics who started the #rendyourhearts movement:

We are Catholics, and Catholics of Color, who are exhausted by the continued systemic, institutional, and implicit racism in the United States and at times in our Catholic Church and the effects on the targets of it.

We are broken-hearted for our Black brothers and sisters who for years have been ignored, dismissed, and marginalized by our Country.

We pray for justice for the victims of racism in all its forms, but especially, lethal, and their families and communities. We stand in solidarity with them as Catholic Christians and as Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
We believe in the Catholic Church, founded by Christ, and sustained by the Eucharist.

We are one body in Christ and therefore we have a responsibility to fight against the demonic force of racism.
As such, we invite you to join us in observing a nineteen-day period of prayer and fasting as an act of reparation to God for the sin of racism in all of its forms.
From the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, on June 1 through June 19, Juneteenth Day and the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we will pray the Prayer to St. Michael for his protection from spiritual attack, and/ or join our Lady of Sorrows in praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, and will make daily sacrifices appropriate to our own circumstances for this intention.

This call to action is based on the words of Joel 2:12-13: “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Believing in the longstanding Catholic concept of making Acts of Reparation, my friends @kariannafrey and @leticiaoadams have written this statement.

You can share your own words and/or images using the hashtag #rendyourhearts. You can also participate privately if you prefer.

#CatholicChurch #Catholic #antiracism #OneBody #CatholicsforRacialJustice #BlackCatholic #BrownCatholic

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163 thoughts on “Our first BLM rally, and what Catholics can do”

  1. As a Catholic in California and a Latino Mexican American, I am completely in utter disbelief that Marxist BLM is completely manipulating you, especially white people have you lost all your self worth?

    At the very moment, BLM Activist Shaun King is calling for destroying Jesus Christ statues, which means Catholic statues. We have already been attacked in OC, and just the other day Father Juniper Statue in San Francisco.

    What a hypocrisy on every level, where they state that peace and justice is their goal when this is the complete opposite of that message. As brotherhood Catholics we are being asked stand and will defend our churches, our priest, our nuns and most of all our family communities which are at risk of being attacked more by this complete and utter uneducated so called organization. Most of you from the look at the pictures above have no interaction and with African American people and have no clue to their culture and challenges they have gone through like us Mexican Americans, yet you act that in the name of justice you support their cause. You have no clue.

    We are Catholic and we are willing to die for the cross and defend our churches. Wake up already! Limbo zombies are you! Reverse racism is actually happening and as White People you need to defend your right to be white and proud, just as Latinos are proud, Blacks are proud and Asians are proud! Stop being controlled to think you are at fault for how African Americans have been treated. We as Latinos have succeeded in many ways through the unification of our communities, business and as Catholics. The lack of real world community unification through the African American communities is not your fault, or ours as Latinos. Look at the areas where they have done well and understand that they too can have a better life and more opportunities, but it starts with them to take chances in business.

    We as Catholics will defend all races who protect our faith. Wake up people!

  2. I know it’s been a while, but I read this article this morning and wanted to share it. Yes, there is a Black Lives Matter organization that promotes some issues that are contrary to Church teaching. But they don’t have a monopoly on the phrase “black lives matter” any more than the pro-abortion movement has a monopoly on the term “choice”. Not all people who protest against racism and proclaim that black lives matter necessarily support the organization that goes by that name and holds positions that are contrary to Church teaching. And just because someone says “black lives matter” doesn’t mean they don’t believe that all lives matter. It means they’re focusing on black lives in this case as a response to racism. Link to the article below. Some of the comments are obnoxious, but the article itself is balanced and well written.

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/06/17/can-catholics-support-black-lives-matter/?fbclid=IwAR3MKqgkPJuyvwEAyGQ-aPlB_nO15bfff0Mg4skOHzVy7MdkRa–KhnpYNE

  3. My life matters to me more than the life of a black man.

    The “White Privilege” slur denigrates the industry, intellect, and accomplishments of white people. If anyone accuses you of being guilty of it, know that person is an ideological racist who hates you. Anyone who uses that slur to accuse their own selves of this putative Cultural Marxist Sin is one who hates their own selves and, by extension God who created them white.

    1. Actually, your slur “My life matters more to me than the life of a black man” is the epitome of hate (as well as selfishness).

        1. You’re right Charlotte. The white supremacist trolls are really hard to ignore. But I will do my best going forward.

  4. The irony of a professed Catholic taking a knee for BLM and Antifa, two socialist terror ground is , unfortunately, all too common. Jesus or Luther , Simcha? (Luther is the seed for Marxism, Socalism, Communism))

    My guess is she was more into this than mass. If she went.

    For the record, whites are killed by cops more than blacks, and cops are killed more than either group. All this pandering does is give power to the race hustlers, anarchists and leftwing billionaires like Soros while exacerbating and further diving any problems we may have had.

    Doesn’t anyone find it odd that ever since Barack Obama became president and promised to unify the nation the opposite has happened? When you look at the fact that he was a community “organizer”(agitator) who was mentored by communist Frank Marshall Davis, was a student of Saul Alinsky (who dedicated his book to Satan) and was friends with terrorist Bill Ayers, it should come together.

    What I’m saying is that there are no good Catholics that can support this movement. It’s goal division, ruination and revolution. It is diabolical. It’s a sin to take a knee for such an enterprise.

    1. What’s really ironic someone being allowed to use Simcha’s platform to accuse her of being just a “professed” Catholic. And even more ironic is Catholics who are more horrified by a Catholic taking a knee against police brutality than a police officer who took a knee to someone’s neck and killed him.

    2. “What I’m saying is that there are no good Catholics that can support this movement.”

      True statement given what BLM supports.

  5. Agree that anyone might disagree with some of goals of Black Lives Matter, but if white people disagree, perhaps there is greater risk of being labeled racist, whereas if it is a black person who rejects BLM, then the perspective might be more readily considered by others. Thus, when I discovered his article, it was convenient to let him give his opinion rather than me presenting more of my own opinion. I’ve heard Ryan speak, too, but had not seen this article of Ryan’s till maybe the last 24 hours. Until I read it, I had not known that Black Lives Matters has taken a position on abortion that is contrary to 2,000 years of Catholic teaching on sanctity of unborn life. I know several black pro-life leaders who are extremely concerned about what some call black genocide in that even though blacks are a minority, they have a much higher per capita rate of abortion than white women. One could come up with various reasons for this, but the fact remains that black women have a disproportionate number of abortions compared to white women, and many suffer because of their abortions. Dr. Karen Stevenson is an African American psychiatrist in the greater Atlanta area who leads Rachel’s Vineyard retreats to help women recover from the effects of abortion. She has written two books, one is Heart Cries and Healing, which is specifically about the impact of abortion on black women and how it is often not addressed in black churches (she is not Catholic but it is an excellent book, which I have read) and also “Slavery, Racism, Abortion and the Female Psyche,” which she wrote “with Alveda King.” I have heard some of her teaching about this in the past – as I am also a Rachel’s Vineyard leader – but I had not known about this second book so I have not read it yet. I do think that if we are talking about “Black Lives Matter” we need to be more aware that the lives of black children also matter, and that it might be good to have a deeper understanding of how this is impacting black women, black men, and black families. There is also a video maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st century America. When we’re thinking about racism – I don’t think BLM has the entire picture. My friend Catherine Davis is founder of the Restoration Project at https://www.therestorationproject.life/about.html She has on one of her pages a table showing, for example, that in Missouri, although only 11.5% of the population is black, 37% of the abortions are of black unborn children. Her goals include restoration of black families, and making changes in public policy, but with a very different perspective than BLM. Catherine’s organization is part of a group of black organizations that work together, including Alveda King’s ministry and many others. I think it would be good if Catholics got a more complete picture of racism by looking into some of the black pro-life ministries for some different perspective. At Catherine’s webpage, she shows the famous quote by Justice Ginsberg about how she thought abortion (in regard to the Roe decision) was to address “population growth, and particularly growth in the populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

    1. “Agree that anyone might disagree with some of goals of Black Lives Matter, but if white people disagree, perhaps there is greater risk of being labeled racist…”

      Without a doubt, there is most definitely the greater risk of being labeled racist. I think the threat of being labeled as a “racist” explains why a number of white people are so anxious to jump on the BLM bandwagon. They want to present their anti-racist credentials.

      “…whereas if it is a black person who rejects BLM, then the perspective might be more readily considered by others.”

      I know that is how it works, meaning that only blacks can criticize BLM. But those who hold such an attitude (and for clarity, let me say that I am not referring to you Martha or to any other specific person) are practicing racism themselves. To accept the assessment of one person while rejecting the assessment of another simply because of skin color is a clear manifestation of racism.

    2. Agreed. Anti-racist movements really should include taking a stand against the genocide that occurs in the wound. I was not aware that BLM was pro-abortion. Knowing this, I will certainly not give them any type of financial support. But I still support Simcha attending that rally, as her intention was to take a stand against racist police brutality.

      1. Claire, I would suggest you focus on the very statement you just made about the BLM pro-abortion stance. In that very comment is shows you have more to learn than just what you have stated. As Catholics, that very idea should be reason enough to understand what side you need to be in. Lukewarm Catholics are uneducated Catholics. As Mexican American and reading the comments above, it is both sad and frustrating that people as yourself do not take the time to understand Marxism. Educate yourself first. If you are a troll so be it, if you are a Catholic, trust me, We Shall Pray for you to wake up!

  6. Ryan Bomberger is a black man, founder of The Radiance Foundation; he wrote an editorial on the “top 10 reasons I reject Black Lives Matter” at https://townhall.com/columnists/ryanbomberger/2020/06/05/top-10-reasons-i-reject-the-blm-n2570105 He had 10 different reasons, but concerned the reality of 259,336 black babies abortion every year – more African American deaths from abortion than from police violence, though Black Lives Matter has taken a position in solidarity with abortion rights groups. Bomberger says “Apparently, not all black lives matter” and “You cannot simultaneously fight violence while celebrating it.” Bomberger’s editorial is here https://townhall.com/columnists/ryanbomberger/2020/06/05/top-10-reasons-i-reject-the-blm-n2570105 and one of his webpages is here http://www.toomanyaborted.com/ He has a fact sheet showing that abortion is the #1 killer of African Americans. If you look at the #2 – #8 causes of deaths of blacks, and add them up, the total of these other deaths is not as many as the 259,336 deaths of unborn children by abortion. I didn’t see Ryan getting into this aspect, but for many women, abortion is not a choice – women are often coerced to abort by parents or partners. There can be reproductive coercion in situations of intimate partner violence or trafficking. In any case, he has many reasons as a black person that he disagrees with Black Lives Matter – food for thought.

    1. I read it. Excellent article.

      I’ve also seen Ryan Bomberger in person. He travels and speaks on pro-life issues. He himself is an adoptee who was conceived in rape. He’s a great speaker, and he’s very funny. Anyway, Ryan’s reasons for rejecting BLM are essentially universal. Not need not be black to reject the organization.

  7. Wow it sure is cat-lady heaven in here.
    So a jewish person,goes to a black people’s rally. To ostensibly protest police and all the ebbil White folk in general? Because we are all guilty of….. something.
    Protesting,burning and looting, killing folk, because they are mad about a self defined problem. That kills less black people,than constipation.
    Shouldn’t they be protesting that.
    Or slip and falls. They kill more black people than the police. Where is the seething outrage? White folk are way more likely to be shot by police. But we don’t matter. Right?
    I refuse to feel guilty for something I didn’t do.
    Decent folk won’t put up with this nonsense much longer.

    1. You know, it’s possible to disagree with someone, even quite sharply, without becoming childishly offensive. And what does Jewishness have to do with anything?

      1. LFM,
        I do not understand the negative fixation that so many people have with Simcha’s Jewish heritage. She’s a baptized Catholic. Does her Jewish background make her less of a Catholic?

        1. Does her Jewish background make her less of a Catholic? It would seem so, in some people’s eyes. However, although antisemitism is not, alas, extinct among Catholics, most of these don’t sound like Catholic Jew-baiters to me. Their resentment sounds more political than religious, but it’s repellent either way.

        2. I am confused at the fixation on race at all. How can a truly Catholic person assume and judge that there cause of a black person’s death is race? Would the police man who killed George Floyd done the same thing to any other person? He had 15 prior complaints by other officers. Are we certain they were all black people complaining? (Either way, Unions protected him from disciplinary action.) Catholics should know better than to judge matters without all the facts.

          1. I am slightly perturbed to find that an obsession with Ms Fisher’s Jewish origins appears to have been attributed to me in some comments here. I did not introduce the subject; I rebuked a third party for having introduced it irrelevantly to the discussion at hand. If anyone is uncertain about that issue I hope that makes it clear.

            1. Hi LFM,
              Oh, phooey. I am sorry for the confusion. I know perfectly well that you are not in any way obsessed with Simcha’s Jewish heritage. There was never any doubt in my mind.

              My first comment that addressed you specifically was nothing more than me reacting in AGREEMENT with your question of ” And what does Jewishness have to do with anything?”

              My second comment was actually intended for George, and not you, but I made the mistake of not addressing him by name. I was counting on the indentation within the commenting format to indicate that I was addressing him. Obviously, that was insufficient. Sorry for the annoyance.

    2. Simcha is a baptized Catholic.

      As it turns out, I think this article that she wrote is based on personal presumption instead of on hard evidence. Simcha has presumed that the arrest and death of George Floyd were racist, and she is calling on other Catholics to follow along with her presumption. I will not do so.

      It has not yet been conclusively determined that George Floyd is dead because he was black. It has not yet been proven that had he been white, he would have been treated differently. Two of the four cops involved weren’t even white. One cop is black, and another is Asian. I myself refuse to make judgment on the cops because I haven’t heard their side. I want to hear what the defense has to say. I also want the riots to stop because they have caused so much misery.

      I’ve taken quite a bit of heat here for bucking popular opinion. My point of view has raised a lot of hackles. Even so, I make an effort to be civil. I totally understand your viewpoint, but I think it could have been worded more kindly.

  8. I think the Bolsheviks used to call their clueless allies in the west, “useful idiots.” White liberals kneeling down in submission to the revolution…a further sign that the west is near its end. Giving the communist fist in the air signaled that you and others are being totally duped by Marxist ideology. BLM is the biggest proponent of defunding police. With that being accomplished, you will see minority communities enter into total chaos.

    1. Many black and other non-white conservatives have been complaining about whites cooperating with Marxist/Leftist groups. I’ve got this one particular friend both in real life and on Facebook who is Asian and first generation American. He has been having a field day posting left and right about what he calls stupid whites. He’s referring to white liberals who are, in his view, essentially promoting social division and unrest by their support of identity politics, etc. He makes his point real well.

    2. I totally agree. Have any of these rally attendees actually read the BLM agenda…pretty much the same as communist manifesto.
      Also have you Catholics rallied to have your Churches fully opened? Or don’t Christian lives matter?

      1. No, I have not rallied to have churches fully reopened, because closing churches to prevent the spread of a deadly virus helps to save the lives of Christians, as opposed to kneeling on someone’s neck which results in death. (I haven’t rallied about that either.)

  9. Martha, I forgot to mention (for whatever it’s worth) that I also agree with you about the National Guard. If the local and state police don’t have the manpower to control the violence, then that’s what the National Guard is there for.

    1. Thanks, Claire. I was afraid others might get mad at me for saying that, so I’m glad to know you agree. In addition, along similar lines, I wanted to tell about what happened in the small city where I grew up; I don’t live there now, but I have family there and I was concerned. There was a protest scheduled for Saturday, but there was reason to believe violence was intended. The original organizers cancelled the protest themselves, believing that violence was too likely to break out. But then someone else got fired up and said, no, we have a first amendment right to protest (true) and I’ll be the sponsor for this. So it was on again. Some local veterans approached her and volunteered to do security for the event. So, that’s kind of like having soliders, because – they were soldiers and have military training and experience, and right to bear arms – so they did the security for the event, and everyone was totally peaceful and they had their protest. I think if there is a show of force, the trouble makers don’t make trouble. Those who organized the peaceful protest kept it peaceful. I don’t think regular security guards could do this safely in many cases because they do NOT have the training or experience, but guys who were in the military – in this case it worked, and it’s something to think about. But yes, National Guard or military is, in my opinion, not to be condemned. Having enough uniforms on hand, the violent ones are much less likely to start, the ones in uniform don’t feel threatened and don’t overreact. Of course I had nothing to do with the event, which was in another state, but very thankful it turned out well. I don’t that that random guys with guns doing security is the right plan for security, but I also do know a veteran who has a private security agency and is compliance with whatever regulations there are for that sort of thing, if a group can get their own security by highly trained security officers (military veterans) – not a recommendation, but again, it worked in one city. We have to find ways to keep things peaceful and not have endless riots.

      1. That’s awesome Martha. I’m really glad it worked out. These protests make me personally nervous even though I fully support the peaceful ones (and under different circumstances might want to participate). Not only the potential for violence, but also the potential for the COVID infection rate to go back up due to so many large gatherings. Again, I fully support the right to protest against police abuse which disproportionately affects Black people (and also does so much to tarnish people’s view of police in general, despite the fact that the majority of police officers are honorable heroes). But because of my personal concerns, I have chosen not to participate in these protests. Which is why I admire Simcha so much for having the courage, ethics and commitment to participate. But certainly it seems prudent to have enough personnel on hand to put a stop to any violence. It’s better for all involved. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great to be able to learn from each other, even if we don’t agree on each and every aspect of the issue.

      2. “I was afraid others might get mad at me for saying that…”

        Martha, you showed courage. You were afraid to say something because you didn’t want the possible backlash, but you took the chance and had your say anyway. Good for you. Peace.

  10. Well I haven’t read through all of these, so maybe someone else has said it. But, if not, it just needs to be said! Simcha! You look GREAT!!

  11. Summer, you’re right that my last response to you was unkind, and I apologize for that. It would have been kinder and more accurate for me to say that our values (on this issue; I’m sure there are other issues where we have similar values, such as abortion) are too far apart to result in a fruitful dialogue. I’m sure there are other topics we could debate, such as the death penalty, in a respectful manner. But on this topic we’re just too far apart to make it worthwhile. Again I apologize that I phrased that in a rude way the first time around.

  12. “I didn’t expect any violence, but you never know, so we only brought the teenagers, no little kids.”

    The March for Life rallies each year are the definition of peaceful protesting. Small children and babies are always present in high numbers.

    1. Yes, my kids have gone to the MFL several times. This is a different kind of event.
      Although if you read my description, there were two people at the event who seemed to expect violence: One was the white man with the stick/bat who said he was there to protect businesses, which was not necessary, and one was the white man waving a Trump flag and trying to start a fight.

      1. “This is a different kind of event.”

        That is exactly my point. Peace is the norm for pro-life demonstrations and protests, even when there are angry counter-protesters present shouting obscenities and trying to start fights.

    1. when are you dummies going to realize you can’t out me as a Jew when I’ve repeatedly outed myself? Nobody cares! Jews are awesome. Go chase your tail, you anonymous coward.

      1. My names is Mr. Tigglesworth and I have decided to repent of my antisemitism! Sorry for making an ass of myself on your site. I’ll go dig ditches in the hot sun for a while until all the E. Michael Jones evaporates out of my brain.

  13. Oh, I get it now.

    Ezabelle the Australian: the new arbiter on who gets to protest injustice and how in the United States of America.

    We’re so sorry. We’ll stop and wait for your further commands.

    1. I come here to read Simcha’s posts. Not converse with nastiness coming from you. Quite hypocritical comments coming from someone who was calling me out for being unloving a few comments ago.

        1. Yeah, I do, Ezabelle, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen you acting like you understand American news and politics just because you watch TV. You have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the statistics other commenters have shared with you, and you’ve made some incredibly offensive remarks and insinuations essentially blaming black people for the way they are treated. You would be doing yourself a favor if you slowed down and read some of the links folks here are sharing with you. After a while, ignorance is a choice.

          1. I’ll consider anyone’s opinion on our politics if they are valid, regardless of where they are from and I certainly won’t use the fact they aren’t from my neck of the woods to shut them down. Unfortunately what happens in your country affects the rest of the world. Our police officers were told on placards earlier this week “A good cop is a dead cop”. That’s because of what’s happened in the US. A police officer was stood down on Wednesday for arresting an Indigenous kid on Thursday because the kid threatened to break the cops jaw. That’s because of what’s happened in America. I hope you realise what happens in your country filters across to other countries. I’ll go back to my neck of the woods. Good luck with yours.

            1. no, we’re pointing out that you aren’t basing your opinions on data. No one’s shutting you down. No one here has advocated for killing police officers or even for violence. It’s a big ugly mess and everyone knows it. It doesn’t go away when you lie to yourself about what’s causing it, though.

              1. I gave lots of data. I’m just an Australian commenting on American politics. I don’t think any data I give will make a difference. I get it now. Thanks anyway.

              2. No one here has advocated violence, but it is happening and it is reasonable to ask, what does killing David Dorn or Patrick Underwood do to fix racism? What does looting and destroying a black man’s sports bar, a black woman’s store do to fix racism? What does burning a home with people in it and blocking fire department trucks with vehicles do to fix racism? Fixing racism isn’t the goal of the riots (though it *is* the goal of the protests, such as the one you attended); “the only good cop is a dead cop” is a pretty good summary of the actual goal of the riots and that is as unjust as Floyd’s murder.

                I 100% agree that racism is a current problem, and that no one should have to worry about “driving/jogging/etc while black.” But I think it is also reasonable to ask if racism alone is the problem everywhere, especially in cities where the mayor is black, the police chief is black, and a significant number of the police force is black; perhaps there are other things to look at, like qualified immunity or militarization of police equipment and training. Putting the focus *solely* on race will not solve the police problems in all cities, nor will it solve the violence and destruction that black communities have borne the brunt of in recent days.

                1. Hi. Anna asked “what does killing David Dorn… do to fix racism?” David Dorn was an African American police officer who died in the violence, and there is no question that some black people have been harmed by these protests – in part as direct action of rioters, and additionally IF people then turn and blame African Americans for the violence. I think it is not always clear from the media, but in regard to the violence, I have read reports and seen videos in which African American organizers of peaceful protests have seen their peaceful protests hijacked by outsiders with a different agenda. The organizers say, “please don’t do this, we’re not here for violence, we’ll be blamed for this,” and these outsiders do not care – they have their own agenda. I have family in Michigan and one mayor there said about 75% of the rioters have been from out of state, and there are reports of many outsiders being bused in. The daughter of MLK, Beatrice, and the neice of MLK, Alveda King, are urging that it is peaceful protest that will bring systemic change – keep it peaceful. Rev. Al Sharpton has decried the violence, stating that African Americans are being harmed by this. George Floyd’s family has called for an end to violence which does not honor George who would not have wanted this. But there are outside parties with a different agenda sowing hate, division, and confusion. Intercessors for America urges serious prayer for unity & compassion, peace and order, truth, and love instead of hate. Whatever other actions we are led to now or later, let’s pray for these things now and always. Especially right now. I don’t see anything good coming from the violence, and neither do black leaders. Peace.

      1. Thanks. I’ve already donated (a paltry sum, unfortunately) to a bail fund for protesters, and I’m very much in favor of comprehensive police reform (including an emphasis on de-escalation, which saves the lives of both police officers and citizens).

  14. I thought ALL life mattered?

    A 77 year-old retired Missouri police captain David Dorn, was filmed being murdered on Tuesday trying to protect his friends business during the riots. David Dorn was Black. The killing was posted on Facebook, before Facebook decided to take it down. He doesn’t fit the tidy narrative- Black police officer. He served his community and David Dorns life certainly mattered.

    In 2017, a 40 year-old white Australian American Justine Damond was fatally shot by a black Somali American Minnesota police Officer. She had called 911 because she had heard what sounded like an assault in the alleyway behind her home. The police officer shot her through the window across from his partner as she leant over the window to speak to the officers. She was in her pyjamas. The black police officer lied and covered up his actions for months before finally being charged for ending this completely innocent woman’s life, and destroying the lives of her family. She doesn’t fit the narrative. A White woman. Is this because she benefited from “white privilege”, whatever the hell that means? Her life certainly mattered.

    Nobody held borderline dangerous rallies, shut down, destroyed and looted entire cities protesting these completely innocent people’s deaths. Doesn’t ALL life matter? Even the police officers and the white woman’s life.

    I get that most people mean well at these rally’s (small peaceful versions of these were held here in Australia this week protesting Indigenous deaths in custody). But I’m sensing that this over-hyped hysteria is fruitless, hypocritical and counter-productive to any form of real justice. Particular to any form of social issues which are a cause of suffering and trauma within certain communities. A massive empty bandwagon.

    Communities have to be responsible and accountable for changing the stereotypes and attitudes within their own communities. You cant force anyone to treat you better if you don’t act better. Whatever colour you are.

    And this is coming from the keyboard of someone who grew up a daughter of middle eastern immigrant parents- mum and dad received all sorts of racist taunts in 1970 Australia. And today I, and most in my community, are super critical of our own communities imperfect behaviour before blaming anyone else for how we are treated by the “white” and privileged”.

    1. Hi Ezabelle:

      All lives do matter–that is a core Catholic belief and the purported underpinning of our US Constitution. That is why we have to speak out when any people are treated as if they matter less. African Americans have suffered marginalization historically in the US through slavery and laws that were designed to keep this group on the lowest rung of any ladder here.

      I see an overlap between American capitalism this oppression. We need to make sure that others can’t advance, so we can keep our place on the ladder. When you add up centuries of this, you see African American families having 1/10th the wealth of white families and twice the levels of poverty.

      The police in the US have protections that other employees don’t. They can be bad or sloppy or terrible without much repercussion. And this badness doesn’t only affect African Americans, but other minority groups and the poor and mentally ill.

      The police can be bad because we don’t hold them accountable. So, in the most charitable interpretation of your statement, “Communities have to be responsible and accountable,” that is exactly what is happening. People saw George Floyd being murdered by an agent of the state and we don’t like it. We like it less to know that the officer had 17 complaints on his record without effect. We realized that the police need to be accountable and are willing to protest, donate and discuss the issue.

      Since you are in Australia, you may not know that legislation in the US is often tied to crises. In NY State, the governor is asking a law that hides police misconduct from public view be overturned. This is the bitter fruit of George Floyd’s death–a tiny measure of accountability of civil servants.

      Your argument that “both sides” are equally at fault doesn’t seem to reflect what Americans are feeling. 10K people are in jail for protesting and tens of millions more are supporting the protesters.

      1. Thanks Andrea. Please don’t assume I know nothing about American politics or culture. It’s usually round the clock 24 hour coverage on our channels anytime anything remotely happens in America. Whether we want it or not. I personally turned the tv off after 4 days. And It is absolutely both sides. Those 10,000 in jail looted and destroyed neighbourhoods. They deserve to be locked up. And police officers who put their lives on the line to serve their communities should have special privileges which allow them to do their job- that is to maintain law and order in the community. This is universal. They have families also. One bad police officer does not equate to a bad police force. Ask yourself this the next time you need to call 911 or require police help.

        1. Ezabelle: You don’t know what is happening here. The 10K are protesters, for the most part, not looters or rioters. Many peaceful protesters are being arrested or those practicing civil disobedience.

          And it’s not both sides being equally at fault in the murder of an unarmed man. And what sides are you seeing–African Americans versus the police? Civilians versus the police? African Americans versus Caucasians? I scratch your argument and don’t see a lot of charity or love.

          Also, a curse on Australia for exporting the news you are likely watching. Rupert Murdoch leaves a shameful trail of exploitative and inflammatory lies masquerading as news. When I look at the state of America, much of the terribleness of in our political culture was sown by an Australian.

            1. Rupert Murdoch doesn’t own our news channels. Only one cable channel. He owns print media. You could easily look that up. And he doesn’t own yours either. Curse my country. But I hope God Blesses yours.

      2. For all the 10million who support, there are another 10million who are appalled at the behaviour of their fellow countrymen and women. You have Lockdowns, high unemployment, closed universities, economic upheaval, a looming election and general discontent. I’m certain that was in the mix for the protesters, rioters and looters and the level of suffering which is driving people to such embarrassing behaviour this past week- starting from Chauvin and right up to the thousands who have destroyed, buildings, businesses and caused terror. Again I ask- where is the accountability? Where is the justice in this?

            1. That doesn’t answer my question. Don’t human lives matter more than property? Businesses can be rebuilt; George Floyd is dead. This feels like a callback to slavery, when slave owners “mourned” the death of a slave not as a person to be grieved but as the loss of their property.

              1. Well what do you think? Ofcourse nothing is greater than a human life. But It doesn’t justify the violent reactions. How many people have died or been injured during this?

          1. I think people aren’t so much upset about the buildings, but rather what the lawlessness and destruction mean. When they see looting and destruction, fires etc. they are rightly fearful that more people are going to be injured, killed and unjustly suffer because of the rage / chaos that is unleashed. Looting and rioting, setting fires, throwing bricks etc..these are unjust. More injustice doesn’t fix injustice.

            1. People should be upset about the buildings. Apparently, a 160 unit building that provided homes for low income people got burned to the ground. Now where are those people going to live? A dentist who had been providing services to low income children for 30 years saw his building smashed up. Where are those kids going to go now, especially if they have acute issues? Many black-owned businesses were damaged or destroyed. How are those people going to feed their families?

              It’s so short-sighted of Rebecca to take such a dismissive attitude towards property destruction. “Businesses can be rebuilt” she blithely says. Yeah, but usually with great difficulty and only after a long wait. Where are those low income kids going to go TODAY for a tooth abscess? Where are all those burnt out residents going to go TONIGHT? How are those black business owners going to find the money to pay their bills NOW?

              One man dies during an arrest, and then the resulting riots kill at least 11 and heavily damage the quality of life for literally thousands. In Rebecca’s mind, it’s somehow bad to take notice of the suffering of those who aren’t George Floyd.

          2. Rebecca,
            It has not been proven that Floyd was murdered. Yes, he died. Yes, his death is on video. Yes, the cops have been charged. But in the United States, defendants are tried in court and not on the internet or in the media. Their guilt is determined by a jury and not by you or anyone else who’s got an opinion but is not involved in the actual court case.

            Have you even heard the cops’ side of the story? There are two sides to every story, you know, and so far, I’ve only heard the one side. Derek Chauvin and the others, as far as I am aware, have not had the opportunity to utter a single word in their own defense to the public.

            I’ve taken it into consideration that police department training includes using the knee on the neck to restrain a suspect. I’ve taken into consideration that the cops may have ignored the pleas of the guy because a) the police recognized that Floyd was intoxicated (one autopsy revealed that Floyd was high on fentanyl and meth) and did not take him seriously b) through daily experience, the cops are habituated to criminal suspects utterly all manner of false things for the purpose of manipulating police to the suspects’ advantage.

            As a former school teacher, I experienced a lesser version of this. It was the issue of bathroom use during class. Once, a girl raised her hand to inform me that she needed to use the bathroom immediately because she was having her period right then and there. After she was permitted to leave, about five other girls raised their hands to make the exact same claim. Uh…huh. The authority figure quickly begins to see the use of trickery and outright lies to get out of certain situations. Putting myself in the shoes of the cops, I can see how they might have easily thought that George Floyd was just putting on an act. I can see how it’s possible that the cops had no intention to cause harm to Floyd.

            On the other hand, maybe the cops are the monsters the world is making them out to be, but it is utterly unfair for everyone to be piling on without the cops having the chance to explain themselves. So many people are satisfied with saying, “But I saw the video.” That’s not enough. It’s not even close to being enough to pronounce judgment on the police and demand severe punishment.

            Right now, waiting for a trial is something that a whole lot of people don’t want to do. Right now, it’s popular to flash one’s anti-racist credentials by abandoning fairness. It’s the easy thing to do, but it’s the wrong thing to do.

            1. I consider it depraved indifference and yes, murder, to ignore 1) the man’s pleas for help, that he couldn’t breathe; 2) bystanders’ requests that Derek Chauvin remove his knee from George Floyd’s neck; 3) pleas from the medic who was there that she be able to intervene and give the clearly needed medical attention; and then continue for another almost three full minutes to suffocate George Floyd after he had stopped moving or responding. All this while he was already in handcuffs on the ground. I truly cannot see how you cannot consider this murder. I am not imputing any particular motivation to these police officers; I do not know and cannot understand why they, especially Chauvin, were so cruel. But this was murder, avoidable and unnecessary, and completely indefensible. I don’t live in Mn (anymore although I grew up there) and so of course won’t be called to serve on a jury there, so I’m okay with calling it a murder before the court catches up. And why are you trying the victim of this heinous crime? What do you gain by defending these cops?

              1. Also, using a knee restraint is not sanctioned by the MPD. Chauvin was wrong and out of line and so killed George Floyd.

              2. “…I’m okay with calling it a murder before the court catches up.”

                Rash judgment is a sin.

                “And why are you trying the victim of this heinous crime?”

                I’m not.

                “What do you gain by defending these cops?”

                I’m not exactly defending them. I am simply pointing out that they deserve to have their side of the story heard because that is fairness. I am saying that it is indeed possible that they had valid explanations for their actions.

                What do you gain by promoting unfairness?

              3. Exactly Rebecca. George Floyd has less opportunity to tell his side of the story than the officers do. What tells the story is the video, and there’s no excuse for four officers restraining a man accused of a non-violent crime, one of whom has his knee on his neck (an unnecessary and dangerous form of restraint) long after the man stops moving. Both autopsies have determined this to be a homicide. No one who sees this as a homicide is exercising rash judgment.

                1. Just like the video that told the story of the Covington Catholic boys. Just like no one was guilty of rash judgment after condemning the boys without hearing their side.

                2. No one was murdered in that video, and both sides were alive to tell their side. That video left room for all kinds of interpretation. This one does not, and it has a dead victim who can’t tell his side, unlike his murderers who will have that opportunity. You obviously came to this thread with an agenda, first to tell about how peaceful the March for Life was, which is great, but off-topic. Your subsequent comments have attempted to downplay or even disregard racism, and clearly your priority is defending these cops. I don’t wish to discuss this with you further, so please don’t direct any further comments to me. My original comment was directed to someone else, I believe Rebecca.

                3. “You obviously came to this thread with an agenda…”

                  I came to this thread with a point of view, just like you did.

                  “Your subsequent comments have attempted to downplay or even disregard racism, and clearly your priority is defending these cops.”

                  Clearly, you have no clue what my priority is. I am defending the principle of fairness in a forum where it’s popular to indulge in unfairness and to presume that racism is in everything and everybody, even in situations where there is no hard evidence of such. It has yet to be determined that the blackness of George Floyd had anything to do with the manner in which his arrest unfolded. Racism is treating others differently on account of their physical characteristics. It has yet to be demonstrated that the cops treated Floyd differently than they would have treated him had he been white.

                  “I don’t wish to discuss this with you further…”

                  Then don’t say anything more.

                4. As I asked previously, please do not address any further comments to me. I’m fine with discussing and even debating different points of view with people who I respect. You are not one of them.

                5. In a debate, you can refuse to address someone’s responses, but you can’t really ask someone not to address any responses to you. I mean, you can, but they can always ignore you and continue to address you unless/until someone else blocks them. If you find Summer Custard offensive (I am not sure why but everyone has different areas of sensitivity and I don’t know anything about your previous engagements with her) surely it would be best to ignore her? Forgive this comment from a cranky old lady who has done her share of responding too often and lived to regret it. Your circumstances of course may be entirely different.

                6. Nothing to forgive LFM. I’m not offended by her interactions with me, I just don’t want to engage with someone who shows little or no empathy for a man who lost his life in a more violent manner than the crime he was accused of. There are many layers to this situation, and I’ve enjoyed most of the perspectives on this thread, even those I disagree with (which is why it’s hard to ignore her comments to me, because I’m subscribed and they all come into my inbox). But when certain lines in the sand are drawn regarding vastly different values, it becomes impossible to have any type of productive discussion, which is why I made that request and never directed a comment toward her in the first place. Maybe there are some people here who she can have a constructive discussion with. I’m not one of them. A similar situation occurred during the past few months of lockdown. An acquaintance kept emailing me about conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic. I asked her to stop, and she was ok with it. I’ve had plenty of discussion with people who have different perspectives from mine on how the pandemic should be handled, but the conspiracy theory thing crossed a line that made me realize a dialogue just wouldn’t be fruitful. This situation reminds me a lot of that. Anyway, I appreciate your chiming in.

                7. “I just don’t want to engage with someone who shows little or no empathy for a man who lost his life in a more violent manner than the crime he was accused of.”

                  Claire,
                  I am advocating for fairness for the accused, and somehow, in your mind, my refusal to be unfair means that I am guilty of showing insufficient empathy for the death of George Floyd.

                  ” But when certain lines in the sand are drawn regarding vastly different values, it becomes impossible to have any type of productive discussion…”

                  It is very strange that you find the concept of fairness to be a value that renders productive discussion impossible.

                  “…which is why I made that request and never directed a comment toward her in the first place.”

                  This is a public forum. If you choose to post on it, others will see it. Others may choose to respond to things that you’ve publicly said. It’s unreasonable to have the expectation that you can pick and choose who may reply to you after you’ve said something publicly.

                  “Maybe there are some people here who she can have a constructive discussion with. I’m not one of them.”

                  The inability to have a constructive discussion with me is all yours.

            2. You are right about the need for the judicial process to take place and for us to hear the cop’s defense. The Covington HS videos keep coming to mind, where media outlets interpreted a select video, completely missed the mark, but mobs of angry people cruelly and unjustly piled on.

            3. “I’ve taken it into consideration that police department training includes using the knee on the neck to restrain a suspect.” If that is correct, police training throughout U.S. needs to change. A Canadian officer says “Here in British Columbia, and…across Canada, that’s not an acceptable use of force and restraint….It’s just too dangerous. It’s too risky and it can ultimately result in death.” https://www.citynews1130.com/2020/05/30/knee-to-neck-not-tactic-former-delta-pd-chief/ NBC News online says: “More than a dozen police officials and law enforcement experts told NBC News that the particular tactic Chauvin used — kneeling on a suspect’s neck — is neither taught nor sanctioned by any police agency. A Minneapolis city official told NBC News Chauvin’s tactic is not permitted by the Minneapolis police department. For most major police departments, variations of neck restraints, known as chokeholds, are highly restricted — if not banned outright. The … Minneapolis Police Department’s policy manual…available online… does permit the use of neck restraints that can render suspects unconscious, and the protocol…has not been updated for more than eight years.” A number of people have lost consciousness from this, and “Almost half of the people who lost consciousness were injured, according to the reports, which do not spell out the severity of those injuries.” From the NBC report, it appears this is used rather often in Minneapolis. I also read of an incident that is being investigated that involved only 50 sec. of knee to neck beyond the amount of time to cuff the person. Police standards & training re restraining suspects should be evaluated by M.D. consultants and very likely should be revised. This would be great to be undertaken in each state, perhaps with appropriate legislation.

                1. The officers were dismissed from the force. They can say anything they want, but the police department itself found their actions so egregious as to fire them.

                  These protests are about people’s consciences being roused by an grave injustice. George Floyd’s life mattered and the police acted like it didn’t.

                2. And sadly, George Floyd doesn’t get to tell his side. He doesn’t get to tell why he was pulled out of the police care and tackled to the ground while already handcuffed, or why an officer felt the need to kneel on his neck and continue to do so for several minutes after he stopped moving and talking. The cops will be able to tell their side. They could tell it now, but are probably being advised not to be their legal counsel. But they’ll have their day in court. George Floyd won’t. And if it weren’t for that video, those officers probably would not have been fired or arrested and then there would be no justice at all for this death. I thank God that there are numerous video recordings to tell the story.

                3. “The officers were dismissed from the force. They can say anything they want, but the police department itself found their actions so egregious as to fire them.”

                  By itself, the firing of the four cops by the department does not necessarily mean that the department truly found their actions to be egregious. It may simply have been a case of caving to external pressure for purposes of appeasement. Apparently, cops can be dismissed and then rehired later. Meanwhile, the police union has declared its support for the four officers involved.

                  “George Floyd’s life mattered and the police acted like it didn’t.”

                  That is your interpretation of events. The police union apparently sees the situation differently. I myself have not yet formed a judgment.

                4. “They could tell it now, but are probably being advised not to be their legal counsel.”

                  I am willing to wait to hear their side before I condemn them.

                5. Hi, Summer Custard. You were responding to my comments about the dangerousness of the knee on neck thing. Totallly agree that “the cops need to tell their side.” I am thinking of a bigger picture beyond the trial. I am a healthcare professional. I know for a fact that some types of restraints have in the past cause deaths from people not being able to breathe. A different type of police restraint in the past that has resulted in death years ago. In addition, I know that in medical settings it is generally impossible to restrain people, even, for example, to keep an old person from falling out of bed – due to regulations that today recognize there can be risk and harm from restraining people – though I sometimes think in healthcare, the almost total lack of ability to restrain may have gone a bit too far. But my main point in the post you responded to is that the knee on neck restraint, from what I have been able to read about, seems dangerous. Since I am not an expert on police restraint methods, I am not intending to definitively condemn any one restraint method – but from what I can read and from my knowledge as a health professional – this seems a dangerous method and sytemically, I think it should be looked at going forward by police experts and medical experts. In this specific one death, the court will decide culpabiity after the police present their evidence. In terms of George Floyd, we can’t bring him back from the dead but IF something good is to come from this, it won’t broken glass and additional deaths during riots. One of the good thing that could from this is if restraint methods are evaluated and possibly a dangerous procedure is outlawed – that would be a good outcome. In Minneapolis, other people besides George Floyd have lost consciousness while restrained in this manner, and half of those restrained have had injuries. There is potential for grave injuries and even death from the method. Evaluating restraint methods by a team of experts – not merely petitioning one method to be banned, but evaluating carefully – would protect all citizens.

        1. Yep, Ezabelle, we are trying to bring accountability and justice to this issue! In America, we do this via protest and demands on our politicians. Thanks for supporting accountability and justice in policing!

    2. Also, Ezabelle you may not understand the scope of police violence in the US. More than 1000 people are killed every year by cops in the US. Australia had 6 in the same time period. Cops end up killing those who are unarmed, who are mentally ill, who are reaching for their car registration at at traffic stop:

      https://www.joincampaignzero.org/problem

      1. US Population is 350 mill. Australia’s is 20million. Yes there is less deaths by law enforcement in Australia as our population is much smaller. But there has been 430 Indigenous deaths in custody. That’s our national shame. The rallies for handouts, rallies for National apologies, rallies to change the date of Australia Day, rallies to give land back has done nothing to improve the issues in Indigenous communities.

        Btw Venezuela has recorded 5000+ Deaths by law enforcement with only population of 29million. If anyone should hit the pavement with banners, I think the Venezuelans should.

      2. Of that number, 601 were armed with a gun, 172 with a knife, 62 with a vehicle, 26 with a toy weapon, 67 ‘other’, and 20 ‘unknown’. Only 56 were definitively noted as unarmed. Note tht the largest category was those armed with a gun and the next largest, armed with a knife. You can’t really cite statistics like that without mentioning whether the people shot were armed or not. It isn’t fair to the police or the public. Also note that in the scarcity of guns, knives and acid have become favorite methods of attack for crooks in Britain.

    3. Many people did protest when Justine Damond was killed. However, the police officer who killed her was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Never has a white police officer in MN been convicted of killing an African-American. Do you think George Floyd was the first black man killed by a white cop in MN? Let me assure that is not the case. Also, Derek Chauvin had 18 previous charges of misconduct against him as an officer but apparently did not suffer consequences or change his behavior. These protests are about George Floyd’s death, but they’re also about shining a light on this kind of corruption in policing. (Note: not all cops are bad, but cops who cover for bad cops are also a problem. Why should we allow any officers to act like this?)

      My second point is about your statement “You can’t force anyone to treat you better if you don’t act better. Whatever colour you are.” This is racial gaslighting, whether you intended it or not; you are implying that black people deserve this treatment because of their actions and that if they acted “better,” they wouldn’t be treated as they are. History does not support your statement. No matter how “well” black people act or dress or speak, systemic racism still exists and works against them. No one, regardless of their skin color, deserves to be treated as George Floyd was treated, as Breonna Taylor was treated, and Ahmaud Arbery was treated, as Christian Cooper was treated, etc ad nauseam. Catholic teaching doesn’t say, “Love your neighbor as well as they deserve or act;” Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

      1. Many people protested Justines death? Ha! Not enough to put a beep on the media’s radar. The cops who covered for her black killer were not held accountable. Her killer got a measly 12 years- was justice served for her then? By that then Chauvin should also get 12 years. If an innocent white woman’s life is worth 12 years in jail then so is an innocent black mans.

        Calling for personal accountability is not gaslighting. Everyone regardless of colour, race and creed has personal accountability. You are not going to begin to fix any racial divides until personal accountability is part of the solution. Our Lord doesn’t patronise us. He asks us to be accountable in our lives- we confess our sins in the confessional and we repent so we grow to be better. It is the core of our Faith and what it means to be a Christian.

        1. I think a major part of the problem is that white people have not been held personally accountable for their individual acts of racism and for their support, overt or otherwise, of systemic racism. The bar for personal accountability for black people is astronomically high, but it’s barely noticeable for white people, by and large in the US.

          I think you will find that if you actually look into the events surrounding Justine Damond’s death, you will see that there is no real comparison between her death and George Floyd’s murder. I hope and pray that his killers serve much longer than 12 years, as they showed depraved indifference to his pleas for help.

          1. I hope Chauvin gets longer than 12 years. Justines killer should have gotten longer. She didn’t get arrested. She called police out of concern and was shot. It’s the same. Really

        2. I just saw the comment “By that then Chauvin should also get 12 years. If an innocent white woman’s life is worth 12 years in jail then so is an innocent black mans.” Actually, for second degree murder which is now the current charge (upgraded yesterday), the sentence could be 40 years. Since I think Chauvin is 44 now, he could be 84 when he gets out. Second degree murder is a substantial charge. All the other officers have also been charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin, so all the officers are being held accountable, and hopefully a jury will convict.

        3. Do you not realize that it’s almost unheard of for an officer to be criminally charged when an innocent civilian is killed? When they are charged, a guilty verdict is the exception. In these rare cases, it’s almost always a white victim killed by an officer of color. It is almost (not quite) unheard of for a white police officer to be held accountable for killing a person of color under any circumstances. They don’t lose their jobs, they’re not held criminally or civilly liable. If there were no video, the four officers in the Floyd case would not be held accountable. That’s the big picture here. Everything else has to be seen through that prism.

          1. The Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos) has been logging fatal Police shootings since 2015….and in 2019, The Post logged 1,004 killings at hands of police. From 802 shootings in which race of the police officer and the suspect was noted down, 236 were black and 371 were white. Majority whites and blacks were armed. It found that majority of blacks were armed and Only 10 African Americans of these were listed as unarmed- 1 woman and 9 men. Proportion too high for a community which makes up 13% of population, but this is the data. George Floyd’s murder and other unlawful deaths should be brought to justice but it doesn’t represent a picture of systematic racism and police irreverently killing of unarmed African Americans…

            1. First of all, they take “armed” from police reports. So, if police perceive them as armed, they show up as armed in the statistics. Also, the report doesn’t account for the reasons for the greater number of police encounters with blacks. No, the reason isn’t blacks are more criminal than whites. One example: blacks drivers are more likely to have their cars searched for drugs during routine traffic stops than whites, even though blacks and whites use drugs at equal rates. Not surprisingly, police are more likely to find drugs when they search vehicles of white drivers that black drivers. Searches of black drivers’ cars are more likely to be baseless fishing expeditions. That’s just one example of how black people are routinely treated differently by law enforcement. More police encounters mean more encounters with bad cops. Anyone who knows black people knows that being pulled over on a pretext is normal for them. This is just not a routine part of white people’s lives. It can happen to us, but it’s an out of the ordinary occurrence. I’m going to take black peoples’ word for their experiences. I gain nothing from denying systematic racism.

              1. Not denying racism. Questioning the response to the racism. I’d Rather go by statistics than crowd emotion.

                1. An awful lot was accomplished by crowd emotion in the 1960s. There were riots, instigated by whites, but responded to in kind by blacks. President Kennedy did not respond with a call for law and order. He responded with an exhortation for white people to stop being racist. The riots stopped. Progress made in those days was not due to passivity on the part of blacks. We look back through rose colored glasses, but most white people denounced King as an agitator and didn’t see any meaningful difference between protests and riots. They wanted blacks to be calm and patient and stay out of the streets, just like people do today. They also blamed protesters for police violence, just like people do today. Not all the violence come from looters. A*lot* comes from police overreaction.

                2. Charlotte, this is a somewhat confusing description of 1960s riots. Many of them were started by black people – such as, for example, the 1967 riots in Detroit. Some were instigated by white people, like the 1963 riots in Birmingham, which I suspect are the ones you’re referring to as they were the only ones for which President Kennedy was alive. The riots of the 1960s brought attention to black people’s problems but they also terrified middle-class white and black people and drove them and their businesses, away from inner-city neighborhoods. The riots thus helped to create the burnt-out, all-black ghettos of the 1970s and 1980s, or so I have always understood.

                3. Sorry l wasn’t more clear. I was talking specifically about the 1963 Birmingham riots and what’s now called Kennedy’s Civil Rights Speech which focused primarily on historical racial injustice, rather than playing to the white audience by talking mostly about the need for patience and non-violence on the part of blacks.

          2. All 4 officers have already lost their jobs, which is appropriate. You say “they don’t lose their jobs” which has been true in other cases, but in this case, all 4 were fired, which obviously was necessary considering this very grave crime on their part. The DA stated publicly he was aware of the difficulty in getting convictions of police officers and spent time very carefully investigating to arrive at specific charges that would stick, with sufficient evidence for each charge to have a decent shot at producing an actual conviction – I don’t have his exact words, but he was considering this very issue. Additionally, there are federal investigations into 2 recent deaths in which African Americans were killed by officers. Perhaps a corner will be turned – based on the publicly available evidence that we have all seen, it seems likely that the four murderers may actually be convicted, which would also send a very clear message to law enforcement officers everywhere. Don’t undersestimate the power of prayer – pray now for justice in upcoming trials of these officers, and pray for justice and peace in the U.S.

            1. You’re right, it’s good sign that all four were fired quickly. How ever, the head of the police officer’s uniom, Bob Kroll, is fighting that and trying to get them reinstated. I’m not sure that video is going to get these men convicted, although it should. Philan do Castile’s murder was also recorded (actually on Facebook live I think) and his killer was not convicted. Keith Ellison is right that this will be a tough prosecutiom; so many people want to trust the police and excuse their behavior and try the victim.

              I’m also praying and participating in the 19 days of prayer and reparation, and I have hope that we will see action and some actual reform of police brutality. I think this is bringing up questions of why we make the police the first responders to issues of mental health, drug overdoses, school discipline, etc when other people are better equipped to handle those issues. Hopefully there will also be more oversight of police officer unions and their interference in the disciplinary process . Bob Kroll, for example, had a complaint brought against him for wearing a white power patch on his uniform several years zgo; the current chief of police in Minneapolis (before he was in that role) was one of the plaintiffs. Police chiefs can’t change culture on their own, especially when they’re u undermined so openly.

              1. Rebecca,
                You sure are in a rush to convict the cops without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves. I myself would like to hear their side of the story before passing any judgment.

                1. Charlie Manson had an absolute right to a fair trial and the legal presumption of innocence. That’s not the same as a right to have people wait to “hear his side” before drawing conclusions about what he did. Those are two different things.
                  I’m absolutely committed to the rights of the accused. There’s only one person in the courtroom who has constitutionally enumerated rights, and it’s the defendant-not the victim, not the victim’s family. That’s why I oppose the Marsy’s Law campaign. It has the potential to undermine defendants’ rights. https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform/victims-rights-proposals-marsys-law-undermine-due-process.
                  That said, there’s a difference between defending someone’s due process rights and withholding judgment on what’s already clear. I’m not on the jury. If I were, I would make my decision based purely on the evidence presented in the courtroom, and not on any previous conclusion I may have drawn. But I’m not on the jury, and I can base reasonable conclusions based on what’s already known. New information about the defendants’ state of mind may increase or mitigate culpability, but it won’t change the facts.

                2. You will get what you give. One day, you may find yourself accused of something. Maybe it won’t be as severe as murder, but regardless, it is highly likely that you would want the opportunity to explain yourself. However, you should not be allowed to because you refuse others that opportunity. Your guilt and condemnation should be publicly declared because they are clear to see.

                3. I don’t understand who you think said he should be denied a fair trial with all the rights that entails,(or any other venue he wants to tell his side). I’m pretty sure l said the exact opposite.

                4. “That’s not the same as a right to have people wait to ‘hear his side’ before drawing conclusions about what he did. Those are two different things.”

                  “That said, there’s a difference between defending someone’s due process rights and withholding judgment on what’s already clear.”

                  “I can base reasonable conclusions based on what’s already known.”

                  When I said, “You will get what you give,” I was not referring to denying someone legalities. Instead, I was referring to denying someone fairness by personally deciding against him without first giving him the benefit of explaining himself. I was referring to making public condemnation of someone outside of the courtroom without bothering to know his side of the story.

                  Just because someone will eventually get a trial does not entitle outside observers to rashly judge. It is rash judgment to publicly condemn a man when he hasn’t even had an opportunity to defend himself.

                  How would any of you feel if your immediate neighbors heard something bad about you and consequently formed a negative opinion of you without you even being aware of what had happened?

                  How would any of you like to be accused of some kind of misconduct at work and have your co-workers turn against you without you having the opportunity to rebut the charges?

                  How would you like to be tried by the media without being able to offer your side?

                  I’ve already said that it’s possible that the cops are the monsters everyone says they are, but the determination of monsterhood cannot fairly be made without hearing from the police involved.

                  There is so much talk about the sin of racism, but almost no talk whatsoever about the sin of rash judgment.

                5. Alright, so long as that’s your standard for everyone, not just police officers. If you are willing to hold that it is rash judgement to say that we have seen looting or rioting until we have heard “their side” from any one we may have seen on video setting a fire, smashing a window, or helping themselves to a backpack full of Neiman Marcus, then I will genuinely respect your consistency even if I don’t agree with you.

                6. Just like there’s no denying that George Floyd died during his arrest, neither is there any denying that buildings have been burnt, vandalized, smashed, etc. It’s not rash judgment to say that Floyd is dead and that large chunks of America have been on fire. That’s not the issue.

                  The issue is about CULPABILITY for these occurrences. Rash judgment comes into play when outside observers publicly assign culpability to specific people without the accused being able to tell their side. On this forum, all kinds of people have condemned the cops as guilty. Concerning the rioters, I have not said anything about their guilt or how many years in jail they ought to have. What I have said is that the destruction is terrible and that those who are suffering from heavy losses deserve to have their suffering acknowledged too.

                7. I say I saw a murder the same way you say you saw rioting, unless what you meant to say was you saw property was destroyed but you make no judgement about whether it was rioting until you hear the individuals’ side of the story. That wou would be applying your standard of fairness equally.

                8. “I say I saw a murder the same way you say you saw rioting, unless what you meant to say was you saw property was destroyed but you make no judgement about whether it was rioting until you hear the individuals’ side of the story. That wou would be applying your standard of fairness equally.”

                  Look at these two definitions:
                  mur·der
                  /ˈmərdər/
                  noun
                  the UNLAWFUL premeditated killing of one human being by another.
                  “the stabbing murder of an off-Broadway producer”
                  verb
                  kill (someone) UNLAWFULLY and with premeditation.
                  “somebody tried to murder Joe”

                  rioting
                  /ˈrīədiNG/
                  noun
                  the violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.
                  “the clashes followed a night of rioting in several parts of the city”

                  The significant difference between these two words is that one is by definition unlawful. Something unlawful is a crime. When you say that you saw a murder, that is a pronunciation of guilt.

                  On the other hand, the definition of riot does not include any indication of criminality. Riots could be criminal, or they might actually be justified. I have seen many people comment that the riots that occurred in the wake of the death of George Floyd are justified. Many others have said they are not.

                  I have called the destruction of property “rioting,” but that does not declare criminality. Calling the death of George Floyd a murder does declare criminality. Furthermore, I have made no statement assigning culpability for the riots.

                  What I have said is that the destruction has caused a lot of terrible suffering. I have said that people should be concerned about that suffering. There’s nothing inconsistent about what I’ve said.

                9. Legally, rioting is a crime, but if you’re using the word in a non-legal sense, that’s up to you. I feel confident that I’ve seen rioting, looting, and arson in the days since George Floyd’s death. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be mitigating circumstances that would lessen someone’s culpability for their objectively criminal acts, but it’s not rash judgment to be persuaded by overwhelming evidence. (That’s a separate conversation from the one we need to have about the broader social and historical circumstances that led to these acts in the first place.)

                10. “…but it’s not rash judgment to be persuaded by overwhelming evidence.”

                  Both in real life and in literature, I’ve seen what was considered by many to be overwhelming evidence that actually wasn’t. In literature, remember 12 Angry Men? Excerpt from Wiki: “The evidence at first seems convincing.” “In a preliminary vote, all jurors vote guilty except Juror 8, who believes that there should be some discussion before the verdict is made.”

                  It was my 10th grade English teacher who taught the whole class a lesson about “overwhelming evidence.”

                  However, for all those who want to live by the standard of publicly judging and condemning someone else without hearing his side first, then they themselves should be judged without the ability to tell their side.

                11. I’ve seen several posts comparing and contrasting murder vs rioting, rioting being defined as “the violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.” And I saw the comment that “one is by definition unlawful.” I believe that is a misunderstanding even the definition of riot did not specify “unlawful.” The reason the “murder” definition had to specify it was unlawful killing is that killing in self defense is considered lawful; in many contries, killing for execution of a criminal is lawful; in Catholic teaching is the concept of a “just war” in which killing of enemy combatants is lawful. Thus, murder is unlawful killing, generally with intent. We have to let the courts decide for sure if George’s Floyd’s death was in fact murder, though the autopsy reports said homicide which means murder. But I am very concerned about riot, with the definition including the word “violent.” What does “violent mean? Same online dictionary gave 3 definitions – first, as “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something” (thus, violence can include murder). The dictionary also specified in law violence is “the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force” – note the word unlawful here. The American Psychological Assoc. says “Violence is an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder.” So I think that murder and rioting are part and parcel of the same thing. And rioting is NOT just buildings – innocent black men and women are being killed while these protests continue. 22 y.o. peaceful protester Italia Kelly started to leave a protest that was turning ugly, but was shot in the head as she was leaving; her family is calling for an end to the violence. Javar Harrell and Chris Beaty were NOT protesting but were present in the vicinity of protests and were killed – Chris Beaty lived in an area where protests were occurring and was shot just a few feet from his apartment. Chris had been a college football player and was a small business owner in his community. At least 3 black police officers were shot, and 2 are now dead – David Dorn David Patrick Underwood. I went through multiple news reports from a number of cities – I found a dozen black people, dead, in the riots, and I verified with photos that these black lives, lost to the riots – there may be more that I don’t know about – I have not searched every newspaper. When bricks start flying, when caustic substance start flying, and bullets start flying and people are all crowded together – the brick doesn’t know if it is a window or someone’s head; the bullet doesn’t know if you are black or white. The peaceful protests are a first amendment right; rioting is a crime and in my opinion, objectively a very grave sin, but one is in fact jeopardizing lives by these actions. I know that many protesters came intending peace, but others bring weapons. Those who have prepared in advance with weapons, including the bricks, the accelerants for the fires (I read of one house set on fire with people in it), the caustic substances to throw in faces – it would seem that these people came with the intent of violence The ones with weapons are there only to cause disunity and chaos through violence. I can’t know what is going through the minds of the violent ones, but I know that I have read some reports that peaceful leaders have asked violent ones not to do violence, and they have said – in reports I have found and on video – that “we’re not part of you” and they came to do their own thing. The businesses are important, though – many small business all over the country have permanently shuttered – they’re done. With the Covid shutdown, people couldn’t pay their rent and business expenses – if they still had a business, they don’t after the fires or being totally trashed. For many black families, that is the food on their table, it’s how they provide for their kids. Rev. Al Sharpton has been decrying the destruction of black businesses, because small business owners are generally not super-wealthy, and it will harm families. The families of some of the deceased are calling for end to violence. In my opinion, if the violent ones will not otherwise stop, then it would not be a bad thing to have the National Guard or even the military present – for 2 reasons. Local police are in many cases less well trained, more likely to be more fearful if they feel they are under attack, and perhaps could overreact, whereas, the National Guard as well the military have trained and drilled for safe policing – and our military has had to do policing in hot spots all over the world. They are actually trained for restraint, and there is some research that when there are many uniforms present, that the violence may stop without the officers actually having to do anything. I believe it can work better to have more officers rather than less. This is probably not a popular opinion among all here, but the violence has to stop. There is psychological research that when people act in anger, it begets more anger – you don’t necessarily “get it all out” and finish with it – acting in violence begets more violence. So -I’m all for banning the knee on neck thing, and I know racism is a sin – but the rioting is objectively also a grave sin though many don’t understand it that way and I can’t judge any individual’s culpability in the riots – but people’s lives are being recklessly endangered by the riots, and I think it should stop. Now, the Genesse Co. (Mich) sheriff did a brave thing, setting down weapons and marching with protesters, and it worked – good. Here https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/06/04/chris-swanson-genesee-county-sheriff-protests/5308685002/ But I would not condemn use of National Guard or military if necessary. I know that in the immediate crisis, governors, mayors, police chiefs and so one will make their decisions without waiting for my input, and probably the same for all of us – we don’t truly have any say in what happens in this moment, though there may be things we can vote on later, maybe there are things we’re seeing now that will end up in a referendum etc. But for this moment, so far, it doesn’t look like the violence is stopping on its own, and the harm of continued riots is a serious harm. And the damage from the riots goes way beyond buildings and merchandise – those small businesses give life to families and to communities, and the violence hurts more than only buildings – people are being injured badly in some cases, and some are dead. One was too many.

                12. Martha, I can’t imagine that your opinion about violence would be an unpopular one here. I don’t think most people on this thread would condone violence. The looting and rioting are multi-faceted. In many cases, it’s instigated by people other than protestors with their own agenda (sometimes to fuel racism). In some cases it’s just people taking advantage of a situation that makes it easier to get away with crime (because the police are otherwise engaged). In other cases it’s protestors who maybe didn’t plan to become violent, but ended up getting caught up in their rage about what has happened (their anger is justified, the violence is not). When MLK said that “rioting is the voice of the unheard” or something to that effect, he was not condoning violence, he was explaining its source. On the one hand, the violence hurts the cause of the protestors by distracting from the real issue and giving racists a perception of justification. On the other hand, did it get some attention in this case that contributed to the results (of the officers finally getting arrested)? It’s possible. Again, not that it’s justified, but sometimes desperate people take desperate measures. My heart goes out to the people whose businesses have been destroyed by violence, those who have been injured, and those who have been killed. The perpetrators should certainly be brought to justice. As should those who allowed a cop to use a cruel form of restraint and continue it long after the victim stopped moving, resulting in his death (related to a non-violent crime that he was being arrested for). And I pray that these tragedies result in an end to this type of restraint once and for all.

                13. The autopsies have already shown homicide, as someone else pointed out today, but as you say there could be some mitigating factor. One factor I did not realize till yesterday is that is a police procedure for knee on neck restrained which from what I read has been used rather commonly in Minneapolis area, though many time also causing unconsciousness and injury. Because of this, I am thinking that in each state, it would be good to review police procedures and training – perhaps by law enforcement experts, medical experts and a state legislative committee and perhaps others – to determine what updating would be appropriate, and it seems to me, to ban this procedure. It’s possible that in some way local training and procedures would mitigate the degree of culpability in this case, though not necessarily since I have read that Chauvin did not follow the correct procedure, and any case, he used this restraint much longer than necessary after Floyd was already cuffed. These factors will likely be considered in court in the ex-officers trials. Regarding the procedure itself – if the procedure becomes banned due to risk of serious injury and/or death, which may be necessary that would be a protection for citizens of all races and could prevent this from ever happening again. Even if a person were to live after such an event, I can easily see the possibility for very serious permanent injury. I think rather than just automatically going for a ban on this, a review of restraint procedures would be worthwhile to see what is necessary and safe and what is not, as it is possible this is not the only unsafe procedure.

                14. You’re right, it’s in the policy manual. The practice is severely limited in policy, (in Minneapolis), but widely used in practice, disproportionately on blacks. That’s just one reason the state’s begun a civil rights investigation of the whole department.

        4. I’m from MN. The reason that Justine Damond’s killer was charged was because of a law that was put in place a couple of years earlier that allowed police officers to be charged with murder even when they were on duty. This law was created due to protests and political pressure from groups like
          BLM, who carried out peaceful but fairly disruptive protests after the death of Philando Castile, a black man, at the hands of police.

      2. “Also, Derek Chauvin had 18 previous charges of misconduct against him as an officer but apparently did not suffer consequences or change his behavior.”

        Rebecca, be fair. Derek Chauvin also received at least three medals of commendation and valor. You didn’t mention that. Also, by itself, a complaint is just that. It’s a complaint. Not all complaints have merit, and people make them all the time to simply get at people. Apparently, if I understand this article correctly, only one complaint resulted in a reprimand for Chauvin.

        https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/06/03/cop-in-floyd-death-got-medals-for-valor-and-drew-complaints

        And by the way, half of the four cops involved in the Floyd arrest and death aren’t even white. One cop was black, and another was Asian. It has yet to be proven that this incident is one of racial unfairness. The question is whether or not excessive force was used.

        1. Where did I accuse him of racism? I’m calling out all police brutality here. I was a high school teacher for several years; if I had that many complaints against me, I would not have kept my job. Why would we hold police officers to a lesser standard than we do people in other professions? The union has conveniently required complaints and records to be sealed, and they have not earned my trust in believing that they’re not concealing other major offenses.

          1. Rebecca,

            You (and Simcah) are making this thing all about race.

            “I think a major part of the problem is that white people have not been held personally accountable for their individual acts of racism and for their support, overt or otherwise, of systemic racism. The bar for personal accountability for black people is astronomically high, but it’s barely noticeable for white people, by and large in the US.

            I think you will find that if you actually look into the events surrounding Justine Damond’s death, you will see that there is no real comparison between her death and George Floyd’s murder. I hope and pray that his killers serve much longer than 12 years, as they showed depraved indifference to his pleas for help.”

  15. Thank you so much for doing this, and for sharing your experience. I really pray that the Holy Spirit is using this to shake us up and once and for all change the systemic racism in our country. I’m hoping that the time of all this, occurring simultaneously with the pandemic, will really get people’s attention once and for all. I personally will never get that horrific image out of my mind.

  16. Simcha, it’s good that you were able to go to the BLM rally, and to be supportive. I noticed that a link at the end of the article led to many reports of police brutality apparently associated with the recent protests. However, there is some additional information I hope could be considered. There are many people who plan peaceful protests who intend to keep them peaceful. And there are also third parties, outsiders, who come to commit violence who may be unrelated to the organizers – who attempt to hijack the protest. I saw a video in which the organizers spoke to a rioter asking him to refrain from a violent action in progress – he, in essence, said he had nothing to do with the organizers and was there to do his own thing – which he did, though they asked him not to. This has occurred in a number of cities. In this article, a member of Antifa showed up at a peaceful protest, was asked not to commit violence, but did so anyway – and was later arrested (Link here https://bigleaguepolitics.com/antifa-boy-surrendered-by-mommy-and-daddy-to-pittsbugh-police-for-allegedly-inciting-a-riot/ ). When these rioters, like Antifa, get involved, many have gotten hurt including police. These intruders can make the peaceful protesters look bad, and cause them to be blamed when violence erupts OR can provoke the police when the police are forced to respond to the violence. In a peaceful protest in Las Vegas, some started throwing bricks at people, prompting officers to try to clear the crowd. While one person was being arrested someone shot an officer in the head, and the officer was on life support last night. Surgery today was successful, but with the gunshot wound to the head, he may still be permanently disabled at age 29. In Washington DC, many have reported a peaceful protest near a historic church that had been set fire the day before – but some present were hurling projectiles at police including bricks, and “caustic substances” (which sounds like acid attacks – which can permanently blind a person and cause horrific disfigurement to their face. Bricks flying through the air could have killed or badly injured someone whether a peaceful protester or an officer. Because of the escalating violence, plus intel that violence was planned by some, plus the finding of hidden weapons waiting in readiness, prompted police to disperse the crowd a little earlier than the 7 pm curfew. When throwing of projectiles persisted and some were trying to take weapons from police, after 3 warnings, police used smoke cannisters and pepper balls to disperse the crowd. I think it’s important to be aware that people with violence in mind are trying to escalate divisions and to pit the protesters against the police even while both sides are in fact being harmed – and people are hurt and confused because “it was peaceful” but not all were peaceful at many of these. At one protest-turned-riot a house with people in it was set on fire, and rioters worked hard to prevent first responders from rescuing a baby inside – though the baby was in the end saved. While tensions are high, possibly the most helpful thing could be to stay home and spend time praying for peace and justice. Maybe also think about what useful things we can do a bit later when tensions are lower. Gerard Nadal pointed out what I have been noticing, that many protests have been “seeded with trained agitators whose agenda has nothing to do with justice for blacks. A good many of their victims are black/minority business owners who have now lost everything.” In light of the violence at many of these recent events, and genuine risk of serious injury or even death – Nadal suggested, “Sometimes the best protest against injustice is to DO justice. Hold a fundraiser for a crime victims outreach, or a battered women’s shelter. Work a soup kitchen, or raise funds and help stock a food pantry in the inner city.” For some of us, the safety issues may be good reason to stay home but there are good options for responding to the need for solidarity. And I think important to remember that the third parties, such as Antifa, at the protests may create a false impression of police brutality across the board. For sure, there can be abuses, but you don’t always see on video what was going on that cause the police reaction, and there has been a lot in some cities. But in addition, police in many cities have come alongside peaceful protesters in support, which has been great to see – in Florida and in Ohio, officers knelt with protesters to pray – photos included in this article which covers various signs of hope https://www.faithwire.com/2020/06/01/three-signs-of-hope-in-the-midst-of-riots-pandemics-and-police-brutality/ I’m thinking it’s important that we don’t think of either “side” as the bad guys – even though are individuals who do wrong, and to remember that reporting may only show part of the picture, with those third parties in the middle doing their best to sow violence and confusion and pit us against each other – important to remember when many of the protests recently have turned violent.

      1. Andrea – that is interesting news that no indictments have included the word “Antifa.” I have not read any actual indictments. There are protests in so many cities and states, and many have been arrested, 80 in one city, a different number in another. Is there a website that actually shows all the indictments of every person who has been arrested? If so, I would be interested to know where. In some cases, news reports that I have read, have specified Antifa, for example in the case of a young white male rioter who was wanted and his parents turned him in – who reportedly was Antifa. I suppose in some cases that are still under investigation, it might be obvious that a person was starting a fire or bashing someone’s head while the motivation or associations may not be apparent until further investigation. I don’t know of any central data base where all the indictments for all the riots would be located. In any case, it appears there are groups hijacking peaceful protests and muddying the waters. In my opinion, it’s helpful to keep that in mind – sadly, these violent hijackers are hurting the black protesters as well as the police. With good reason, many African American leaders, family of George Floyd, and families of deceased protesters are calling for end to violence. As a bit more time passes perhaps more information will be forthcoming about the hijacking groups.

    1. Thank you, Martha. I couldn’t reply to your response above; too far downthread. But I appreciate your emphasis on prayer as a solution, and on insisting that no group be treated as a group rather than as individuals. Overall I think that:
      1. Life Chain-style protests would be very helpful now. Spread out (Life Chain was made for social distancing!) single-file on sidewalks gives no cover to people there to make trouble, allows a lot more people to see the message rather than just having a dense crowd in a blocked-off area, and avoids the problems that arise with crowd-mentality or panics or whatever.
      2. George Floyd’s death was wrong. But Justine Damond isn’t a better kind of dead due if she was killed by a trigger-happy cop instead of a racist cop. Breonna Taylor isn’t a better kind of dead due to being killed by a police department too incompetent to check that they had the right address. Patrick Underwood isn’t a better kind of dead due to being black law enforcement killed by rioters. Treating every city and every incident as though race is the only issue leads to Do Something-ism where some law gets passed about diversity training or hiring or whatever – and that doesn’t do anything to fix totally different problems, but everyone can feel like Something Was Done and go back to ignoring whatever the real (or other) problem in their city is.
      3. Catholics, of all people, should understand both the evil that can be done by bad actors and those who cover for them *and* that there are still a lot of really good people in that same group (now cops, but also priests and bishops). No one is well-served by acting like the great ones are the only ones in the group, but neither does it help to insist that the evildoers are the only ones, or that the good ones should be punished for the evil done by someone else.
      At any rate, thank you for your peaceful replies here!

      1. Anna, thank you so much for your comments, and your feedback to me. In many settings these days I am finding that many are so angry angry and reactive it’s impossible to even have a conversation about these. I’m thankful that here it has been possible to speak about these things and learn from each other. All of us have some different information or different insights and different experiences – if we can’t listen to each other, no one learns and there is no progress. I’m truly thankful for each person here who listens and who shares and some of us may continue to reflect on these things in coming days. Praying for peace.

  17. I’m very glad it was a good experience for y’all.

    I witnessed a very intense, but peaceful, conversation between two people, one black, one white, at the grocery store today about race and perception. Conversation, actual dialogue, seems to be happening.

    “Racism isn’t getting worse, it’s being filmed”…hopeful in a way, isn’t it? You have to see something to change it.

    Just please, do me a favor anyone reading this, when someone says they’re struggling with the idea of ‘white privilage’ but seem open to dialogue and learning more, please talk to them and listen to what they’re struggling with instead of telling them to engage in introspection to see that you’re right and shoving a copy of “White Fragility” at them.

    It comes across as incredibly dismissive and patronizing, and alienating a group of people is not the way to go about converting them. (There’s a difference between beligerantly racist and confused/ in new territory).

    1. GiannaT, I believe I understand what you are trying to say here. I am not sure who your “favor” request is aimed at, but I want to point out, that it’s wrong of white folks to demand that their black friends and fellow citizens stop what *they* are doing, feeling, and dealing with, to do more emotional labor in dialogue with us. And a lot of times that is how the request for help from white people comes across. Think about it: would you teach your kids to, or would you, normally, go up to a traumatized person and demand that a traumatized person discuss the systematic causes and personal experiences of their trauma with us, and on your timetable and in the manner you want? Likely, not.

      I think white folks need to stand in the gap, especially at times like these. We have to work on it with each other. We have to talk, and read White Fragility together and discuss it. We have to speak to each other respectfully, too. You are so right about that. Dismissiveness kills relationships.

      We should always be open to hearing the voices of those who have different experiences but we can’t demand that they be willing to share whenever we want. The good news is that there are already lots and lots of people talking, already out there, if we do the tiniest bit of work to find them.

      1. I’m a survivor of sexual assault. I get the trauma and sharing thing…I’ve chosen to talk publicly about my story, but one of the reasons I started a blog is so I could write it down and just send people a link instead of having to relive it repeatedly. I know what it’s like to have painful personal stories asked of you, and I’m only going to have that conversation with a person of color if they’ve shown themselves open to having it (started the conversation themselves).

        My problem is that there only seems to be room for one experience of being white, and it’s what this lady laid out. I admittedly haven’t read the book (we’re looking at getting a copy), but it seems like if you grew up in a neighborhood or area where white people were the minority or the culture was different, you can’t bring that into the conversation at all. I’ve seen racism in my community, but it doesn’t really resemble what everyone else seems to tie into white privilage – because most people in my community aren’t white, including those in positions of power (check out the demographics for Corpus Christi Texas if you want to verify that).

        It’s not talking with people of color that I struggle with – every single person who’s been dismissive has been white. If a person of color found my struggles with this stuff insulting, I would get it, but not the white people who have been offended, if that makes sense. I just get shouted down, and I feel like it’s because my experience doesn’t fit the majority narrative.

        1. Thank you for sharing your perspective, Gianna. I would be interested in hearing more about your point of view. I’m sorry that you’ve been shut down or closed out of conversations. I think, as you’re pointing out, that it’s good to remember that not all white people share the same experiences; we are not a monolith, anymore than black people are.

          I started reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, and she points out that at many times in our history, poor and working-class whites have had a *lot* more in common with black people than they do with white elites. She goes on to make the point that political parties (different ones as they evolved over time) have tried to drive a wedge between poor whites and blacks by exploiting the fears of those white people. Not all white people have benefited from their privilege to the same degree; is that the kind of thing you’re talking about?

          1. Yes, more or less.

            I mean, white privilege exists in my community, but it does seem to be more of an elite thing (and in cases where it’s from the working class, it’s Latinos preferencing whites at car dealerships and similar situations because there’s still this (often incorrect) assumption that we make more money). Most people who live in my hometown are Tejano (Latino from Texas, it’s a distinct culture), including many who are pretty well off.

            So the majority of people you meet in day to day life, including many in the upper class, aren’t white. And so for the conversation about privilege and African Americans, the primary social interactions aren’t between white and black, they’re between Latino and black. The conversation down here is just overall different.

            And in some isolated cases, it’s Latino privilege over white too. I grew up in a small town outside of Corpus called Robstown where I was one of two white kids in my middle school class. All of my other classmates and teachers were Latino (at the high school in Corpus I attended, it was 80% Latino student body, and about 40% of the teachers were Latino). I experienced a lot of nasty comments and assumptions about me and my family because of my race, at least one assignment in school that I was excluded from because I was white (one of the other white kids had to point that out to the teacher to get it changed), and cultural customs I was excluded from too. All of that was pretty mild, and wouldn’t have happened outside of that community, but it is possible for some white people to have experiences of predjudice against them too, and be able to empathize with that experience of being a minority on a more experencetial level.

            So…even though white privelege exists here, it’s a different conversation, especially as it regards the African American community (Latinos down here are often openly racist against blacks, but they aren’t covered in the conversation).

            Different communities have different dynamics, and that needs to be talked about too.

            1. That makes a lot of sense. It sounds like you’re saying that privilege resides with the majority, whatever ethnicity that may be, and the minority is excluded in various ways. So our culture centers the discussion around white privilege vs black exclusion when that isn’t the make-up or dynamic of every part of the US.

              I listened to a great podcast discussion yesterday between Brené Brown and Ibram X. Kendi, who wrote a book called How to Be An Anti-Racist. One thing he addressed was how he faced his own racism that he had internalized towards white people and black people. Because as you point out, minorities can have prejudiced views of other people too. It was a great discussion of how racism hurts everyone. I really want to read the book now!

              1. This has been a fantastic conversation…I’ve got a few more books to add to my list now. 🙂

                But yeah, exactly. I’ll readily admit that whites might be the majority most places, and maybe even be a little more advantaged in a lot of places where they’re not, but there’s a lot that’s not covered just by talking about or ‘solving’ white privilege.

                Thank you sincerely for actually discussing with me, by the way. That really means a lot.

                1. You’re welcome! This is probably one of the best conversations I’ve had on the internet probably ever. Yeah, I see your point that tackling things from the perspective of whites privilege is not a helpful approach for everyone. And personally I’ve seen that approach fail, where the whites person feels defensive because they haven’t benefited as much as other people have.
                  If I can make one more book recommendation (and I’m sorry if this is overload! I just loved this book) I learned a LOT from Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; he works with inmates on death row who have been wrongfully convicted or had unjust sentences. He tells a lot of stories about the people he works with that show how our present law enforcement and criminal justice system treat black and poor people. It helps explain I think some of the background for why black people are so fed up with the police and their tactics. He doesn’t talk about it in an accusatory way, either, blaming white people for all this; it’s just matter of fact, this is what happened, etc. I really liked his approach. (It’s also a movie streaming for free on Amazon Prime for the month of June!)

                  I wish you well, and thanks for a good conversation!

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