I came across a blog post this week in which the author said they couldn’t understand how the police could have treated George Floyd like this.
Please don’t say that. Especially my fellow white people, please please don’t say anything resembling this. Disbelief over how a Black man could be met with this level of violence might be intended as horror or outrage; you might actually be trying to express support for the Floyd family as they relive this nightmare for the world’s consumption. But that’s not what Black or other people of color hear.
Our disbelief reads as not caring enough to pay attention to what’s happened to Black and brown bodies for decades. Saying we don’t understand means we don’t see how Black lives are valued so little a police officer feels safe squeezing the life out of a Black man on camera.
Say you’re outraged. Say it’s horrific, atrocious, heartbreaking. But please don’t say it’s shocking. It’s not. It’s about as American as it gets.