He wasn’t one of the “good” ones
Do you remember the black Harvard professor who was surprised when the police rushed to his home. The neighbor reported a black man entering the home. Media outlets wrote about the unfortunate distance between people in our society. We don’t even know our neighbors! But underneath the head shaking was a subtext—a Harvard professor did not deserve such treatment. He was one of the good ones! If he had been a different sort of black person, well, the neighbor’s concern would have been understandable. I just hate it when an argument is made to end racism by presenting the resume of the worthy black person who had been wronged as if this one had earned something others had as a birth right.
George Floyd did not have much of a resume. Any argument about treating him right would not be won on the merits of what he had earned but on what he deserved simply as a member of the human race. I like that argument so much better. Everyone will have different standards about what a Black person has to do to earn the right to be considered human. Recognition of humanity as an unquestionable given puts us all on much firmer footing. I wonder if I would feel this way if I had not ruined my own claim to being one of the good ones? Would I have compassion if I didn’t need compassion. We will never know but my money would be on my long-standing arrogance. Only when I became everything that I once disdained did I develop a feeling of inclusivity for everyone.