I’ve been slow picking up on the George Floyd story. I heard about it when it happened and chose not to watch the video. Also, having been away from social media for a few days, it took a while for me to fully comprehend what had happened in regard to the murder of George Floyd.
I’ve recently started to my own YouTube channel which is focused for now on Basketball. As the weight of what happened in regard to the murder of George Floyd hit me, I thought about making a video and speaking about my views on it.
I wanted to make the video but I was struck with fear. Fear of what people would think. About whether or not it was appropriate to comment being a white man from Ireland. Fear that people would watch my video and pass judgement on whether I was right or wrong in my opinion in regard to the murder of George Floyd.
My YouTube channel is a week old with eight videos. All pretty mediocre and my only subscribers so far are family and friends. The days leading up to starting the channel though were riddled with fear. Fear about what people would think. I got over it and that fear was replaced by optimism and excitement.
In regard to the murder of George Floyd and making a video, I have to overcome that fear again. But it isn´t optimism nor excitement awaiting me, its caution and purpose. Cautious because of the very nature of the subject and being well aware I´m no expert. Purpose because I feel like it could be the first meaningful thing I have done in my life in some time.
But I can´t tell you anything you don´t know about the George Floyd murder or the Black Lives Matter movement. I can´t offer a take on the whole ugliness of it with the composure, intelligence and power of Trevor Noah.
But what I don´t want to do is sit back and say ´America is fucked´ or ´only in America´ and continue watching on from the outside like a cinema goer watching a gruesome scene in a movie.
An 18 year old from Cork sent horribly racists messages to Ian Wright in May.
A 17 year old from Kerry born to Albanian parents was playing football alone when an adult told him to go back to his own country, also in May.
20 year old Morgan Bullock was racially abused because she dared to be an Irish dancer, in May…
Incidents of racism have more than doubled in Ireland in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.
But when we talk about racism in Ireland, a common retort is “there will always be a few idiots, best to ignore hem”. In other words, if you ignore it, it´s like it doesn´t exist. Ignorance is bliss. Easy for us white people to say.
We shouldn´t accept a society that believes ignoring the issue will make it go away. Why would we set the bar that low? In Ireland we like to think of ourselves as progressive and in many ways we are. But to be truly progressive, we need to look at our attitude towards racism both as individuals and as a society. Accept where we are going wrong and strive to change for the better.
It fills me with pride to see the protests taking place at the American Embassy in Dublin, but it doesn´t take long before that pride turns to disbelief at the comments criticising these protesters. In regard to the murder of George Floyd and everything that´s happening in the States, Trevor Noah said;
“´the have´s´ will tell the ´have not´s´ that the way they are protesting is the wrong way to go about it”