For the past few weeks, I've been thinking about why large numbers of white people have finally started protesting police violence against black people. It's been obvious for years now with hundreds of videos as evidence. So why now? What about George Floyd's death was so different?
A few weeks ago, I saw a suggestion from a black man on Twitter that it was because of coronavirus; white people just have more time on their hands. That struck me as very true, but it was also disheartening as it implied “white people didn’t have anything better to do”.
Tamir Rice’s birthday is June 25, same as mine. He was born 4 days before my son was born. My son and him are almost exactly the same age. Or they would have been if a racist system hadn’t murdered Tamir for playing with a toy gun. Tamir would have turned 18 this month. Tamir would have been leaving his parent’s home and starting out his life as an adult. My son gets to do all those things. Tamir does not.
Edit: My son, Owen, just pointed out that George Floyd was my age. Born in 1973.