Police violence and racism in the US

That’s a serious issue in the UK too.

I had been so turned off by all the idiotic headlines about Dominic Cummings that I stopped following all news.

I mean, jeez, I don’t think I saw more than one headline about Nigel Farage’s violation of the lockdown rules so that he could go catch dangerous migrants at Calais, but all of a sudden, all news sites had at least six items about Cummings, for days.

My point? Because I stopped following the news, I missed what happened in the US.

That’s why I didn’t understand why someone suddenly responded to one of my tweets about an earlier incident, a few weeks ago, in NYC.

When I saw the headlines yesterday, I wanted to cry. I feel like crying while I am typing this. Why can’t people get along?

On the other hand, I also know that a lot of really bad crap can be the precursor for a major change toward the better.

There is a big discussion about diversity going on in my home country at the moment too, possibly sparked by the pandemic, as it unleashed a lot of animosity against Asian-looking people there. The latter has also occurred in the US and in the UK.

I used to live in a city in the US in which police killed a young black man after which riots followed right when I had just returned to the Netherlands. It was normally a very peaceful environment to live in, much safer than the UK, generally speaking.

Cycling down streets there and observing people as well as having a few innocent remarks misinterpreted taught me how marginalised some people felt there. And the further north I cycled, the whiter and creepier the neighbourhoods became.

One of my marine science colleagues there saw nothing wrong with showing me his home and introducing me to the cats I was going to look after while he was on vacation, commenting that the house next-door was empty at the time and adding that he hoped no black people would move in as it would make the value of his property go down.

He said it as if it was the most normal thing in the world to say. I was too stunned and still too unfamiliar with this kind of thing to know what to say. I said nothing, sadly. I no longer remember the guy’s name. Probably for the best.

The university department was lily-white too. (I also noticed that people from Puerto Rico were often thought to be foreign. They are American. I am not sure what this misunderstanding means.)

To anyone in the UK thinking that this kind of thing is “typically American”, I say “No, it ain’t”. It happens a lot in the UK too. Police violence against people because their skin isn’t lily-white is common in the UK as well.

But it seems to raise fewer protests here.

(If any…)

Just like Brits see themselves as human rights champions, while they aren’t at all, they also often see themselves as highly tolerant when they aren’t at all. What we grow up with and are accustomed to, we see as perfectly normal. That doesn’t mean that it is perfectly normal when you look at it from a different angle.

So please, don’t point the finger at the US too quickly.