Opinion: It’s all Black and White

June 24, 2020

The Los Angeles Times and some other newspapers have decided to start referring in news stories to the race formerly known as “blacks” as simply “Blacks” when referring to people of African descent in news stories.

 

Believe it or not, such a simple change has been debated for years in newsrooms.

 

It is though these editors are debating whether to call Mexicans “mexicans,” which looks silly.

This language usage change came about after the death on May 25 of one George Floyd, a Black, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, a White, who was arresting him on suspicion of counterfeiting on a Minneapolis street. Floyd, who spent years of his life in prison because of felony convictions, was widely mourned after his death, by Blacks and Whites throughout the country. 

 

The public mourning was not because Floyd was a person of particular note. He was pretty much a common thug. What angered the country was that his death was shown on television when the Minneapolis police officer, a White, who was making the arrest, knelt on Floyds’s neck until Floyd choked to death.

 

That was an awful thing to see, regardless of what one might have thought about George Floyd. Almost equally as awful were Floyd’s death gasps: “I can’t breathe,” he kept wheezing, “I can’t breathe.”

 

There will be a trial over what we all saw of Floyd’s summary execution. And that trial may not settle anything. A lot of Black and White minds are already made up.

 

I asked a Black member of the Madera community why so many Blacks were so upset over the way George died.

 

“There is just no way you can know,” she said, “if you aren’t Black. 

 

“I could never put the burden aside of knowing that my grandchildren could be judged in a moment and die like that Mr. George did just because they are Black — and only because of that. It’s terrifying.”

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