Love Us Like You Love Our Culture

Mural for the late George Floyd, in Minneapolis, MN

Hello everyone! This piece discusses my reaction to the deadly arrest of George Floyd, and what I’ve learned. I’ll also touch on the protesting and rioting flooding this country. Enjoy, and please share it with your friends.

DISCLAIMER: There are numerous ideas, facts, & links I could’ve incorporated in this piece. However, I only wrote what I am knowledgeable about. If you have any suggestions or issues with what this piece contains, you may leave a comment, or contact me at andyaguity@gmail.com. Or you can make your own damn blog.


I never planned on writing this piece. And here’s why.

A high school friend, walking at a protest in New York City in a homemade t-shirt that reads, “Love Us Like You Love Our Culture”. He is the inspiration behind the title of this piece. 

I too was impacted by the death of George Floyd. It took me six days to watch the video of his arrest. Scenes like that remain on my mind forever.

And think about the arrest itself. Did the Minnesota Police Department need four officers to subdue one man? For a harmless crime involving counterfeit money? 

And to add insult to injury, Floyd never posed a threat to those officers. In the video, he complied with their orders, and never resisted arrest. 

Yet, he still lost his life.

As the video of Floyd went viral, the black community (as expected) shared their displeasure on social media.

However, in the midst of their displeasure, I noticed a familiar scene unfold. 

Courageous citizens while at a protest in New York City on June 1st.

Several expressed their opinion on the arrest. But others expressed their dissatisfaction with numerous groups: the oft-racist authorities, the black community, the white community, etc.

And they proceeded to share what they believe these groups should do, in response to Floyd’s arrest.

Now, let me clarify. I’m in no way, shape, or form justifying the cruel acts of Derek Chauvin, George Floyd’s murderer. Nor am I saying the black community shouldn’t be angry.

What I’m saying, is. If you desire change, why don’t you be the change? From the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE.” 

Refrain from stating the obvious and telling others what they already know.

That’s how I felt. Initially.

The black community is angry with the endless injustice suffered by their race. I understand that. But don’t repeatedly state a problem you have no solution for.

Citizens while at a protest in New York City on May 31st.

And therefore, I didn’t want to feel as if I was doing a similar act, by writing a piece.

But as I began to read more about police brutality and Floyd’s arrest, I then learned what the black community was doing. 

It was activism.

Growing up, I would hear the word “activism” in situations dealing with social issues and race. But I never knew what it meant.

Thankfully, over the past few days, I’ve witnessed its significance in our society.

In my own words, I define activism as completing different deeds, with the intention to educate others on your social beliefs and what’s morally and politically correct. 

And I learned that activism can be represented in a variety of ways: conversations about racial issues, signing a petition, and most notably, protesting.

Citizens while at a protest in Amsterdam, Netherlands on May 31st.

Therefore, I recognized that the black community was participating with their own form of activism, specifically, media activism: utilizing social media platforms to teach others. 

In this case, the community educated our society on the impact of George Floyd’s death, and other Africans Americans who died at the hands of the police.

That is when I understood their doings. 

And along with them, I too asked, why aren’t more people speaking up on social issues?

Some are comfortable spending their entire lives uttering bullshit, but won’t use a few moments to voice their opinions on what’s prevalent in their society, and their position on this matter with George Floyd.

And the white people sitting in silence, we expect you to speak as well, primarily those who claim to not be racist.

Why do you think this piece is titled “Love Us Like You Love Our Culture” ?. 

If you love black culture so much, the food, music, clothing, language, why can’t you love who we are? Make it make sense.

A wise person once said, “everyone wants to be black until it’s time to be black.” 

Image courtesy of chris.from96 Instagram account.

If you want to be black that bad, defend us in these times. Tell people that white privilege is a real thing. 

We must continue to bring awareness to the police brutality against blacks taking place in our country each day. If you remain silent, we already know where you stand.

With that being said, this piece is my form of activism. And here’s why I wrote it.

I remember when Trayvon Martin passed away in 2012. I was eleven years old then, too naive to understand the severity of his death.

As I grew older, however, I realized it’s significance. Trayvon was a young black child, gunned down by a white man because he appeared to be a threat to his livelihood.

Looking back now, Trayvon could’ve been anyone of us. 

Video of former NBA player, Stephen Jackson, speaking on the death of his friend, George Floyd.

And I must admit, I was also ignorant following the death of Eric Garner. His deadly arrest had a striking resemblance to that of George Floyd. 

The fact that multiple white police officers subdued these men for crimes so minuscule, is beyond me.

The year of Trayvon Martin’s death is when I learned about Emmit Till. He was another young black child, brutally beaten to death by a group of white men. 

He didn’t even commit a crime! And have you seen what they did to his face? I warn you, it’s graphic.

I freeze in disgust whenever I see that photo of Emmitt Till in his casket. And again, any one of us could’ve been Emmitt, dying at the hands of the white man.

Courageous citizens while at a protest in New York City on May 31st.

I discovered that I’ve always been somewhat of an activist, I just never realized it. 

I was hysterical, along with the black community, when these deaths took place. I too have some resentment for the police because of police brutality. 

I simply never knew how to speak up, or how to become an activist. I never asked questions.

But NOW I know, and HERE I am. 

I’ve learned that as a black man, I must say how I feel. Thank you to the black community for teaching me, and others, about activism.

I’ve been so confused for years, yet I haven’t said a word about it. 

But now, the white community and police must hear what I, and we, have to say. And it starts with this piece.

Photo containing African American people who passed due to police brutality. Image courtesy of princetonperez Instagram account.

Like, none of these terrible acts from the police makes sense. Don’t they teach de-escalation in police training? 

I’ve witnessed several videos of police brutality in the last week, and can’t help to wonder if all on these officers’ minds, is to kill. 

All of these videos show officers ruthlessly beating civilians who aren’t posing as threats to them.

They’re bullies who feel as if they can do as they please because of the badge on their chest, the batons in their hand, and the gun in their holster. It’s sickening.

These upcoming weeks and months are pivotal in black America. We must ensure that our voices are being heard, so these police officers, white people, and oppressors are well aware, that we’re tired of their shit.

If we don’t speak up now and become activists, we may never get an opportunity like this again. 

Video of Stephen Jackson, while at a news conference, alongside the family of George Floyd.

What comes with silence is a recurring cycle. And before we know it, we’ll have another George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor dead at the hands of the police. 

And black America is going to be angry again.


Before I conclude, I must comment on some events that have caught my attention this past week. Most notably the protesting, rioting, and looting taking place across the country.

I believe that if you’re healthy, willing, and able, you should be protesting. I personally haven’t participated because of the potential dangers that stem from it. 

I do commend those who protest. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish.

With that being said, there are many things you can do as an activist if you’re unable to protest.

Stephen Jackson while at a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a 15-year NBA veteran and longtime friend of George Floyd.

You can donate to bail funds. Donate to GoFundMe pages. Assist in clean-up efforts. Contact police departments, and members of your cities government. 

You can read, educate yourselves, and others, on what’s taking place in this society. And always ask questions if you’re confused.

As far rioting and looting is concerned, I support it. If my mother wasn’t so strict with curfew, I would be right there alongside you rioters.

I just have some reservations. 

You’ve probably heard this already, but don’t loot any black-owned businesses. It defeats the purpose of looting and rioting in this situation. You’re destroying businesses owned by those you’re trying to gain justice for.

Citizens while at a protest in New York City on June 1st.

That’s just ignorant.

And another thing. Before you engage in rioting, ask yourself: are you rioting for a good cause? To have justice served for George Floyd? 

Or are you rioting because it looks fun? And hundreds of other people are doing it? And you can come away with some free merchandise? 

Do the right thing.

And for those who don’t understand why people are rioting and looting, it’s because we’re tired of being discriminated, being harassed, & being disrespected because we’re a bit darker than everyone else. 

The great Martin Luther King Jr once said “rioting is the language of the unheard.” 

And we’ve gone unheard for too long. Police, white community, oppressors, you’re going to hear what’s on our minds, whether you like it or not.

Stephen Jackson and Gianna, George Floyd’s daughter.

And it’s not just black America. Any race that’s isn’t white, this is for you as well. 

We live in a country that preaches equality, yet treats its minorities as a second & third-class citizens. And it must end.

I now recognize the controversy behind the #AllLivesMatter hashtag. 

How the hell do all lives matter, when white people and police officers don’t care about black lives?

You think Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, cared about George Floyd, a black man, when he had his foot on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, killing him in the process? 

I didn’t think so.

Therefore, the black community, we must not remain silent. Make sure you speak out. Do your part. Be informed. 

If we do what we have to do, justice WILL be served, once, and for all.

Animated image of George Floyd. Image courtesy of _stak_5 Instagram account.

My prayers and condolences go out to the friends and families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and any other black citizen who has passed due to police brutality. You are gone, but not forgotten.


If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!

Blessings,

Andy

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Click here, to see how you can make a difference in this time of need.

*Special shoutout to Stephen Jackson, 15-year NBA veteran, and longtime friend of George Floyd. He has been at the forefront of this movement, becoming a public voice & fighting for justice every single day. He is an inspiration for me, and for those that are impacted by this tragedy. Stephen, thank you.

4 thoughts on “Love Us Like You Love Our Culture

  1. this was an amazing piece .. from beginning to end. very well said and i loved hearing about your realization of what activism is and how you play a role ❤️ !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You actually attacked all points
    Some of us were feeling these ideas but we didn’t know how to express it we didn’t even know what we were doing was really called activism but it is

    Liked by 1 person

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