We were doing okay, weren’t we?
I live in Minnesota. Been here my whole life. Until George Floyd happened, this seemed like a pretty decent place where people get a fair shake. Maybe that’s true sometimes. Perhaps most of the time. It’s not enough.
I am a white guy. A small business person. A father. A partner. A person with privilege. I consider myself a liberal guy. Not a bleeding heart, but down with the cause. I have the privilege to choose to keep politics out of my business. I didn’t think my involvement was needed. While I’m happy to see social progress, it wasn’t what got me up in the morning.
In my head, Minnesota was a little liberal oasis in the Midwestern United States. Sure, we had problems, like anywhere. We’d had an uncomfortable number of questionable white-cop on black-man incidents in the last few years. But we do “good work” here, right? We have an active philanthropic community. Many of our prominent public voices are progressive. These are the thoughts with which I let myself off the hook.
Nope. We were asleep at the wheel.
We have grossly neglected our social duty to our brothers and sisters in Minnesota. I have neglected to advocate for the truths that should be self-evident (sound familiar?) through rationalizations requiring big, heaping helpings of benefit-of-the-doubt for police behavior that cannot (and should not) be rationalized. Those like me, with privilege, have fucked up by standing on the sidelines.
The problem isn’t just bad cops and their crooked unions. The problem isn’t just racists or the leaders who egg them on.
I’m also part of the problem.
Black Lives Matter. Those are words that cannot be argued against. It is a humble statement that doesn’t diminish anyone else’s “mattering.” A simple statement everyone knows to be true. These are much more important words than I understood a short time ago.
What’s next? I’m not an activist. So how can I become part of the solution? I suspect It’s time for me to stop talking and start listening.