I’ve been thinking about what to add to the flood of voices we’ve heard about racism and, more specifically, police brutality and the murder of George Floyd. I want to remind our employees, our customers, our partners, and our friends in the industry that Molecule values justice and that we stand with America (our country and its people).
There’s really nothing I can say that’s not brutally obvious:
- America’s original sin was slavery.
- Many of racism’s roots were there.
- The Civil War largely killed slavery, but not racism.
- The Civil Rights Act didn’t kill racism.
- Pretending color didn’t matter, as my generation did (with the best of intentions), didn’t kill racism.
- Electing a Black president didn’t kill racism.
- We have to kill racism in our hearts, in our subconscious minds, in our living rooms, in our families, in private and in public.
We have, apparently, a fair number of ill-trained and/or racist people who hold the power of life and death in their hands, and who are charged with keeping us safe. But instead, they get away with murder — over, and over again. Something is badly broken in America's police forces. It has been 28 years since Rodney King’s beating, and the subsequent riots, opened my eyes to police brutality. From everything I read, we’ve shuffled the chairs around a bit — but in some places, we haven’t changed a whole lot.
There’s a lot — a lot we need to do as a society, to fix this. Justin Amash’s “Ending Qualified Immunity Act”, on its surface, seems to be a great start. Nobody should be above the law; especially laws related to murder. There’s also lots more we can do, from a policy perspective:
- Making sure to train police and first responders better, so they're less likely to shoot to kill (helping avoid cases like Botham Shem Jean), and so they're better at de-escalation.
- Paying police, teachers, and our other public servants generously (not minimally, or simply adequately) — so we can get the best, most qualified individuals to do these critical jobs.
- Making sure we understand that slavery in America lasted 200 years, and was followed by another 100 years of written-into-law racism that ended only 56 years ago. It’s not even close to the time when we can stop paying attention via policies like affirmative action.
But the most important thing we can do, as private citizens, is to speak. Speak to our racist uncles at the Thanksgiving table. Speak to our friends who joke about racist things. Speak to our coworkers and employees about what racism means to you. Speak to the person who wonders if maybe George Floyd encouraged his own death in some way. Speak. Without violence, but loudly — like our common heroes: MLK, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. As E.L. Doctorow and Stephen Flaherty’s fictional character Coalhouse Walker sang in his dying minutes: “Make them hear you.”
Make them f@#%ing hear you, America. Make them hear you.