9 fucking minutes.
A white police officer—someone tasked with serving and protecting his community—knelt on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, 8 days ago. In front of three other officers and people filming the entire event, pleading with him to stop as George Floyd begged for his life, he murdered a Black man.
The country has erupted in response—and rightly so.
George Floyd’s murder is only the latest example of police—subsidized by local, state, and the federal government—targeting and attacking the Black community. It’s a massive problem and one that’s being ignored by most politicians. And, in the case of the president, a problem being stoked by racist, fascist rhetoric and violent actions against largely peaceful protests.
I’m privileged to be white, live in an area of the country that’s relatively safe, have local and state representatives that have spoken out and voted against police brutality and racism, and have a buffer that most people in the country don’t. My family and I will never experience the kind of racism and brutality that George Floyd, and countless others, have. I’m grateful for that but I’m mad as hell that others will.
Like a lot of white people, I’ve been struggling with how to engage and make any difference in the face of such huge problems. While donating is something I can, have, and will continue to do, it seems insignificant. Fortunately, people have been putting in the work to give everyone options for how to help right now.
For those who can donate money, do it. There is no shortage of organizations helping fight police brutality, corrupt politicians, and systemic racism that need more money. Start giving whatever you can.
Listen to podcasts? Try some new ones. It’s not just white guys (including me) making podcasts. Diversify your listening.
Read books about racism, its structures, and its effects. Racism has a long and complicated history, and its effects manifest in so many different ways. Thankfully, we have a lot of authors tackling the subject from various angles. Tatiana Mac has a great list of options. And if you have kids, try some of these instead of Dr. Seuss for the 598th time.
Encourage and amplify voices unlike your own. Especially in the tech, design, and marketing industries, where diversity is a massive problem. There are so many people doing amazing work. Talk to them and share it.
If you’re part of a marginalized group in the email, marketing, or tech community, respond to this email and let me know what you’re working on. I’d love to check it out and try to use my limited platform as much as possible to amplify your voice and work.
As Killer Mike said, now’s the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize. Even if you can’t donate money, donate at least 9 fucking minutes every day to writing to your representatives, educating yourself about race, amplifying marginalized voices that need to be heard, and supporting the Black community.
Be safe and be smart. But stay angry and get active.
Thoughts on this post? Email me and let me know.