It’s a dangerous thing when you import the worst aspects of another culture. And an even worse thing when you import the worst interpretation of that worst aspect of another culture.
This week marked a year since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman in Minnesota. Since that time, Derek Chauvin, the policeman who killed Mr Floyd, has been tried, convicted of causing his death and is currently awaiting sentence. Around the world, the actions of this one awful policeman have been extrapolated out beyond endurance. It has been claimed that they revealed the truth about race relations in America. They have been used to claim that race relations around the world are the same as they are in America. And they have been used to claim that absolutely every-thing from the past in countries like our own must be reinterpreted, ‘decolonised’ and much more.
That ongoing process looks as though it may well be endless. Each week brings ever more ridiculous examples. For instance, last Saturday, to commemorate the anniversary of Floyd’s death, Norwich city council announced that it was lighting up its town hall. So last weekend the building was lit up in yellow, pink and turquoise. I don’t know why these colours were chosen. Perhaps turquoise and pink were among Mr Floyd’s favourites. Or perhaps they had some other significance.
When I read that Norwich town hall was doing this, my first thought was not ‘How beautiful’, but simply ‘Why?’ What did Norwich town hall have to do with it? It is the sort of thing a guilty party might do, certainly. But what in the world is the linkage between the citizens of Norwich, or even its council, and the actions of Derek Chauvin?
Sadly Norwich was not the strangest such offender this week.