George floyd

Black Britons betrayed

In this frustrating book, Tomiwa Owolade sets out to establish that American attempts to identify and deal with issues of race are irrelevant to those of Britain. His basic case is that even if it might exist in America, structural racism based on colour is not found in Britain, and he criticises a significant number of people of colour, on both sides of the Atlantic, who’ve argued that it is. He believes that looking at the lived experience of people should be the starting point; and that the lived experience of black Britons is determined by nationality (and class) more than it is by race. That’s fair. The sons and

O frabjous day! My new tumour is just my old prostate friend

The day British media commentators were christening Rishi’s coronation as Britain’s ‘Obama moment’, French ones were calling the particularly horrible murder of a 12- year-old French girl by an Algerian woman staying in the country illegally as France’s ‘Floyd moment’. Gilles turned his phone to ‘landscape’ and we watched the TV coverage as we sped down the motorway. Lola’s funeral, live, was shown on one half of the screen and various sonorous old geezers in dark suits queued up in the other to say that the psyche of France had been so grievously wounded by the horrific details of the case that she would never be the same again. I

What’s the truth about Kyle Rittenhouse?

On the night of 25 August 2020, Richie McGinniss, a somewhat gonzo video journalist, interviewed Kyle Rittenhouse for the right-wing Daily Caller website. Rittenhouse wore his cap backwards, had rubbery purple medical gloves on and an assault rifle dangling between his legs. He had decided for some reason that he, a 17-year-old boy, had to help the forces of law and order during the Black Lives Matter riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. ‘People are getting injured,’ he said. ‘If there’s somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself, obviously. I also have my med kit.’ Around two hours later, the reporter McGinniss

When exactly did harpsichords become racist?

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

America, Britain and two very different realities on race

‘If people in Wales had access to as much media coverage of decisions that affected Wales as they do of US domestic news we’d have a better election campaign.’ This statement, tweeted by Welsh government minister Lee Waters shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday evening, just as the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial was about to be announced, sparked outrage. ‘Rancid,’ ‘horrific’ and ‘ignorant’ were just some of the comments directed at Welsh Labour’s deputy minister for transport. Fellow Senedd members rushed to join in the condemnation. A Plaid Cymru spokesperson declared, ‘Lee Waters’ tweet was highly inappropriate, ill-judged and thoughtless.’ The Welsh Liberal Democrats, not wanting to

George Floyd was a victim of American gun culture

The triple guilty verdict on Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd was greeted with general relief across the United States. The massed ranks of police and National Guard waiting in the wings for possible disturbances were mostly stood down, and President Biden said that Chauvin’s conviction ‘can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America’ while insisting ‘we can’t stop here’. The point has been made that a white police officer being found guilty of murdering an unarmed black man is a rarity in the United States. But it is also worth noting that the conviction, indeed, the fact that anyone was tried at

What a leaked NHS memo tells us about White Fragility

Of all the people who have made cash in the past month, few can have raked it in like Robin DiAngelo. Since the death of George Floyd, the white American academic and author of White Fragility has been absolutely milking it. A term I probably shouldn’t use, since Peta last week declared milk a symbol of white supremacy. I might say she is absolutely creaming it, though by the time you read this ‘cream’ might be racist too. In which case it will join the British countryside, which was designated as racist by the BBC’s Countryfile last week. A fact that I learned after opening Google’s homepage, where I was

The pitfalls of wrongthink

First they came for the statues, then Basil Fawlty got ‘cancelled’ and three spoiled millionaires turned on their creator. So it was with J.K. Rowling’s woke progeny. Harry Potter, it would seem, is deathly shallow. Rupert Grint looked for a moment like holding firm, but he too quickly succumbed to the growing pressure to slip his golden dagger between Rowling’s shoulder blades. Surely these rich list regulars are perfectly placed to say what they actually think, protected from the ever-tightening vice of censorship? Apparently not. Fearing for their virtue or their future or both, the three children rounded on their mother. We must hope for better from Neville Longbottom. I,

Portrait of the week: Schools stay shut, Colston tumbles and bell tolls for Japan’s bike bells

Home The government lurched uncertainly in dealing with coronavirus. Not all years in primary schools would after all return before September, and secondary schools perhaps not even then. A 14-day quarantine was imposed on people entering the country. Churches could open for individual prayer from 15 June, as could shops of all kinds. Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers would have to wait until 4 July at the earliest. Face coverings were made obligatory on public transport from 15 June. The number of workers furloughed reached 8.9 million, and 2.6 million more had made claims under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The drug company AstraZeneca began to make a planned two billion

Kate Andrews

The truth about America’s police culture

America can often look, to outsiders, like a country of two warring tribes: the Trumpish anti-PC brigade vs the woke Twitterati. Such divisions certainly exist. Our broadcasters are party political and partisanship is deeply entrenched in America’s two-party system. It’s tempting to see the scenes in recent weeks as the continuation of tribal warfare by other means —but the truth is far more complicated. America has the most militarised and aggressive police force in the western world. The country’s legacy of rapid expansion, combined with vast geography and open landscapes, engendered a sense of lawlessness early on — and a need to be protected from it. This has led to

Lionel Shriver

Marching against racism is too easy

When I first saw the footage of George Floyd being asphyxiated by a policeman’s knee on his throat, my reaction was pretty standard. My eyes bugged. I stood up. I exclaimed something like: ‘Bloody hell!’ We’ve all seen the video dozens of times now, but it’s worth clinging to that initial shock, the better to appreciate that America’s spontaneous collective revulsion in response to such grotesque abuse of power was genuinely commendable. Yet the nationwide marches a fortnight ago had a clear goal: the culprit’s arrest. If late in the day — had a civilian choked a policeman to death, he’d have been handcuffed faster than it takes to say

Why are street protestors exempt from the corona clause?

It is nearly four years since Black Lives Matter had their first major protest in London. Emulating their US counterparts, the protestors held up their hands and chanted ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’, a chant popularised after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. By then it had been known for a year that before his death Brown almost certainly said no such thing and had lunged for the arresting officer’s gun before being shot. Still the London protestors chanted what they believed Michael Brown had said, as they processed along Oxford Street, accompanied by unarmed British policemen who couldn’t have shot them if they’d wanted to. Two weeks

Let’s not forget all the decent cops out there

One victim of police brutality is police decency. Our son has a tutor, J., who works with autistic kids in our corner of West Cork. After lockdown began, she was no longer able to work with her students, one of whom had a birthday coming up in March. The boy lives in Bandon, 15 miles away, so J. phoned our local garda station to ask for permission to drive beyond the lockdown radius to deliver a small gift and card. The garda on duty gave her a polite no, as birthdays weren’t on the list of exemptions. Fair enough. Twenty minutes later, the sergeant called J. back. He had to

American police should not be above the law

In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, a black entrepreneur had his bar destroyed before he even had a chance to open its doors for the first time. In Richmond, Virginia, a mob set light to a building, then blocked firefighters who were trying to save a child from the flames (-thankfully the child survived). These actions, repeated in cities all over America, are harmful in two ways: night after night, rioters are trashing their own backyard, destroying private property and putting innocent lives at risk. They are also diverting attention away from the legitimate grievances of peaceful protestors, whose efforts are far more laudable than looting. America’s law-and-order system

America’s riots could be contagious

It’s kind of amazing. For weeks we have been arguing about the minute details of viral transmission. Can you be outside? How often can you be outside? Can you be with other people? How many? And how much distance should you keep from each other? Then masses of people gather in cities across the world for a protest and the authorities do nothing. It just goes ahead. The irony of protestors chanting ‘I can’t breathe’ as they raise the risk of catching and spreading a respiratory disease blows the mind. Granted, outdoor transmission is considerably rarer than indoor transmission – and, besides, most of these protesters are young and would