6 Ideas to Help Students Make Sense of George Floyd Protests
Summer is here, if almost, and some college students are studying for their final examinations. The coursework doesn't end there, as protests over systematic racism rocked America one more time. George Floyd died in the most tragic manner, which shouldn't.happened during the third millennium. This article will make sense of what happened during these past weeks, and what can college students learn from it.
The tragedy that was George Floyd happened in Minnesota, not a Southern state. Then again, President Donald Trump wasn't the type of leader who would challenge, if not put an end to, racism. America moved backward, which would be surprising if you recall the depiction of racism, as well as the issue of race, in popular culture. Let's skip Mark Twain, as "Go Set the Watchman", the sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird", didn't come as a shock to some fans of this classic novel. Hollywood didn't do better; Spike Lee's biographical film, "Malcolm X", could have been a turning point after its release in 1992. Malcolm X, charismatic yet polarizing, was depicted as Moses who crossed the Atlantic and enlightened the black populace during the turbulent era that was the 1960s. Lee, who also directed "Do the Right Thing", came up with what should be his best work. Hollywood doesn't know what to do with him, probably afraid that an Oscar could send a wrong message to the public. And then there's Ed Zwick's "Glory". It was released three years before "Malcolm X", and the film brought attention to forgotten heroes of the Civil War. They happened to be soldiers of color. It would take more than books and films to change the mindset of the public.
Protesters didn't follow social distancing, as racism would have a more devastating effect than the coronavirus. It remains to be seen if a similar incident would happen in the near future, even if some skeptics are counting on it. What you're about to read wouldn't hone your analytical skills, which could make you a better college essay writer. You may be writing about books, if not current (or recent) events, which may (or may not) have an impact on the country sooner. The subject of racism would be discussed in American literature, as well as modules that Literature students are dreaming of. It doesn't have to do with cowboys, one of whom could inspire Stan Lee. (Hint: Alan Ladd played that character.) It also doesn't put you into the very seat of the Renaissance, that bright green and gold arousing of mankind from his long, shaggy medieval sleep. You're about to find out if the economy could be a telling sign.
Putting the Protests Into a Larger Context
The awful truth about systematic racism is... it shows up in all aspects of our lives. The pandemic exposes the disadvantage of the lower middle class and the poor, which shows that social distancing is a thing that the rich can afford. Research also reveals that people of color are more susceptible to the coronavirus, which isn't their choice. Moreover, you must be aware that some college students are more equal than others. (If you don't have a clue about it, you have spent too much time in your room or you've been attending parties where the other students are wondering if there are more challenging things to do other than the coursework.) It should make you wonder if George Floyd might be alive if he happens to be a member of the upper class. It could be the case, but one of your professors would challenge you on it. (This is not hypothetical, as you will study more books that can change your perception of race.)
You wouldn't like the history of policing. And the reaction to that one isn't forty-two. Kidding aside, you can discuss the role of police with your (college) friends. It may be too late to call out those who partook in the clashes and looting, but the incidents may encourage you to approach a police officer in the vicinity. It shouldn't be a long, soul-searching conversation. Introduce yourself, and then ask him (or her) about his (or her) day. If the events really affected you, then you should have read the news on Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh's attempt to transfer millions from the Boston Police Department's overtime budget to social services. This might elicit an angry response, so rephrase your question(s).
The most horrifying stories don't include Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy. Your roommate shared a short story about a (German) doctor working in a concentration camp. The horrors taught him to say little if nothing. He would use his leaves to travel to a nearby city and meet his idealistic nephew. He could have a "promising future" if he didn't argue that the Nordic people are weaker than the other races. (If you're wondering what happened to him, he was sent to the concentration camp. It disturbed his uncle.) The moral of that short story is words can create ripples - and a storm. An image can do worse. Think.
It might be the worst of time. People are pushed to the edge. Recession is one of the negative effects of the pandemic, and it might take a year or two before the economy bounces back. It's not the best of news to many Americans, who have been living in a bubble for so long. And then the brutal death (of George Floyd). It can make you think long and hard about the next term, reluctant about dropping out. (If you're a college graduate, you will curse your luck.) Past events would show that everything goes around, so there's a silver lining behind this distressing period. However, the summer should make you assess your perception of your neighborhood. You don't have to be patronizing, and it's OK if you don't joint the #blacklivesmatter bandwagon on Instagram.
If you can fly. If you haven't traveled to Europe, then you must know a few important things about your distant neighbors. The French, for instance, aren't that politically correct. (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's father is a Congolese immigrant. The tennis player doesn't describe himself as half African.) There has been too much political correctness during the past years, such that shows like "In Living Colors" won't be aired at all. ("In Living Colors" is a 90s variety show starred by the Wayan siblings. They are all talented, and they are all black.) It would be near impossible to go back to the old ways, but an open mind is the first step.
If America is like a Hundred Acre Wood, then Americans would sing the Complaining Song. And some might attempt to navigate the Northwest Passage. A.A. Milne wrote a heartwarming novella about Winnie the Pooh, the Bear with Little Brain. A series of misadventures would change the perception of Christopher Robin and their friends, which include the Piglet. This children's tale could be interpreted as a positive message of different people living together. It might be a utopian fantasy after reading the first two pages. It takes effort - and a time to heal. Can you hold your breath?
Consider Reform Ideas
You can include the recent events in your next essays. (There's a good chance that you will study the works of Toni Morrison. If you're a Film major, a course on Blaxploitation will give you a good opportunity in suggesting policies, if rules, to bring genuine change.) Reform ideas will be brought to the table, yet it would be pointless if you couldn't change your mindset. Racism is more than skin deep.