Response to Candace Owens’ Video On George Floyd
This isn’t a topic that I would typically write about, and honestly something that I would usually see on social media, get a little annoyed, accept that there is ignorance out there, and just let it go. I have gone from having a lot to say, to not knowing what to say, and to wondering if it is my place to say anything at all, and honestly this is the hardest article I have ever written. But, given the circumstances that we have been in lately as a society, I have decided to speak.
I’ll start by saying that I’m not African American, and I don’t understand what they have gone through and continue to go through in our society at a personal level. I am trying to learn, I am trying to listen, and I am hoping that I can do as much as possible to help.
So, let’s get into Candace Owens’ new video that has gone viral on social media, titled “Confession: I DO NOT support George Floyd and I refuse to see him as a martyr.”
I’ll start with some of her quotes that I pulled:
“I do not support George Floyd and the media depiction of him as a martyr for black America.”
“We are the only community who caters to the bottom denominator of our society.”
“I am not going to accept the narrative that this is the best the black community has to offer.”
“It has become fashionable over the last 5 or 6 years to turn criminals into hero’s overnight.”
“...as some token of people wanting you to believe that this is the only way you can be black is you have to say this was wrong and that this person was amazing. George Floyd was not an amazing person.”
This is the first of many times that she completely missed the mark, but it’s not surprising that she mentioned these points. I saw multiple African American people say that the first excuse would be to pull his record and show his past as a reason why he deserved it.
Now, I will give her credit on one thing. She made her point clear that she was not saying he deserved to be murdered and that the cop was evil and getting what he deserves. With that though, I say “then what’s your point?” She completely contradicted herself, and made her points—pointless. What does his rap sheet have to do with anything? People are protesting a brutal murder of a black man, by a group of cops who are supposed to protect and serve. What people are protesting is the fact that a man was murdered. No one is calling him the perfect human being or a hero, we are saying that no one deserves what happened to him.
Also, what about Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased down and shot by two white people, just because they thought he matched the description of a black person who committed a robbery, when in reality he was going for a jog. What about Breonna Taylor, when two police officers, not in uniform, went into her home without knocking with a warrant looking for drugs? The police officers unloaded 20 rounds, killing Breonna in her sleep after her husband tried to defend their home from what he thought was a robbery. She was an award winning EMT and they found no trace of the drugs they were looking for. Are Ahmaud or Breonna worthy of being mourned and fought for, Candace? You are setting an unacceptable precedent when someone’s past prevents them from being mourned when murdered.
Another one of her points was his drug abuse. She mentioned that 2 or 3 of his prior arrests were for cocaine possession, and that at the time of his murder a white bag fell out of his pocket. She also says, “George Floyd at the time of his arrest was high, on fentanyl and he was high on methamphetamine.” Again, why does this matter? The drugs were not causing him to be violent or resistant. He didn’t deserve what happened to him, regardless. That’s everyone’s point.
Candace condemns Floyd for his drug abuse, when in reality what is needed is compassion. This isn’t just a problem with her, it’s a problem in our society. As an addiction professional, I know that trauma, abuse, and lack of connection is what leads to addiction, not the fact that someone is a bad person and the “bottom denominator” of their community. I wonder where George Floyd would be right now if our system, rather than seeing him as a criminal, saw him as someone who needed help with a mental illness. Rather than sending him to prison for petty drug offenses, sent him to treatment. That doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t have consequences for criminal behavior, or that they are not responsible for it. It means that the result of those consequences should be rehabilitation, rather than condemning someone as a criminal and an addict for life.
What people in Floyd’s shoes need is encouragement, and for someone to show that they care. I used to be a troubled high school kid, the one that was about to have a baby at 16, the one who was abusing drugs, and who a lot of people probably thought was up to no good. Looking back now, I also know what I needed. I needed a teacher to talk to me, or a school counselor, I needed someone to recommend therapy, or a support group. But I didn’t get any of that. I’m not criticizing the people who did help me, because I believe everyone did their best, but I still didn’t get what I actually needed.
Luckily, having my son got me out of that lifestyle. I had him and grew up. I graduated early, started working, stuck it out through difficult times with my high school girlfriend, who is now my amazing wife, got a good job and grew and worked my way up. Now I’m a psychology student and life coach, working my way into a full time career in helping people who have struggled with addiction, betrayal, and difficult life circumstances.
I’m not saying that I’m perfect, that I have it all together, or that I deserve praise for what I have done with my circumstances, because I don’t. I did what anyone should have done. My point is that In high school, what do you think people thought of me? That there was no hope, that I was up to no good, that my poor baby would be fatherless and abandoned? Instead, look what I did.
So here’s a thought, what were George Floyd’s plans for what he would do next? What would the future have held for him? Candace doesn’t seem to think that questions matters, but I do, and so should you.
She then goes on a rant about how black people being inconsistently killed more by police officers is false. Here are her stats: last year 19 unarmed white people were killed by police, while only 9 unarmed black people were. She explains that it doesn’t matter that white people make up 60% of the population while black people only make up 13%, because in her words, “the black community commits a disproportionately higher amount of crime than the white community.” She says that black people make up 44% of crime, while white people make up 50%. I find that hard to believe as that would only leave 6% for every other race. But anyways, here is a legitimate study by actual scientists published by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America that you can read to come to your own conclusions about her statistics:
I don’t know if her stats are correct. I don’t know where she got them from, I am simply telling you exactly what she said, and what I see wrong with it. And even if the facts are correct, there is something much deeper that she is missing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a “facts-are-facts” type of person. But even in the best statistics you have to look at other aspects. So, if her statement is correct that black people commit more crime, why would that be? There is nothing different biologically, so it would have to be something culturally. It would be that a history of slavery, segregation, racism, prejudice, and murder has set some African American communities up with more struggles. How is it Candace, that you and so many Americans don’t get that? How about instead of painting with a broad brush that says black communities are inherently full of criminals, we look at how trauma, oppression, and inequality have effected those communities. Trauma is generational, and the ripple effects of our racist past still have effects today.
Just because things have gotten better in our lifetime doesn’t mean that it has been a long time ago since they were at their worst. Segregation ended in public schools in 1954, 66 years ago. Even after that, all state and local laws were not superseded with the Civil Rights Act until 1964. Only 56 years ago! How do we think the lasting effects of that are not still a reality?
Candace, your goal is to disprove racial oppression and discrimination in our country, because you aren’t experiencing it. I will take the word of 99% of African Americans over one person with an agenda. Your video was distasteful, polarizing, and divisive. You have given white people a platform and the entitlement to say that black people are the messed up ones, and that the history of our country, and the behavior of some white people has nothing to do with it. And by the amount of white people I have seen sharing it—it worked.
White people, Candace practically told you that the issue is not anything to do with racism—but rather the black community is just inherently full of criminals and hypocrites. I call bullshit. That doesn’t mean that every white person is bad, or that we have all oppressed or been racist towards people of color. But most of our ancestors did, and our countries systems were founded on oppression and racism. You don’t have to get defensive, you just have to listen and recognize that it is a reality, and offer your support to make things better. Traumatized people don’t need to be told that their situation is their fault, and that they are messed up. They need to be heard, built up, and kept safe. I thought that everyone was doing that after George Floyd was murdered, but the Candace Owens video showed me otherwise. For that, I am sad, to say the least.
“Racism is real, even if you aren’t a racist.
White privilege is real, even if you don’t feel it.
Police brutality is real, even if the cop you know is kind and just.
Your world isn’t THE world. Everything is not about you.”
I did my best to articulate my words in the most respectful and sensitive way. Talking about race is not easy—especially as a white person. So, if I got anything wrong, please, share it with me and I will make it right.