Never one to shy away from tackling injustice, George Clooney is using his celebrity status to push for lasting changes in political leadership and law enforcement after the murder of George Floyd has led to nationwide protests.
In a powerful essay published by The Daily Beast on Monday, Clooney laments that America watched this situation play out before with the murders of Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, and Laquan McDonald, and sadly, very little has changed. As Clooney writes, racism is our country’s original sin, and we’ve done very little to move away from it despite superficial attempts. In fact, we’ve moved in the opposite direction.
The fact that we aren’t actually buying and selling other human beings anymore is not a badge of honor. We need systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system. We need policymakers and politicians that reflect basic fairness to all of their citizens equally. Not leaders that stoke hatred and violence as if the idea of shooting looters could ever be anything less than a racial dog whistle. Bull Connor was more subtle.
While Clooney is deliberately avoiding name-calling the president, the actor is clearly referencing Donald Trump’s controversial tweet where he uses the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which is a historical quote from a 1976 Miami police chief who had a long history of bigotry against the black community. Just to put the situation in context, Trump’s tweet was so bad, that for the first time, Twitter took steps to place a warning on the president’s words in an effort to avoid inciting violence.
As for Clooney’s solution for bringing about lasting change, he offers one very simple instruction: “Vote.” Granted, he doesn’t say who to vote for, but it’s certainly evident from Clooney’s words that he thinks the current occupant of the White House isn’t interested in addressing systemic racism that’s been allowed to fester for far too long.
(Via The Daily Beast)