That Was The Week That Was

Instead of sharing my usual assortment of links, this Saturday morning I’m going to focus on a single topic: the killing of George Floyd and the protests and riots that followed, here in the Twin Cities and in other parts of the country.

• Start by learning a bit more about who George Floyd was.

• This is far from the first time the Minneapolis police have been under scrutiny for their treatment of the city’s black population.

• For more on the history of racism in Minneapolis, see this article from Time, which features insights from Kirsten Delegard, the University of Minnesota professor who directs the Mapping Prejudice project.

• I covered some of that historical ground yesterday at The Anxious Bench, in revisiting and expanding on something I wrote here four years ago, after police killed Philando Castile.

One of the first protests, at the scene of Floyd’s killing – Creative Commons (Lorie Shaull)

• There are some legitimate questions being raised about the identity and motives of some rioters, but it’s certainly worth considering the longer history of violent urban uprisings in the United States.

• Among other crises coming to a head in the protests and riots, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor saw a connection to COVID: “The coronavirus has scythed its way through black communities, highlighting and accelerating the ingrained social inequities that have made African-Americans the most vulnerable to the disease.”

• Likewise, Jelani Cobb thought that the Trump administration’s responses to Floyd’s death and COVID had something in common: a failure to learn from even the recent past.

• Meanwhile, Trump’s presumptive opponent in November is trying to project empathy and calm.

• And how should the church should respond? My favorite responses came from two black pastors who served in north Minneapolis for many years: Dennis Edwards and Efrem Smith. In different ways, both challenged white evangelicals not (in Edwards’ words) to “opt out of outrage over racial injustice.”

• Finally, let me acknowledge feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s happened. If the week’s events just leave you feeling helpless or numb, take some advice from Jemar Tisby.

• If nothing else, pray. For example, this lament from Soong-Chan Rah.