Floyd had complained about being unable to breathe prior to being on the ground, but after being restrained he became more distressed, and continued to complain about breathing difficulties, the knee in his neck, and expressed the fear he was about to die and called for his mother. After several minutes passed Floyd stopped speaking. For a further two minutes, he lay motionless and officer Kueng found no pulse when urged to check. Despite this Chauvin refused pleas to lift his knee until medics told him to.
From my earliest sources I have a distinct recollection of the putative superiority of some over others. The disturbing reverberation of this tale is oddly comical – though in about the same way as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is funny.
The specific incident of which I speak was my experience on the playground of Horace Mann Elementary School in Washington DC when I was about nine or ten years old. The boys and the girls always played separately and apart. This was not only because of the obvious childhood grimaces between prepubescents. Noticeably the girls united themselves by pretending to be horses. They held their arms up high in front of them, wrists curved downwards to imitate the front legs and hooves of a horse. At the same time they “galloped” about the playground, jerking their arms and hands while occasionally whinnying. It created a private spectacle!
We boys meanwhile engaged more discretely in what we fashioned the arcane investigation of teenage romance. Its hilarity was surpassed only by the very unscientific and unnatural propositions advanced. More significantly we strengthened our own indisputable image of ourselves as robust male candidates by denigrating those others who wore dark socks instead of white socks!
As you can see from that brief childhood account the foundations of division are sown early in the human evolution. Though the dispute over black and white socks may sound ridiculous it clearly invites critical metaphor. The further unsettling truth is that as I grew older I continued – not always unwittingly – to preserve varying prejudices. The only extent to which I was indiscriminate was my apparent lack of limitation of bias.
The confession of this humanity doesn’t diminish the offensiveness of some of the inclinations. It does however disclose the inherent bloody mindedness from which we all suffer. The chance of obliterating our native hostilities is slim if not indeed impossible. Happily this does not mean we cannot learn to live with others. Preserving our differences can in my heartfelt opinion enlarge our lives. The Freemasons and the Chevaliers de Colomb (Knights of Columbus); Christians, Muslims and Jews; doctor, lawyer, candlestick maker; men and women; rich and poor; fat and skinny; gay and straight; polyester and linen; sterling silver and plate; hardwood and slate; even white and black.