Candace Owens vs George Floyd • A Kevin McGill Perspective
Updated: Aug 3
KM • " Many of my friends have posted the Candace Owens video about the death of George Floyd. Here are some of my thoughts in response to what she said.
1. One of her main points is that Floyd should not be made into a martyr. But here is the thing, George Floyd was murdered he is not a martyr. A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce certain beliefs. George Floyd was begging for mercy, he said he would get in the car. George Floyd didn’t ask to become a symbol for injustice. He didn’t have a choice, his life was taken from him while a police officer kneeled on him for nearly 9 minutes. It is this injustice that is being highlighted.
2. Candace Owens says she has been listening. Then she lists a bunch of Black authors that she has been reading and learning from. It is important to be open to a variety of perspectives. But she does not seem to actually do this. She is Black but she does not speak for the Black community… because she doesn’t appear to actually listen to the Black community.
3. She mentions a quote by a black author named Shelby Steele that says, “the black community is unique ... our culture is unique from other communities because we are the only community that caters to the bottom denominator of our society.” She mentions this quote to setup her point that George Floyd should not be thought of as a hero. But here is the thing. No one is saying that he is a hero. The point is that his life was unjustly taken from him. You don’t have to be an “amazing person” to expect basic human rights.
Implying that the Black community caters to the bottom denominator of society is very patronizing. Especially when there is a biblical ethic for justice that demands all who believe in it to stand up for the powerless, to be a voice for the voiceless. Jesus said what you did unto the least of these you did it onto me.
4. She then goes into detail about all the mistakes of George Floyd. His funeral literally just happened yesterday. A Facebook friend Shawn Brace gave this analogy:
Imagine this scenario:
You attend the funeral of a friend who was murdered and during the time when people share their memories, many, many people stand up and share from their hearts about the friend. It is very emotional and moving. There are many teary eyes in the audience.
And then, after a bunch of people share, another person - let's call her Karen - stands up and says, "Actually, I'd like to correct everything the previous people have said about this guy," and then proceeds to try to set the record straight about the deceased friend.
The other people in the audience try to get Karen to sit down, telling her that now is not the time for these things. To which Karen responds, "Can't we have a conversation about this? Don't you all care about the facts? How can we move forward if we can't even dialogue about this?"
What would you think about Karen?
This is the reality we find ourselves in. The black community is collectively mourning yet another loss - after 400 years of losses - and many of us think it's time to correct them or critique the way they're conducting the funeral. We think they're looking for conversation or dialogue when all they're looking for is empathy. We've been talking at black people for 400 years in America. I think it's okay if we just listen this time. (Dr. Martin Luther King said it well back in 1963 when some of his white clergy friends asked him why he wasn't urging his people to enter into dialogue with white people instead of pursuing non-violent resistance: "Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in the tragic attempt to live in monologue rather than dialogue.")
So let's not be Karen! Let's allow them to grieve and do all we can to let them know that we see them, we hear them, and we're not interested in correcting them.
5. Candace Owens goes through his record starting in 1998 and then proceeds to list every incident on his record. I have no issue in having an honest conversation about that. But it does speak to Owens timing and agenda. Also a person is more than their record. Human worth isn’t determined by that, all of us have some things we would like to have highlighted and other things we would be ashamed of if they were made public. This Christianity Today article gives a perspective from some people who knew Floyd best. I am sure Floyd was not a saint, none of us are. But his tragic loss of life has nothing to do with his moral character. https://www.christianitytoday.com/…/george-floyd-ministry-h…
6. Candace Owens states categorically that, “racially motivated police brutality is a myth.” I humbly submit that these things are very hard to measure. But a 2015 study of police shootings found that unarmed black men are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than unarmed white men, even after factoring in local crime rates.
An ideal benchmark would be the numbers of police-civilian encounters in similar circumstances. But these encounter rates are difficult to collect and nearly impossible to compare across jurisdictions. I don’t know for sure how common racist policing is. But I hear stories from friends that I trust. I know it does exist, and that is a problem. It should be obvious to anyone that it occurs sometimes, and whenever it occurs it should be stopped.
7. She says these riots and deaths are being caused because people are pretending “this was some outstanding person in the Black community.” Again let’s be clear the attention Floyd is receiving is not because he was “an outstanding person” its because of the injustice done to him by the police.
Also, Protesters are peacefully protesting.
Looters are looting.
They're NOT the same.
Don't get it twisted by lumping them all into one big group It is only criminally minded opportunists that would see this as an opportunity to steal or kill. But understanding the anger is important. Martin Luther King said, A riot is the voice of the unheard. Let’s do our best to listen with empathy…
8. I agree with Owens point about the police officer David Dorn being shot and killed while he was trying to protect a store from being looted. By all accounts this was an upstanding citizen and his death is tragic. It should be mourned. Those who killed him should be held responsible. There needs to be justice!
The difference however is the people who killed Dorn were criminals. They were doing what criminals do. The person who killed George Floyd was a police officer who killed someone unnecessarily so. That should NEVER be what police officers do.
9. She again says racist policing is a myth and she gives some numbers. She says you have a 25% higher chance of dying because of the police if you are White. I don’t see her numbers being accurate here. The studies I have read show That Black men are 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops. And this study shows that death because of cops is actually the 7th leading cause for death among young Black men. When the mortality rate is this high, it is reasonable for the Black community to have a level of distrust for police. https://www.latimes.com/…/police-shootings-are-a-leading-ca…
10. Her point about the disproportionate amount of crime committed by the Black community compared to the White community brings up an incredibly nuanced conversation. But if you are seriously interested in that data explore it with an open mind. It is these sort of factors that people think of when they speak of systemic injustice. The Netflix documentary 13th explores this in an easy to understand way. It is available for free right now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krfcq5pF8u8
The question we should be asking is what conditions have led to higher rates of crime among certain communities? Research suggests that police practices, such as racial profiling, over-policing in areas populated by minorities and in-group bias may result in disproportionately high numbers of racial minorities among crime suspects.
Research also suggests that there is discrimination by the judicial system, which contributes to a higher number of convictions and unfavorable sentencing for racial minorities. A 2012 study found that juries formed from all-white jury pools convict black defendants significantly (16 percentage points) more often than white defendants, and this gap in conviction rates is entirely eliminated when the jury pool includes at least one black member. Research has found evidence of in-group bias, where "black (white) juveniles who are randomly assigned to black (white) judges are more likely to get incarcerated (as opposed to being placed on probation), and they receive longer sentences.
11. She makes a comparison between bad doctors and bad cops. She asks, “do we protest all doctors because some doctors are horrible human beings”? The answer is bad cops and bad doctors both need to be held accountable. And there is strict accountability in the medical profession that includes certification boards and the threat of malpractice.Not being committed to strict accountability puts a stain on the whole profession. Police officers represent justice. When there is a corruption of justice there can be no peace.
12. Did you know that Owens also spoke about the death of Ahmaud Arbery? Do you think what she said represented the feelings of the Black community because she is Black? She said in a tweet:
“Two things can be true at once:
-Ahmaud Arbery did not deserve to die.
-Ahmaud Arbery was not a jogger gunned down for the crime of being black.
It’s that simple. But the media cannot resist a race narrative in a election cycle. And people struggle to think for themselves.”
Well let’s follow her advice and think for ourselves then. Why was Ahmaud Arbrey gunned down? This week William Bryan told investigators he overheard Travis McMichael use a racial epithet after fatally shooting a black man in Glynn County, Ga., in February, according to court testimony Thursday by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation official. Bryan told law enforcement officials that McMichael uttered "f****** n*****" after shooting Ahmaud Arbery three times with his Remington 870 shotgun and prior to police arriving on the scene.
Richard Dial, a special agent with GBI and the lead investigator in the case, was asked if there is evidence that McMichael has used the n-word at any other time and he responded, "Yes, sir, many times."
13. Candace Owens is one perspective. But she doesn’t speak for the Black community just because she is Black. She even has a video entitled, “I Don't Care About Charlottesville, the KKK, or White Supremacy” watch the video and ask yourself if she is actually trying to speak for the good of the Black community. Is she trying to win them over to her truth…or is it something else? Could it be that she is commodifying polarizing language, and is actually just another talking head that divides?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S2TZOdXAtQ