George Floyd, Christian Cooper, Ahmaud Arbery and the Couple on the Train

Last year, on the train to Sacramento, we met a wonderful black couple in the dining car. They had gone to Seattle to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They had met when they were part of the civil rights movement in the South. They moved to the West Coast, because, as her husband explained about his wife: “She has a strong sense of justice. She’d have got killed if we had stayed.”

We have to remember that the suffering, the injustice, the racism continue. We have to stand against racism in all its forms, not just today, but tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. If we change our thinking and our behavior, it will change the world.
—Natsuko & Jan

10 Responses to George Floyd, Christian Cooper, Ahmaud Arbery and the Couple on the Train

  1. anthony Joseph Sands June 1, 2020 at 2:37 pm #

    Damn. I too have a strong sense of Justice. I was raised Irish Catholic, and have Irish, Arab, roots. I look just like any other White boy, well kinda, My wife thought I was south American When we met. Covert systematic racism is F-ing real. In this time of extreme strife we need to stand together to irradocate This F-ing S#@t. Everything seems a mess right now. Thank you for your work, aside from cooking for my wife, riding a bike and drawing is the only thing keeping me slightly together.

    Peace and Love, AJS

  2. Flemming June 2, 2020 at 4:30 am #

    At my side of the pond (Europe), I observe the complete out of any proportion turmoil in the USA with disbelieve.
    Let’s look at the facts: a man had died while being arrested. Nobody knows the exact details of what happened, an investigation still has to be executed.
    Way to early for any conclusions.
    If rascism has had anything to do with it has to be seen.
    What we do know is, that every year about 60-80 police officers are being killed in the USA during their work in often dangerous and hostile situations.
    No wonder they are afraid and perhaps likely to over-react.
    A lack of proper training might be a contributive factor too.
    Beside these remarks; in absolute numbers way more “White” people are being killed each year by USA police forces than are “black” people.

    All in all; time for some reflection and a bit less violent over-reaction would be appropriate in my view.

    • Jan Heine June 2, 2020 at 9:17 am #

      You look like a real person, not one of the Instagram trolls, so I’ll reply.

      Should we have done more in that past to address racism and police brutality? Absolutely. But that isn’t a reason to remain silent now.

      This isn’t about George Floyd, although the fact that he was killed for using a fake $ 20 bill is one reason for the outrage. Maybe he had made it, or maybe somebody had slipped it to him, and he unwittingly used it. Maybe he was not sober. All those things aren’t reason to kill him. He didn’t pose a threat to anybody at that moment.If he had been white, he probably would be alive.

      This isn’t about Christian Cooper, although the woman who wanted to get back at him for asking her to leash her dog knew that to frame him, she just had to call the police and say “An African-American is threatening my life.” She probably is right when she says she does not consider herself a racist, but the fact that this immediately came to her mind as the best way to hurt him shows how racist our society really is.

      This isn’t about Ahmaud Arbery. He was killed, and there was an investigation. It concluded that it was reasonable to kill a black runner because a) any black person running is suspicious and b) any black person looks like a burglar on a night-time security camera image. Hence the black community has no trust in investigations that tend to exonerate police officers unless there is intense public pressure. And then, somebody gets thrown under the bus, and we go back to where we were before.

      This is not even about the couple on the train, although the fact that they had to fear for their lives is telling.

      This is about bringing the public pressure that is needed to change things. It’s about no longer looking at individual trees (individual police officers) when we’re standing in a forest of racism.

    • anthony Joseph Sands June 2, 2020 at 3:01 pm #

      If I can Express something that will tell you the state of how bad it is and has been for our African American Brothers and Sisters. I can recount an evening when I was walking to my friends house in the early evening. 1995 I always dressed as a bit of a hard Mod. We walked past a young, well I was young too, African American Fellow, I reached inside my jacket and he thought I was pulling a gun on him. This terrified all three of us. We shook hands, talked about how f@$% everything was. That’s the fear that all of my Black have felt way to often, and just coming from a 120 pound punk. Not to mention the Police. I’m abhor Violence. We need to stand together for F@#$% sake. “Don’t burn your own house down” Killer Mike.

      Peace Love and wash your hands.

  3. Flemming June 2, 2020 at 11:58 am #

    I do not have any knowledge about Instagram or it’s trolls, but I hope it is still possible to have a different view/opinion, however, reading your reply I doubt that.

    • Jan Heine June 2, 2020 at 12:22 pm #

      You are entitled to a different point of view. That is why your comment was published.

      • Chris Van Zyl June 2, 2020 at 9:01 pm #

        Jan, I am so grateful that you picked up on this, as has several cycling related publications.
        Reading is enough to bring me to tears, I come from a far worse background in South Africa.
        Your subscription/donation is an easy vehicle for those of us that feel pain, and yet don’t know what to do next.
        Thank you for taking a position.
        Christiaan

  4. Derek June 2, 2020 at 2:09 pm #

    Too many people deny or ignore racism, and not enough people care enough to say or do anything about it.

    Thanks for lending your voice.

  5. mitchell June 2, 2020 at 8:07 pm #

    I was out for a walk in my neighborhood a few weeks ago. It’s a semi-rural area in Michigan. A couple of high dollar homes have flown Trump 2020 flags. Some places further out, on my regular bike routes, have flown Comfederate battle flags. It’s almost all white.

    I saw a black man driving a rental van (name brand logo) going around a couple of the cul de sacs. A few minutes later, as I was nearing home, I saw him drive into my neighbor’s driveway, then back out less than a minute later. It seemed suspicious, and I called 911. Never heard a thing back.

    My son said it was a racist thing to do, and he’s probably right.
    I know I felt different when I saw a small group of black kids in our former neighborhood a few years ago, vs what I’d feel for the same group size-age of white kids. That’s a racist-fed reaction.

    But we can fight these thoughts and show solidarity with those under stress. Like my dental hygienist, back to work today for the first time since the pandemic closings in March. She was nervous but very well trained, and I worked to calm her down. Like my cousin’s husband, who is the sheriff of a neighboring county which had a rough night last night. I hope his deputies are well trained, too.

    Mitch in Battle Creek

    • Jan Heine June 2, 2020 at 9:09 pm #

      Mitch, realizing our feelings is the first step, and it’s brave of you to acknowledge them so specifically, rather than just say in the abstract “I am part of the problem.” Thank you!