Barack Obama issues a powerful statement on the death of George Floyd

Barack Obama issues a powerful statement on the death of George Floyd

Over the past few weeks, footage of three ugly racist incidents has brought bigotry to the forefront of America's collective consciousness once again.

However, for people of color, being conscious of bigotry is a persistent state of being.

There was the tragic murder of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. The killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota. And the black birdwatcher who was threatened with death by cop by a white woman in Central Park.

On Friday, President Barack Obama released a statement about these incidents, saying that for people of color they are "tragically, painfully, maddeningly" normal.

In the statement Obama shared conversations he's had with friends about the incidents and his thoughts on how America should move forward.

A "middle-aged African American businessman" friend told Obama him in an email "Dude, I gotta tell you the George Floyd incident in Minnesota hurt. I cried when I saw that video. It broke me down. The 'knee on the neck' is a metaphor for how the system so cavalierly holds black folks down, ignoring the cries for help. People don't care. Truly tragic."

"Another friend of mine used the powerful song that went viral from 12-year-old Keendron Bryant to describe the frustrations he was feeling," Obama continued.

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"It's natural to wish for life 'to just get back to normal' as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us," Obama said.

"But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it's while dealing with the health care system or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park," she said.

Obama concluded his statement with a call for Americans to change this "normal" and to work to heal the hearts and institutions that have been polluted by racism.

Obama said it "falls on all of us to, regardless of our race and station — including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day — to work together to create a 'new normal' in which the legacy of bigotry and equal treatment no longer infects our institutions or hearts."