As much as I want to write a deeply thoughtful and insightful post on the death of George Floyd, I find I can not. I find my entire attention is drawn to the pain and suffering of my black and brown neighbors and friends.
Systems thinking is meant to help clarify the underlying structures of what makes society work and what breaks it. At the very bottom of the iceberg we call the modern world sits a layer of ideas, mental models, and myths that make everything else work.
What we know and have known for far too long is down at the bottom of it all lies a toxic strata called white supremacy. From this one pure and hateful concept springs the very building blocks of the western world. It gave us chattel slavery and imperialism. It gave us corporate greed and endless poverty.
And it gave us this moment…
The Reverend Al Sharpton spoke these powerful words at the George Floyd memorial:
“George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being is you kept your knee on our neck.
We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck. We could run corporations and not hustle in the streets, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do. But we couldn’t get your knee off our neck.
It’s time to stand up and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks’.”
The iceberg has been tipped over. And now the work is to scrape it and ourselves clean of the toxic ideas and policies that condemn us all to live in a world where too many die for a terrible lie.