For a minute there, it seemed as if the police homicide of George Floyd might actually result in something positive coming from a decided negative. People from all races and backgrounds have united across the country in protests against police violence and white people have even renounced their white privileges.
But there are apparently some people who weren’t outraged at Floyd’s death or the manner in he was killed when now-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight straight minutes while he was handcuffed and had his face on the pavement. In fact, those same people managed to find one of the most depraved ways to not only mock but glorify Black death.
Photos of young white people shown kneeling on other white people’s necks have been getting posted to social media as a part of the apparent “George Floyd challenge” that invited others to do the same. Now a petition has started to get the challenge removed from social media.
One person on Twitter called the challenge “disrespectful and heartless.”
It was reportedly happening on TikTok but was also being shared on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Chances are that this latest social media challenge will not catch on, as the only photos that have been posted online are of the same group of people. But one set of offenders is enough and the damage has obviously been done. Ironically, since the photos have gone viral — the tweet above posted by singer Ciara had thousands of retweets and likes — it’s probably just a matter of time before one or all of them get publicly identified and shamed into giving an insincere apology.
Pockets of various social media platforms, in general, have become havens for online racism even if it’s veiled as a so-called fun challenge. It was just last month when Tik Tok, primarily a video platform, fostered a social media challenge for users to see who can come up with the worst racial stereotype to point out and mock.
An online petition was started to get the “George Floyd challenge” removed from TikTok. The petition’s author threatened to organize a boycott of the app if it doesn’t comply by removing what it described as a “racist, inhumane challenge.” People were encouraged to sign the petition, which as of Wednesday afternoon was set to cross its goal of 2,500 signatures.
This is America.