George Clooney Calls Racism "Our Pandemic" in Response to George Floyd's Death

"This is our pandemic. It infects all of us, and in 400 years we've yet to find a vaccine," George Clooney wrote in response to protests and George Floyd's death.

By Alyssa Morin Jun 02, 2020 12:39 AMTags
George Clooney, White HouseCharles Dharapak/AP/Shutterstock

George Clooney is using his massive platform to speak up and show his support for the Black community.

The A-list actor and philanthropist penned an essay for The Daily Beast on Monday morning that was titled, "George Clooney: America's Greatest Pandemic Is Anti-Black Racism."

In the published piece, the 59-year-old star discussed the recent nationwide protests in the United Stated and also advocated for "systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system."

As Clooney put it, racism in America is "our pandemic" and one that no one has found a cure for.

"This is our pandemic. It infects all of us, and in 400 years we've yet to find a vaccine," he wrote. "It seems we've stopped even looking for one and we just try to treat the wound on an individual basis. And we sure haven't done a very good job of that."

He continued, "So this week, as we're wondering what it's going to take to fix these seemingly insurmountable problems, just remember we created these issues so we can fix them."

Celebrities Attending Protests Over George Floyd's Death

"There is only one way in this country to bring lasting change: Vote," he expressed.

The actor also pointed out how recent protests across the nation reminded him of those in the 1990s. He also shared that George Floyd's death was reminiscent of Eric Garner's in 2014, since they both pleaded to the police, "I can't breathe."

News of Floyd's death broke on Monday, May 25. In footage of the incident, which was captured by bystanders and circulated online, a Minneapolis police officer (later identified as Derek Chauvin) pinned Floyd on the ground and kneeled on his neck. Three other officers appeared to stand by as Floyd stated several times that he couldn't breathe.

According to an independent autopsy ordered by Floyd's family, he died at the scene. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released its own autopsy findings on Monday, June 1, which stated that Floyd died from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression." 

Days following Floyd's death, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. At this time, the three other officers involved haven't been charged—however, they've been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department.

"Is it 1992? Did we just hear a jury tell us that the white cops that we watched on tape hundreds of times beating Rodney King weren't guilty of their obvious crimes? Is it 2014, when Eric Garner was executed for selling cigarettes by a white cop who strangled him as we watched? His words "I can't breathe" forever etched into our minds," Clooney penned.

"How many times have we seen people of color killed by police? Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Laquan McDonald. There is little doubt that George Floyd was murdered," he continued. "We watched as he took his last breath at the hands of four police officers. Now we see another defiant reaction to the systemic cruel treatment of a portion of our citizens like we saw in 1968, 1992, and 2014."

He explained that while we don't know when protests "will subside," we can "hope and pray that no one else will be killed."

"The anger and the frustration we see playing out once again in our streets is just a reminder of how little we've grown as a country from our original sin of slavery," he shared. "The fact that we aren't actually buying and selling other human beings anymore is not a badge of honor. We need systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system."

George added, "We need policymakers and politicians that reflect basic fairness to all of their citizens equally. Not leaders that stoke hatred and violence as if the idea of shooting looters could ever be anything less than a racial dog whistle. Bull Connor was more subtle."

You can read Clooney's full essay on The Daily Beast's website

Additionally, the actor isn't the only celebrity to issue a statement in response to Floyd's death. Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, Harry Styles, Lizzo and so many others have spoken up.

Several stars have also participated in the nationwide protests in recent days. You can see that list here.

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