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The actor, 59, shared his thoughts in an essay published by The Daily Beast in which he reflects on not just the ongoing situation with some protests for Floyd turning violent, but the myriad of similar incidents that have been protested over the years.
“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? How many times have we seen people of color killed by police? Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Laquan McDonald,” the actor wrote.
Clooney then shared a lengthy quote from Sarah Koenig, who dedicated Season 3 of her popular podcast “Serial” to covering trials in a Cleveland courthouse, about the systemic racism she sees baked into both the United States’ police system as well as its justice system.
Actor George Clooney penned an essay about systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The actor then continued to highlight how he believes racism continues to be an issue in the U.S., taking a subtle dig at President Donald Trump, who courted controversy last week by tweeting, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“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. The fact that we aren’t actually buying and selling other human beings anymore is not a badge of honor,” Clooney wrote. “We need systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system. 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.”
The star concluded his essay by calling racism America’s true pandemic and suggesting that people vote to affect change within the system.
“This is our pandemic. It infects all of us, and in 400 years we’ve yet to find a vaccine. It seems we’ve stopped even looking for one and we just try to treat the wound on an individual basis,” the star concluded. “And we sure haven’t done a very good job of that. 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. And there is only one way in this country to bring lasting change: Vote.”
George Clooney encouraged people to vote in order to root out systemic racism.
(Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Across the country, people have been protesting against police brutality, specifically against the black community, in the wake of a shocking video that shows Floyd being taken into custody by an officer who places his knee on his neck. In the footage, Floyd, 46, shouts “I cannot breathe” and “Don’t kill me,” before losing consciousness. He was later pronounced dead.
Officer Derek Chauvin was later charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in his death.
The incident originally sparked peaceful protests, but many have turned violent amid clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement. Curfews have been implemented in cities throughout the U.S, with the National Guard being called in amid fires, vandalism and looting.