Obama on the Killing of George Floyd: “This Shouldn’t Be ‘Normal’ in 2020 America.”

“If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.”

Michael Sohn/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

As the nation reels and rebels over the killing of George Floyd under the knee of a Minnesota cop, former President Barack Obama has released a statement that echoes the anguish we’re all feeling: This shouldn’t feel typical by any stretch of the word. And yet, it keeps happening. 

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” the former president writes. “It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.” 

Obama also shared snippets of recent conversations he’s had with several friends over Floyd’s killing, quoting a “middle-aged African-American businessman” who wrote to the former president that ‘the knee on the neck’ is a metaphor for how the system so cavalierly holds black folks down, ignoring the cries for help.” And another friend Obama spoke with mentioned the sentiments in the song by 12-year-old Keedron Bryant that has since gone viral to express his frustration over situation. “The circumstances of my friend and Keedron may be different, but their anguish is the same. It’s shared by me and millions of others,” the president wrote.

Though the tone of Obama’s statement is one of anguish and frustration, he called on Minnesota officials to thoroughly investigate Floyd’s killing so that “justice is ultimately done.” Shortly after the president’s statement was released, Derek Chauvin, the police officer in the widely viewed video who had his knee on Floyd’s throat, was taken into custody.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate