Losing Friends Over George Floyd — and Now, Jacob Blake
From Instagram Stories featuring unmasked boat parties to grids with black boxes — but no action — Black Americans are developing a clear understanding of who their friends are
A week after George Floyd’s death, I took it upon myself to call out my closest White friends who had yet to say anything publicly about the tragedy. By this time in late May, my favorite French band Ofenbach had posted a GoFundMe link for the Floyd family, and Timothée Chalamet was spotted at protests in California. While I’m not impressed by White people deciding to take action in the fight for social justice, I was disturbed by my White friends doing little to nothing, especially since celebrities who never displayed their views before started to showcase them so openly.
Most of my friends just needed a push and to be made aware of how their lack of support and concern made me feel. But others gave me pushback, and I quickly forgot them. It had never been so clear to me that many I once viewed as progressive and caring were complacent and unbothered, causing me to reassess my friendships and romantic interests.
I’m not alone: The death of Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement’s resurgence have provided a new sense of clarity to the Black community about our social circles. Black people have found themselves having tough conversations about advocacy and activism, and gaining new insight into how their friends, peers, and co-workers view their community’s well-being.
Braedon Montgomery, a 25-year-old stylist in Dallas, Texas, told his White friends he didn’t want to talk to them about George Floyd. He was overwhelmed by Floyd’s brutal death and the protests that followed; he wanted space to process everything.
Several friends responded to his request with resentment, and one outright ignored it. This friend attended a protest and insisted on talking to Montgomery about the experience, which was new for him, but not for Montgomery.
“I’m telling him, as a Black person, this is triggering for me,” Montgomery said. “This is a lot for me. I don’t want to talk to you about this. And then it turned into, ‘Well, you’re…