My mom called the other night and wanted to ‘discuss’ an email she received from a (Taiwanese in Minnesota) friend of hers. Or at least I assume it was a Taiwanese in Minnesota person for reasons I will reveal later. It was about the George Floyd murder, and…let me give you some background. My parents, especially my mother, were appalled at what happened to him and couldn’t believe it happened in Minnesota. I will get to that in a minute as well because it also came up in this conversation.
I will say, my back was up at the start of this conversation because of the way she phrased her initial comment. Telling me she got an email from her friend and that she wanted to fact-check it with me didn’t set well. Not just because she could have Googled if she really wanted to learn more about it (yes, I know not everyone can Google efficiently, but you have to start somewhere. I wasn’t born knowing how to Google. I know I allow her to rely on me too much, but it’s not worth the argument), but because while she may have really been looking for a discussion, the way she phrased it was teeth-setting. I’ll give you examples.
She started by asking if George Floyd was Somali. That already put my dander up because why would that matter? She went onto ask if Somalis were terrorists, and I lost my damn shit. She began reading from the email without allowing me to talk (another of her tactics. She asks questions, but won’t listen to the answers. It’s fucking annoying, and I’ve learned to cut her off and talk over her. It feels rude, but it’s the only way to get a word in edgewise), and it was about how Somalis came here en masse when there was a war in their country. Yes, the history is true, and, yes, Minnesota took in a large amount of Somali refugees (same with Hmong), but the leap from that to terrorist is a big one. When I told her she was full of shit (not in those words), she said she was just trying to get the facts.
Uh huh. She’s a psychologist. She should know about confirmation bias. Anyway, I first tried to correct or repudiate her points one by one. No, George Floyd was not Somali. Yes, there are a lot of Somalis in Minnesota, but that did not make them terrorists. I did not want to get into the complicated relationship of the Somalis and Minnesota because she didn’t even understand Racism 101, let alone this issue. Finally, I completely snapped when she asked if it was true George Floyd had been in jail. I didn’t even bother Googling it (until later. I have an incurable need to know shit). I said for maybe the third or fourth time, “He was killed over a counterfeit $20 bill. Even if everything you said was true, did he deserve that?”