There’s a saying that my Portuguese mother taught me: “Quem cala consente”. It basically means, “Whoever shuts up, agrees.” Against a backdrop of widespread protests against police brutality and racist violence faced by black Americans, my mum’s phrase has been rattling round my head this last week.
George Floyd’s brutal, senseless death, and the protests that have followed, are the latest manifestation of justified anger in the face of, in the words of Atlanta Police Chief, Erika Shields, structures that have systemically, chronically and routinely “diminished black lives”. This constitutes, to quote my colleague Tamika, who runs our US operation, a “second pandemic” - as, likely through other forms of inequality, COVID-19 too has disproportionately affected people of colour.
So why should I care? A fifty-something white male business leader? And why should you care? Because, statistics suggest, you’re probably white and male, too.