Rehashing a hashtag isn’t going to make a difference warns Tommy McCarthy.
Revisiting your personal approach and questioning your beliefs might.
The Belfast boxer understands the hurt felt and anger expressed since George Floyd’s murder, but is somewhat upset with elements of that reaction.
Just as there is an element of déjà vu to a black man systemically suffering under the vicious arm of the American law, McCarthy sees similarities in the online outrage.
#BlackLivesMatter is trending again and, for some, is ‘trendy’ again. McCarthy suggests that, in some cases, the online tidal wave has less to do with genuine support and is instead a performative action more to do with social media numbers.
Indeed, he claims he knows racists who have been vocalising support for George Floyd, his family, and the black people of American.
As a result, he queries whether black lives will matter as much when #blacklivesmatter doesn’t.
“There’s a lot of fake people on the internet who I know for a fact do not like black people or ethnic minorities but are posting #blacklivesmatter,” the European title hopeful tells Irish-Boxing.com before querying those who chose to film rather intervene.
“I think people need to do a lot more than post hashtags and stand at the City Hall. People need to intervene when they witness a racial attack instead of pulling out the phone and posting a video saying ‘can’t believe what I seen today’.”
Considering we have seen worldwide public ire, global protests, condemnation from all quarters ,and demands for change, McCarthy may appear overly downbeat.
It appears, from the outside looking in, that this can’t be allowed happen again, that change is the only option, but the Lenadoon big man isn’t confident that is the case.
View this post on Instagram
‘The Mac Attack’ marched with his then-fiancée, now wife, Amy and children in 2016 as the world shouted black lives matter at the top of its voice. However, it seems once the volume of that roar lessened so did the value of black lives.
“The incident made me feel angry but sadly not shocked,” he says.
“Over the last lot of years we’ve seen loads of videos of inhumane acts by American police due to the camera phone culture that we live in.”
“Eric Garner was choked to death by police in 2014 while members of the public stood and recorded it. In 2016 there was a number of viral videos caught on tape of police shooting unarmed black men in the States which sparked worldwide protests. “
“I went to a BLM rally in Belfast with my wife and kids to show solidarity with the protests that were taking place globally that year.”
“It’s now 2020 and nothing has changed. George Floyd choked to death on camera and many more shot dead by the police in America.”
If the institutions won’t change what can the everyday person do outside of voicing concern?
Well, McCarthy believes we need to focus on our own prejudices and work from there.
“People need to address their own racial prejudices. “
“I’ve been told a few times ‘I don’t really like black people but you’re alright’.”
“Someone actually said ‘I can’t stand blacks apart from you and the ones I know’. If people listened to themselves they’d realise how stupid they are. That is the attitude that so many people have around the world.”
McCarthy claims he hasn’t had to deal with a ‘great deal of racism’ in Ireland, but counts himself lucky.
Indeed, while he has been the subject of racist abuse both outright and unconscious, McCarthy goes as far as to say he ‘got off lightly’. The 29-year-old is at pains to point out that many have suffered worse than him.
“I’m one of the fortunate black people who hasn’t experienced a great deal of racism in Ireland through out my life, although I have experienced some.”
“I know that the reason why I got off lightly is because I was always the biggest in school and I was respected for being a champion boxer from when I started secondary school up till now,” added the Commonwealth Games silver medallist and World Championships quarter finalist.
“There isn’t a problem with racism in Irish boxing. When I was coming through the amateur system I was always the token black but it was never an issue.”
“I know black people who have had a completely different experience from me growing up in Ireland and they got bullied badly.”
You can donate to George Floyd’s family HERE
You can sign the Justice for George Floyd petition HERE
You can donate to bail funds across America HERE
Closer to home, you can easily e-mail Irish government ministers regarding Direct Provision HERE
You can donate to Black Pride Ireland HERE
You can donate to MASI HERE