Flameless candles are illuminated after being placed at the memorial for George Floyd outside Cup Foods to celebrate what would have been Floyd's 47th birthday on Oct. 14 in Minneapolis.

By B. Robinson

Should the late George Floyd be a Black
American hero? Do you want future
generations to glance back over their
shoulders and view Mr. Floyd as a leading
symbol in the fight for Black American
freedom, justice, and equality?

Mr. Floyd lost his life under unappealing and
unpleasant circumstances. He was murdered
with his hands cuffed behind his back and he
was face down on the pavement because of
an alleged and unresolved use of a counterfeit
$20 bill to purchase cigarettes.1 How should
Mr. Floyd be compared with the innumerable
Black American personalities who have lost
their lives in the fight for justice over the past
400-plus years?

Before proceeding, it is important to note—
as have many involved in Mr. Floyd’s case—
that the penalty for passing a counterfeit $20
bill is not death. Importantly, the State of
Minnesota should resolve the issue and
clarify the facts concerning Mr. Floyd’s
alleged use of counterfeit money.
Unfortunately, the lack of resolution of this
matter places a dark cloud over the entire

Let us also emphasize that the videotape of
Mr. Floyd’s murder fastened a very bright
spotlight on police brutality, police excessive
use of force, and police operations generally.
That spotlight is affecting police operations
all around the world, and it should result in
more humane police behavior. But there are
no guarantees until improved police
governance laws are enacted and enforced.

Precipitating all of these outcomes, alone,
should make Mr. Floyd an excellent Black
American hero candidate. However, there are
at least three reasons why Mr. Floyd’s
ascension to herohood should be

First, if Mr. Floyd, in fact, knowingly passed
counterfeit money as alleged, then it
represents a criminal act.2 As a people intent
on being righteous, Black Americans should
not tolerate criminal behavior.

Second, if Mr. Floyd believed or knew that
he had not committed a crime, then why did
he acquiesce so willingly to the police and go
down without a fight. His failure to fight in
righteous indignation may have cost him his
life, but he died anyway.

Third, Mr. Floyd’s final cry to his mother for
help places him in the pantheon of weaklings
who do not fight in moments of distress, but
who digress to babyhood. This weakness, as
Dr. Claud Anderson so aptly states, is a prime
reason why Black Americans have been used
and abused—especially economically—
throughout our sojourn in North America.
3 It is peculiar that Mr. Floyd, who was big and
football-strong, was putty in the hands of
Minneapolis police.

In the current fight over Critical Race Theory,
we should be careful not only about how we
characterize the history of Blacks in America,
but we should also be very careful about who
we hold up to the world as heroes. We should
consider continuing to push forward as
heroes the lives and legacies of personalities
such as Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey, Nat
Turner, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther
King, Jr. Much less so Mr. George Floyd.
B. Robinson