Things That Matter

White Teens Are Mocking The George Floyd Killing On Social Media And This Is Why We Need #BlackLivesMatter

As protests and marches take place across the country in a fight for justice and to defend Black lives, some racist teens are instead taking to social media to mock George Floyd’s death.

A Change.org petition has been created demanding social media platforms take down the content, in it there are graphic photos. In each, two white guys mugged for the camera, as one knelt on the other’s neck—both mocking the murder of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis cop knelt on his windpipe for eight minutes and 46 seconds. 

Examples of the George Floyd ‘Challenge’ photos are in this story below. Please note that these photos are disturbing.

There’s a disturbing new challenge mocking the death of George Floyd that’s making the rounds on social media.

In one of the most twisted social media “challenges” to have ever surfaced is the so-called ‘George Floyd Challenge.’ In response to Floyd’s death, some people have started posting photos and videos of themselves kneeling on a friend’s neck, saying it was part of the challenge.

Although most social media platforms have stated to take action and have banned the hashtag, screenshots of the images are still being shared widely on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s worth noting that most of the related posts are actually people criticizing the trend and denouncing those who participated – but the fact that a social media trend like this would take root after such an immense tragedy at all is further proof of why we need #BlackLivesMatter.

There’s currently a Change.org petition circulating as well, urging social media platforms to remove all related content from their sites.

A petition posted to Change.org has already passed its goal of 5,000 signatures. The new goal is now 7,500. It demands that social media platforms taken action to remove any related posts.

“There is a challenge currently ‘popular’ on the app TikTok,” the petition claimed. “It’s called the ‘George Floyd challenge’. It shows teens (white teens) kneeling on the neck of another teen and with a big smile on their face. This is a racist, inhumane challenge and needs to be deleted from TikTok IMMEDIATELY!!!”

The “challenge” has made it as far as the UK, where people have been arrested for participating.

All the way on the other side of the Atlantic, teens in the UK were also accused of participating. Two white teens were arrested by police in northern England after their ‘George Floyd Challenge’ picture started circulating on Facebook and Twitter, according to The Tab.

They were arrested on suspicion of causing anxiety and distress, and the incident is being treated as a hate crime, the news site reported. Both suspects have since been released on bail. 

Police there said in a statement, “We understand that this social media post has caused significant upset and we want to reassure the public it is being investigated robustly and is being treated as a hate crime.” 

Although it seems that so far the challenge is only being attempted by a few racist young adults, this shouldn’t be happening at all.

George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who had a history of brutality. His death has inspired a nationwide movement of justice and accountability. Yet some racists have hijacked his death for their own disgusting need to be seen and relevant.

This so-called challenge didn’t emerge out of thin air. The cropped illustration in the Change.org petition, among the most widely-shared graphics of the challenge, features photos of four Challenge attempts. There are at least four more documented instances, including three photos and a grotesque video. An eighth picture, featuring two white teens laughing in a bunk bed, is also frequently found in posts about the challenge. The latter image is wildly racist (the caption reads: “if we kept them as slaves this would of never happened”), but does not mention or depict the “George Floyd challenge.” 

It looks like the meme’s origins date back at least to May 27th, when a Washington wrestling coach named Dave Hollenbeck posted an image mocking Floyd’s death on Facebook. The image shows Hollenbeck facedown, with a knee in his back, which he claimed was intended as a “defense” of police officers. He was fired from the Bethel School District the next day. The coach did not call his stunt the “George Floyd challenge,” or connect it to any broader trend.

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