The reenactment of a tragedy sparks outrage

Muskan Basnet, Staff Contributor

With every tragic event comes a flood of dark humor, and the Quad Cities are no exception. 

George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was suffocated and killed by former officer Derek Chauvin In Minneapolis on May 25. In the months that followed, many pushed for justice for black Americans impacted, hurt and killed by the systemic racism interwoven into every aspect of American life.

But in Davenport’s Assumption High School , Floyd’s death sparked a different reaction on Oct. 28, when four students posted a TikTok video that reenacted and made light of the injustice. 

The TikTok was filmed during the boys’ study hall, with other students visible in the background. 

In the video, one student is held against the wall, and the video cuts to the next scene in which one student is pinned to the floor with another student’s knee pressed against the back of his neck: a clear imitation of Chauvin’s action towards Floyd. The TikTok ends with two of the boys dancing along to the music in a comedic manner. 

The video’s scenes are carried out to the tune of rapper YNW Melly’s song, “Mama Cry.” The song is from the point of view of a man who is incarcerated for murder. The rapper tells his mother not to cry, and explains he “just caught some time, I’ll be home soon.”

Once posted on Tik Tok, the boys quickly received backlash and removed the video. However, many viewers had already seen, saved and shared it with their peers and on social media. Students, parents and other community members took to social media to condemn the video and the hate it conveyed. 

With the pressure of students and parents to issue a statement, Assumption counselor Kelly Bush sent an email about the event and the school’s plan to move forward.

Through the email, she addressed Assumption’s disappointment regarding the Tik Tok. “I was deeply saddened when I heard about a video that went viral today involving Assumption students reenacting the murder of George Floyd. The murder of George Floyd was a stain upon our country – as is the murder of any innocent human being,” wrote Bush. Many people were disappointed with Assumption’s response.

Bush ended the email with a final address to Assumption. “We should be better than this, and I know we can be,” she concluded.

While some were thankful for a statement from Assumption, others were left unsatisfied by the response. There is animosity towards, what many believe is, a lack of punishment from the school. 

Though this event took place at Assumption High School with Assumption students, students at Pleasant Valley have been vocal about their thoughts. 

Junior Hannah Harrison has spoken out on her social media and to peers about this incident. “I think it genuinely impacts the whole POC [people of color] community despite the school differences. Seeing the video and knowing the students, I was in utter shock, especially considering how the Black Lives Matter movement was more brought to light this quarantine,” Harrison commented. 

“It’s sad to see that racism is still a problem in this day and age. I think with this experience we can begin to amplify our voices and genuinely create a change, even if we do attend completely different schools.”