On the Killing of George Floyd: From Systems of Dominance to Systems of Mutualism & Equality

By Bill Baue

Note: This text was drafted by r3.0 Senior Director Bill Baue, with editorial support from Jennifer Dhyana Nucci, for inclusion as the introduction to the June 9, 2020 r3.0 Newsletter. r3.0 Managing Director Ralph Thurm welcomed this introduction to the newsletter as a serious and necessary statement that explains r3.0’s enduring motivation for necessary transformation. It also stands on its own as r3.0’s statement in response to the state killing of George Floyd and related recent developments.

James Baldwin on the Dick Cavett Show

“I don’t know what most white people in this country feel; I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions,” said author James Baldwin more than 50 years ago, after which he enumerated the evident racial inequities exhibited by religious, educational, real estate, and other institutions in the US. “Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith, risking my life … on some idealism that you ensure me exists in America, which I have never seen!” Mic drop.

A half century later, the evidence of institutionalized racism in the US (and beyond) is still incontrovertible. Now, the state killing of George Floyd — 8 minutes and 46 seconds of a white policeman’s suffocating knee on his neck — has turned the tide of mainstream acknowledgment of this systemic dominance and dehumanization. We humans apply this dysfunctional dominance dynamic not only to fellow humans, but also to the natural world that is our home. Ironically, such dominance is self-defeating — it harms not only the dominated, but also the dominator. Relationships of mutualism and equality create a living dynamic in which all thrive.

These are precisely the kinds of relationships we at r3.0 promote. Analyzing the situation through our thresholds & allocations lens, we see that the dominant white culture, which includes the criminal justice system, long ago crossed the threshold into severe systemic dysfunctionality. We also see longstanding mis-allocation of resources — compare police budgets to reparations budgets. r3.0 calls for fair and just distribution of vital resources through systems that apportion first according to need.

When we assess the evidence, we find current practice and ambition would require Baldwin’s “act of faith,” as they lag what science and ethics demand, so we focus our work on filling these gaps, with the goal of triggering tipping points to a regenerative and distributive economy, and a resilient and just society.

We do have faith that such an outcome is possible, with sufficient mindset and paradigm shifts.

Our annual Conference provides the primary opportunity of engaging our global community in a dialogue on the necessary transformations for achieving this goal, as do all of our Blueprints that identify gaps between current practice and ambition on the one hand, and necessary transformation on the other, then make recommendations on how to fill these gaps. Our ultimate goal is to spur the emergence of a truly Regenerative & Distributive Economy and Society.