What has George Floyd’s Daughter Inherited?

Oris Aigbokhaevbolo
5 min readJun 5, 2020

In February this year, I was searched by the Transportation Security Administration at the JFK airport in New York.

The officer doing the searching assured me it was random and gave me the option of receiving his treatment in an area away from the public. I wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do but I told him he could do the search right there.

The search turned out to be a quite vigorous frisking of my arms, chest, thighs, and legs. But I wasn’t alarmed. What was I guilty of? Writing a harsh review? Typing too furiously on my laptop? Eating grilled chicken in an American cinema hall? Later I found two TSA notices in my bag.

There was a chance that I had been profiled but that’s a thing I see in the movies. And it didn’t really connect with anything historical in my brain. I waved it off. I think now that that ignorance is a privilege.

Fact is, I am Nigerian and have never lived anywhere else for month than 3 months at a time. What others might call racism I shrug off and, frankly, I just don’t have the experience and psychological apparatus to process nothing but the most egregious display of racism. I don’t have the African American’s historical baggage. I live in Lagos: any harshness abroad has to be stratospheric to register in my mind. When some guy mistook me for the guy who played M’baku in Black Panther as I tried to cross a road in Park City, I found it amusing. A white lady who saw the scene later scoffed, condemning what happened. She diagnosed the problem: to the white guy guy, I was “a big black guy” at a film festival showing a film starring a big black guy so I was probably Winston Duke. As I said, I was amused. As I write this, I wonder if I’d have been as amused where Duke some big, black guy who had just committed a crime.

Since 25 May, another big, black guy has been in the news. Unlike me, he’s dead now. Like me, his mother is dead. Unlike me, he was calling for her in his last encounter with a white man.

I had first seen the George Floyd murder video on Twitter. Adrift in the inundation of visual material online, I didn’t give it much thought. I had seen this too many times. He was just another black guy being subdued by the law. Later, I learned he didn’t survive the incident.

Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Nigeria’s most acclaimed writer-reviewer.