Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

I Can’t Breathe were the last words of George Floyd before he lost his life because of a white Minneapolis policeman, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck on 25 May 2020, continuously for 8min 45sec. Civil unrest flared and curfews are being imposed in several major US cities.

History of Racism in USA

The root of Racism, particularly in the USA was the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It basically refers to the transportation of African slaves to the Americas. These Slaves were sold by the fellow Africans and the European rulers ruling Africa. This process of slave trade occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries, mainly.

Racism had started and is continuing mainly because of the fact that one section of the humans believed that they were superior from others. This was not only the case in the Americas but also in the rest of the colonial world. ​Many believe that Racism was indeed a consequence of Slavery. I also agree with this, because initially, it was economic inequality, which was later expanded to the concept of Racism.​

The seeds of racism are so much embedded in the societies which are now free from colonialism, that they racially abuse each other now, even after decades of Independence.

One notable incident, which can be seen as a precursor to the Black lives matter movement and George Floyd movement, was that of a Nurse in a hospital in New York, who accused the hospital administration of discriminating patients on the basis of color. She claimed that black people who were suffering from Coronavirus were left to die while their white counterparts were given proper medical care.​

This Video of the Nurse went viral on social media and led to a number of discussions on the issue worldwide. This was in the news because the number of black people dying from the pandemic was almost double of whites in the United States. Shameful thing is that such incidents occur from time to time in the United States, which is among the most developed civilizations (in all aspects) in the World. If this is the case in the US, then the less said about other nations, the better.

What should worry us is that this inhuman approach of racism, which is a big hindrance to the growth of human society as a whole, is still widely practised. If this doesn’t put us to shame, then what would ??

The Incident

George Floyd was accused of submitting a fake $20 currency for buying a pack of cigarettes from a grocery store “Cup Foods” on 25 May 2020. He was a regular customer at the store. The Shop Owner gave a review of his conduct as – ” George was a friendly person, a pleasant customer who never caused trouble to anyone”.

But unfortunately for George Floyd, as his fate turned out, the shop owner was not present at that time. The employee who didn’t know George Floyd called the police. The policemen came and handcuffed him.

They told him that he was being arrested for passing counterfeiting currency. When the policemen tried to put George in the car, a struggle initiated as George Floyd told them that he has claustrophobia (fear of confined/crowded places).

During this struggle, Cop Derek Chauvin pulled George Floyd away from the passenger side of the car. This caused George Floyd to fall to the ground, after which, he lay down there still, handcuffed.

What happened next went all over the digital medium, which proved to be the last moments of George Floyd’s Life. These moments were captured by witnesses present.​​

As he was laying down, Chauvin placed his knee between his head and neck. George repeatedly screamed “I Can’t Breathe” and requested him to take his knee back as he was getting hurt. He even pleaded for his mother. The witnesses also requested the police officer to check his pulse and get him in the car, but all these requests were ignored by the policemen.

After 8 min and 46 sec, when the cruel and unhuman cop Chauvin removed his knee from his neck and George Floyd was taken to the hospital. He was declared dead about an hour later.

This incident, adding up with the discrimination faced by the black Americans during the treatment of coronavirus as well as various other incidents in the past, has resulted in the “Black Lives Matter” protests all over the USA and which has now turned into a global movement.​

blue yellow and black graffiti on wall

Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder. He also faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. Three other police officers are facing charges of aiding and abetting in the death of George Floyd.​

The last major notable incident which only managed national attention in the US was the killing of Eric Garner. He was put in a chokehold by a police officer, who came to arrest him, on 17th July 2014. Garner was claimed to shout ” I can’t breathe” 11 times, before losing his life.

Global Protests

Throughout the History of the US, freedom, opportunity, and prosperity have been mostly reserved for the whites through intentional oppression of non-whites. Deep racial and ethnic inequalities that exist today are the result of historical policies and norms to maintain white supremacy.

George Floyd’s killing has further deepened the large divide within the American community. Those who have access to healthcare and those who do not. The divide between the rich and the poor. The divide between the white supremacists and the rest of the country.

The sight of protesters flooding streets has been a common sight in the United States since this Incident. It has fueled a sense of crisis in the United States after weeks of lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen millions thrown out of work and has disproportionately affected minority communities. To put it into perspective, George Floyd was working as a bouncer in Minneapolis, but, like millions worldwide, he was left jobless by the Global Recession caused by the Pandemic.​​​

​​​​​The protests are not being held only on the streets but in Social Media also. People across the world of different ages, races, sex, etc have joined the movement, which initially came across in the USA. This is because Racism is a global phenomenon and something that is very dangerous and affects people worldwide. A lot of us have suffered and hence, people are emotionally attached to the movement and raising their voices in solidarity. White People and also white Policemen have been in support of the protests.​

Many popular brands and celebrities of various sections of life are voicing their discontent openly. Few examples are mentioned below​​​

1. Footballers showing support by kneeling down

2. Twitter, Instagram and many other brands are showing solidarity for the movement by changing the color of their logo as Black. We have added a banner on our website to show solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter

3. Huge protests forcing US President to go to the Bunker

The magnitude of the protests could be understood by the fact that the US President Donald Trump had to be shifted to the emergency bunker.​​

Read How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change by Barack Obama.

Global Outlook on Racism

One thing is clear, that while the US has been ridiculed worldwide for unfair treatment of non-whites and rightly so, the Rest of the world is not free from the stains of Racism.

We all are to be blamed for this. Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latins, etc. ALL. While some are to be blamed for initiating Racism and the others, for accepting Racism.​

At the individual level, whether knowingly or unknowingly, we have practised racism. So rather than blaming others for Racism, we must make sure to avoid being racist and then stop others.

If I talk about India, while it is true that Indians have been subjected to racial abuse abroad a lot of times, we must also admit that racial abuse (although light-heartedly still wrong) is being practised a lot in India. South Indians, North Easterns, and people of hilly terrain bordering Nepal, Tibet, and China have been abused more frequently than others.

We are seeing Celebrities and People, who are condemning this action, that there were problems like Racism, Communalism, Casteism, Paid Media, Brutalities on Students, etc from always which they have been ignoring and now only criticizing after death. Where were they before?

Conclusion

While justice for George Floyd is of utmost priority right now, I feel that for the betterment of the human race, we people at the individual level should look into ourselves. We should all make sure that we improve our level of thinking. We need to understand that we should treat everyone equally, not like the current scenario where most of us mock others for the things they lack, be it racism, money, and skill aspect.

I feel it needs to be corrected from the childhood level because most of us are taught or absorb information about what is beautiful and what is not, which occupation is more powerful, which section of people are stronger and which hold a higher position in the strata of society. These are the things which are there in almost every society and culture of the world.

The only way to change that is by making people understand that all of us are equal and special in a unique way. We need to learn to respect others and give love to all.

Coming back to the topic of “Black Lives Matter”, it is true that the level of racism the black people suffer is something very unfortunate and hard for me to describe in words. No matter if they are successful or not, they are subjected to a hell lot of racism. Being a Sports fan, I encounter numerous incidents of players being subjected to racism.

It makes them feel inferior and they are subject to mental health issues as a result. I don’t understand what happiness the Racists people get by doing such cheap acts.​​

Make no Mistake, End of Racism wouldn’t mean that humanity would be perfect. There are a lot of other things that need to be solved to improve human civilization like Gender Inequality, Terrorism, Territory disputes, etc, but Ending Racism would mean we have overcome one of the major obstructions of human growth. I hope we would achieve it Soon.​

Editor and Author, QuaRANT9 Civil Engineer | IIT Roorkee 2020 | UPSC Aspirant | Sports lover for Life Try. Make Mistake. Fail. Learn. Repeat Until... Try. Succeed.

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