PROTESTS AGAINST RACISM, Privilege, as usual, is not uniformly distributed among all. The biggest proof of it is the racism faced by African Americans of the USA. What reaches the media and stirs movements and protests all across are the most heinous crimes against this particular race. But that is not the only display of racism. The root of the problem is very closely layered within every stratum of life. Racism can be detected in everyday behavior towards the blacks of America which clearly explains that in order to get rid of the issues the entire system needs to be rooted out and built from scratch.
A survey was held regarding the protests against the unjust murder of George Floyd by a white cop. According to the survey, only 54% of US adults are in support of the ongoing protests. This 54% includes 69% Democrats and only 38% Republicans.
What does this show?
Mainly, it shows most people are not acquainted with the idea of privilege. Most people who are not black or colored, fail to realize how they are privileged even in slightest regards like taking a stroll on the block or purchasing something expensive from the supermarket without any fear of accusation or possible death. Subtle examples of racism can be detected when people cross streets to avoid passing by a black, when racial slurs are normalized or when blacks get accused of being a criminal due to the way they look or walk or talk.
Most of the menial jobs are expected to be done by African Americans in the US. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, 75% of the frontline workers including medical staff, laborers, cleaners, sanitation departments, janitors, delivery staffs are manned by blacks making them more vulnerable to the disease.
The backward areas of the minority has been affected by COVID-19 the most. From Latinas to African Americans, the less privileged are at the receiving end of the worst conditions possible.
Despite all these realities, people who aren’t colored are failing to realize their upper hand. That is where the problem lies. And that is the reason why protests are not enough.
Radcliffe ‘Ruddy’ Roye is a Jamaican photographer who told National Geographic, “George Floyd’s death is no different from that of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, or Mike Brown. And their deaths are no different from Emmett Till’s. The years change, but nothing else does. The conversations I hear at protests are full of anger and frustration, but they lack substance and history. I understand the rage and that it needs a release. The rage eventually dies. The fire is put out. What are we left with then?”
What could be done?
In a utopian world, there would not be any need for unearthing the roots. But it’s not so in this world. Right now, the punishment of Derek Chauvin, the cop who had the audacity to kneel on George’s neck for over 8 mins will pacify the protesters but that is not enough. Posting black squares or clapping to show solidarity is appreciated but it is not enough. It does have an impact but it is short-lived.
The blacks of the community need to be assured of safety first and foremost, not only by the government but by fellow humans. The aim mustn’t be justice for George Floyd. It should be equality that humanity has owed to this race for over 400 years. The mentality needs to change. Black men, due to their low wages shouldn’t be forced to work during a pandemic in order to feed his family. That security must be equally provided to them as it is done with others. The racial slurs, discrimination at shops, streets, public transportation must not exist. The nonblacks who are protesting now shouldn’t forget that the battle doesn’t end here. This is just the beginning of a very long war until the discrimination is sucked out of the system like poison. Whether it be medical security, monetary security, equal rights (and not just on paper), or equal treatment at every front, it must be ensured.
Blacks must not be ‘guilty until proven innocent’. They should not have the fear of injustice and death every time a police car pulls them over. They should not be avoided because they are black. They should not have to fight this war in the 21st century. They should not be killed for taking a walk at night. They should not be killed in their sleep. They should not be killed for being existing.