It would not be wrong to say that there is literally no one who has not heard the name of “George Floyd” in recent days. This unarmed man, killed by a White-American Police Officer, has ignited a massive fire in the form of protests and riots, not only in America but around the world. It is once again bringing the racial injustices happening in the United States, into the focus.
The leaked video of the cop who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes straight, as he pleaded for mercy, and ultimately choking him to death, did not only trigger the fury of Americans but also brought the entire world on the same page.
The worst thing about this unfortunate event was that it was not the first act of injustice that someone has faced because of a difference in skin color, but Floyd’s death was merely another drop in the enormous ocean of racial violence in American history. Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Rodney King, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and Philando Castle, being just a few examples of such violence, especially by the police officers, and law enforcement agencies.
It would not be wrong to say that since the start of US history, the treatment that the Blacks faced with comparison to the Whites has always been different with regards to law enforcement. All this has its strong and deep roots in the centuries-old racism and systemic racism, where Black lives were and still are considered inferior in comparison to their pale, pink-skinned counterparts. It is shocking to see that merely the melanin content in one’s skin can become an issue of life and death. But before analyzing the racism in America of today, that has led to the end of George Floyd and many other Black-Americans, let’s have a look from where it all started.
Blacks in America: An Early History
During their early expeditions in exploring America, Spanish and Portuguese were usually accompanied by the Africans. It was not until the sixteenth century when these Africans inhabited areas like South Carolina, New Mexico, and the Mississippi valley. One of the most well-renowned black explorers of the continent, who traveled towards Southwest, was Esteban, he traveled the Americas in the 1530s. By the 1660s, Africans were brought to the English colonies in the new world, in enormous numbers, and by the late 19 century, more than 800.000 Blacks (1/5 of the total population of the US) were present on the land of the Americas.
In 1750, many attempts had started to legalize the efforts to hold back the Black servants beyond the regular duties of servants. It was actually authorized in Virginia by 1661, and all the colonies by 1750; the slavery begins.
It was quite easy to distinguish a black man from a European man, for obvious reasons. Many beliefs developed that depicted these Black Humans as savages with a pagan culture, and therefore became inferiors of the Europeans. All the enslaved blacks were house workers, or farmers, farming the land of this new world, that would eventually become Great America. America, built on the bones of the Black oppression.
The Whites also formed the justice system of that time, and therefore it favored their skin color over the rest. For equal crimes, the punishments were quite different for both humans, who’s the only difference was the shade of their skin. For a crime in which a white man was sentenced to prison for a few months or days, the Black man was beaten to death in the most humiliating ways possible.
The Slavery ended with the introduction of the Third Amendment in 1865, and the Afro-Americans sighed with relief because gone were the days of the brutalities and tortures on the Black lives. The denial of basic human rights, and rapes, were supposed to be the talk to the past. But the post-slavery life was another era of hardships for the Afro-Americans. Even after slavery, racial prejudices existed. Black codes were enforced, by which they were allowed to choose a life for themselves, but the rights to serve in law, military, or to testify against their white counterparts were straightforwardly denied. In the south parts, most African-Americans continued to live in extreme poverty. Thus the end of slavery meant the start of systemic racism.
Disparities concerning the economy, education, and other human rights, in general, have always existed. The system has favored one race over the other in America, even though it was clearly stated in the declaration of independence that “all men are created equal.” Yet since independence, this democracy has excluded, sometimes even with the use of violence and power, the race of Blacks. A simplified example of Systemic Racism would be unequal opportunities for equally good individuals. Even after years of revolution, there are still many Blacks that are not considered equals. America, the land of dreams, and a vibrant future still have not come out of the stone-age practices of racial discrimination.
We can now see that the law has never favored the black skin over the white, and it was pretty evident in the sickening murder of George Floyd, and countless other Afro-Americans. This shows that the injustices and racial-bias still exists in America and the world
In 2016, on the Senate’s platform, Tim Scott gave a very assertive speech and talked about how he has been continually asked to get out of the car, by many police officers, since they were suspicious of a Black man driving an expensive car. Many others have also faced a similar problem, because obviously when you make all the efforts to keep a class of people to the bottom, you will be suspicious of them if they try to get to the top, and become your equals. Classic White Supremacy!
All of this has contributed to the protests and riots that we see today in all parts of America, as well as the world. It is time, we also play our role and abolish the racism for good. It is time to make a new generation who does not define a human being based on the color of their skin or ethnicity. It is time we treat all humans as equals. Let’s work together to make discriminations and racism a thing of the past. Let’s make these protests and riots for justice, a thing of the past. Let’s make racial-violence a thing of the past. For it is us who are responsible for making the world safe for our future generations. Let’s not forget the duty we owe to this world and its future. Let this be the last Black brutality ever to happen. Let us become human!