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SOCIETY TALK

The end of racism and structural inequality

The time is yet to come when society rises above its discriminations

In Summary

• Harsh reality is all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others

Protesters react as they set fire to the entrance of a police station as demonstrations continue after a white police officer was caught on a bystander's video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 28, 2020.
Protesters react as they set fire to the entrance of a police station as demonstrations continue after a white police officer was caught on a bystander's video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 28, 2020.
Image: REUTERS

The world has been raging for the past week as people are still shaken by the heinous crime that took place in Minnesota, US, on May 25.

On the tragic day, an unarmed black man died from police brutality. George Floyd was sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store when he was arrested by the police.

According to security footage and camera phone videos from witnesses, Floyd appeared to cooperate with the police. However, the four policemen who arrested him used excessive force in restraining Floyd. One officer, Derek Chauvin, used an extreme restraint method by placing his knee on the back of Floyd's neck, consequently choking him to death.

 
 

The footage showed officer Chauvin had placed his knee on the victim's neck for a little longer than eight minutes. In that time, Floyd kept pleading with the officers that he couldn't breathe, he wanted some water and in the end, he kept calling out for his mother.

 

It is haunting to watch a grown man the size of a giant calling out for his mummy in his most vulnerable moment. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the response to the incident was driven by rage. 

The people of Minnesota were infuriated by the incident so much so that they set the police precinct ablaze. They protested for days, demanding justice for George Floyd, who was killed unlawfully by police.

Protests for #Blacklivesmatter took place in all major cities in America and across the globe as thousands of people marched in solidarity. Protests took place in major cities in the UK, parts of Europe and even as far as New Zealand.

In Berlin, hundreds of German demonstrators marched in solidarity with American protesters outside the American Embassy. A mural of George Floyd also appeared on a section of the remaining part of the Berlin Wall. 

Officer Chauvin has since been fired for the incident and has been charged with the murder of George Floyd. The incident is not a unique one; every year, countless innocent black men are killed in similar circumstances. Actor Will Smith noted that, “Racism is not getting worse. Racism is being videotaped.”

Racism is a systematic oppression that is backed up by unjust legal and social structures. Racism, classism, ageism, colourism, sexism and tribalism are fundamentally the same principle. They are rooted in prejudicial notions that one group is arguably superior than the other. As such, the group that considers itself superior uses these arguments to discriminate and dominate the groups they deem to be inferior.

 

In every society, discrimination exists. Whether it be by race, gender, social status, caste, colour or age… The inequalities between humans have existed since the beginning of mankind. The strong preyed on the weak and the weak eventually learnt to fight back.

Women fought for gender equality for hundreds of years and to date, women are still making 30 per cent less than men on an average. Black people fought to end slavery for 400 years and to date, black people are still sold into slavery.

 

In Libya, thousands of West African men and boys who ran away from their homes seeking a better life are being sold into modern-day slave markets. In the beaches of Italy, young African men are forced labourers for a pittance as beach boys.

In the Middle East, black men and women face all sorts of abuse as domestic workers for rich Arabs. Palestinians are still invaded by the Israelis. In India, the lower caste will never be equal to the upper caste no matter how successful they become.

This discussion will never end as long as people have prejudice in their hearts. Someone will always want to be better than another. We long for a day when hashtags are a thing of the past. We yearn to see an equal society that is free from any kind of discrimination.

But that time is yet to come. In today’s society, it is unfortunate that the words of George Orwell in his 1945 masterpiece, Animal Farm, are still relevant. "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."

Edited by T Jalio