“Racism is not getting worse. It’s getting filmed.”, a quote attributed to Black actor Will Smith. And I agree.
There seems to be a semblance of diversity, integration and tolerance in some parts of the world, and in some aspects of our existence like sports and entertainment. Despite this, racism is still pervasive.
Incidents of racial harassment and attacks against Blacks, Asians and other people of color have been committed by bigots for a long time now. However, with the aid of phone cameras and CCTVs, these things are now well documented, and they are impossible to deny.
In the US, how many white people have called the police because they are threatened by the presence of black people? Innocent black people who are just going about their daily lives: jogging, playing, shopping, working, entering their own apartments. How many black people have been denied entry to certain restaurants because of their footwear, while whites wearing the same type of shoes have already been allowed inside? There are also documented incidents of police officers and security guards questioning Blacks in posh places because “they don’t look like they belong”.
In other instances, it’s not just a case of a person feeling threatened by the presence of a Black person. It is pure, simple hatred. The case of Ahmaud Arbery is a stark example. Arbery, a 25-year-old African American was just jogging around his neighborhood on February 23, 2020. Three white guys chased him, and shot him to death. The suspects were arrested only on May 7, 2020—two days after a video of the encounter surfaced, and after prominent people started calling out the police department for covering up the case and inventing lies against Arbery.
American Black activist Shaun King has been documenting police brutality against blacks. His social media accounts are full of harrowing tales of unarmed, non-violent Blacks killed by US police officers. The police, King says, consistently treat Black suspects with lethal force, much different from how they treat White suspects who are accused of more serious crimes like murder. Black suspects almost always end up dead while white suspects are arrested alive and well —-which should be the case for all suspects who are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd — suspected of paying a fake $20.—was killed by a police officer in broad daylight. The officer pinned George on the ground, with his knees at the back of his neck, for eight minutes. The black man groaned and moaned until he expired. In sharp contrast, white people like Dylann Roof—already convicted of mass murder — were arrested without much of a scuffle.
Massive protests erupted after cases and cases of documented racial attacks made rounds on social and mainstream media. And there are hundreds of cases which were not caught on camera.
There will always be racist people. There will always be bigotry and prejudices against Blacks and other people of color ( POC) . But we don’t have to accept them as an inevitable part of our reality. We should not allow other people to get comfortable mistreating us because of the color of our skin. Silence and forgiveness won’t do it. Within the bounds of the law, POCs should fight back.
Ahmaud Arbery: What do we know about the case. ( 2020, June 5). BBC News.
Dylann Roof appeals death penalty in South Carolina church massacre. (2020,January 29). NBC News.
Fausset,R.(2020,November 13).What We Know About the Shooting Death of Ahmaud Arbery.NewYork Times.https://www.nytimes.com/article/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-georgia.html.
George Floyd: What happened in the final moments of his life. ( 2020,July 16).BBC News.