Across the globe, mass protests have emerged, in reaction to the violent and unwarranted death of George Floyd and others, all black. From Paris to Tokyo, Britain to Belgium, the Black Lives Matter movement has raised its voice for the world to see. But why, in 2020, is racism still an issue? How do we uproot a problem that has been embedded in the socialisation, education and culture of so many?
On 25th May 2020, a viral video of police in Minneapolis kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died, surfaced on the internet. This sparked peaceful protests in the state which created a chain effect through the United States and the rest of the world. Calls for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor as well as an end to police brutality rang throughout and continues to do so currently, with protests still underway. In 2020 so far, almost 100 black men and women have been killed by the police in the US and this has been an issues for decades.
Disparities in the system have evidentially favourited white men and women for centuries. In the UK, it is a known fact that the justice system racially disadvantages people from ethnic minority groups, with black men being 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white male counterpart. Similarly, black people are incarcerated at 5 times the rate of whites in the Unites States. It is important to note that the disparities do not reflect the rate at which BAME people offend. It is very evidential that the judicial system needs restructuring, in order to remove a problem that has been woven into its practises.
Education and the workplace
Within the education system, racism still rears its head, despite its ‘covert’ nature. Statistics show black Caribbeans are the lowest achieving in relation to GCSE grades. This correlates with them having the highest rates of permanent exclusion. Similarly, racism in the workplace is still abound. A survey carried out by Manchester University found almost 15% of women and 8% of men stated that racial discrimination had caused them to leave their job as well as over 40% of those who reported a racist incident said they were either ignored, or that they had subsequently been identified as a ‘trouble maker’.
Time to educate Amongst these protests, statues of slave traders like Edward Colston have been brought down, the voice of ‘all lives matter’ has tried to make itself heard and the holiday of ‘Juneteenth’, marking the end of slavery, has been celebrated. The movement of Black Lives Matter is not only to fight against racial injustice, but to also educate on the rich and powerful history of Black people all over the world. June 22nd is celebrated as Windrush day in the UK, acknowledging and commemorating the tireless work of those who came from the Caribbean to help rebuild Britain after the second world war. Petitions to add black history to the British education system have gained significant ground. Black history makes up such a significant part of human history and now more than ever, it is time to educate whilst dismantling racist systems.
By Sophia Willems