In light of the recent, racially-motivated murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor but to name a few, one would be justified in questioning how much we have progressed since then, or if we have progressed at all.
The unlawful killings of black members of society at the hands of police is not a newfound pandemic. It has been inherent within the pillars of society for many centuries. It’s somewhat exhausting and incomprehensible to still be dealing with the same issues with no major reform being initiated.
Police Brutality in the USA
In the case of Eric Garner, prosecutor’s initially ruled that the seven-second chokehold and Garner’s 11 separate pleas of “I can’t breathe” were insufficient evidence of intent to deny Garner his civil rights. Some years later and the asphyxiation inflicted on George Floyd is increased to 8 minutes and 45 seconds, and the conviction of Officer Derek Chauvin does not seem like sufficient retribution. Even as distant as 1935, there was something of a warzone between the “besieged black community and the NYPD” and this battle between black people and the police department continues to be problematic.
Unlike other US Presidents, President Woodrow Wilson had white people at the forefront of blame for the instigation of race related riots in Chicago and Washington DC and made some sort of effort to foster racial harmony but this was to no avail. Nowadays, it comes to no surprise to hear President Trump making outlandish statements such as: “most of them don’t even know why they are protesting anymore” in a statement made at a rally in Dartford. It would be difficult to have an optimistic view of racial equality when the efforts of Black Lives Matter protesters are being undermined by the person who holds the power to enforce progressive change. Now that the National Guard has been deployed to “keep the peace”, the hegemonic powers that be do not seem to be in any kind of rush to balance the scales of inequality.
Solving Contemporary Race Disputes
With the recent news of Rayshard Brooks’s murder, it would not be far-fetched to say that the move for inequality, especially in the USA, has been regressive. Yet another example of excessive force by the police and no clear route has been indicated by Congress or other authorities of that matter to help quell the issue. Multiple hangings have also been occurring through multiple states, being ruled as suicide and things are just not adding up. That being said, action must be taken immediately. The dystopian nature of the current US climate could easily get out of hand if issues are not sorted. A dialogue is needed between those in power and those who are oppressed.
Only then do we have any chance of turning the cogs in search of equality.
By Jo Nyandoro