George Floyd: An account of the Racial Turmoil

The unjust killing of George Floyd (an innocent African-American) raises the question of minorities’ protection and the global future in this swift shift in right-wing politics.

The world, the internet, the people- all of us took to a storm following the unjust killing of George Floyd, an African-American, in the most dehumanizing way possible. His death broke the country and the world into protests against the unjust activities of law enforcement. As many grieved his death and paid the sympathies to his family. This shocking account becomes a dismal ‘everyday’ occurring for millions of African-Americans and many other minority communities across the world, is what seemingly shapes up a global picture of the 21st century.

Is this the world that we give forward to the next generation? How long will voices be silenced? It is high time we all need to revaluate where we stand in this sociological crisis. So that we don’t have any future cases like George Floyd.

Are we Mainstream?

The world opened its doors to everyone, following the burst of globalization. With the advent of technology, big nations opened their doors, in promises of economic prospects, and migrants from poor nations shifted in the hopes of the same. Everyone was welcome to migrate to the country where their prospects would shine for them. The remittances were huge. There was a sense of acclaim and aspiration for millions to migrate into these developed nations. This resulted in a massive global movement, which promised to bring cultural exchange and a better understanding and appreciation for the others.

But it seems like all of this was just on paper. Did the reality project this for the minority groups? Or were they slotted into ‘stereotypes’ and had hate slurs directed towards them. Making them question the life outside of their homeland, so alien to them. So disapproving for them.

But in this rat-race to achieve our personal American Dream, we need to ask this question, not from the fancies of a high standard of living and lifestyle that reeks from these developed nations, but the basic humanitarian question- Are we safe? Is our community safe? Can we walk the streets without fear? Will we be the next victim? Will our children suffer the same fate? Will this world be a safe place ever?

Even though strict action is being undertaken under the four officers, will it be enough to undo years of systemic wrongs?

The American Dream? The American Struggle

Coming back to the struggles faced by African-Americans and other diasporic communities, it was not a long time back that the segregation laws were challenged by the Civil Rights Movement (an attempt to end legalized racism, and the highly racist and segregationist Jim Crow Laws). Famous leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X among many challenged the ‘Separate but equal’ narrative posed by the reigning white supremacy, and asked for one single thing- equality.

Nationwide peaceful protests were undertaken during 1954-68. However, civil rights issues such as immigration, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the perpetual segregation of the nation’s schools—to name just a few—remain and are in need of ongoing work. The persistent accounts of racist attacks on minorities make one question, whose American Dream is it? Is it just for the ‘white folks’ or is it a false narrative that died with Fitzgerald?

it is important to take the time to celebrate the vibrant cultures and momentous accomplishments of the Black community — as well as recognize and learn from the injustices and adversities the community has faced.

Politics for Change

Fast forward to 2009, America received its first-ever African-American President Barack Obama, who represented the country and gave it a path to shine brighter under his excellent leadership. He and the FLOTUS became exemplary world role models and provided aspirations to the colored community to break the barriers and challenge regimes.

However, did we move for the better or for worse? Can we say that the leadership of a colored President did not carry its racist undertones in the sentiments of the public? Did it stop white officers from detaining and shooting persons of color? And on what account.

The darker the skin tone, the more suspicious the person is. S/he automatically becomes the other. From Shakespeare’s Othello to Conrad’s racist presentation of Africa to the present times, the colored becomes the criminal. The colonial baggage we carry persists and will persist. African colonization succeeded because of a flawed Eurocentric Philosophy. Worldwide colonization at the helm of European powers dictated a sense of genetic inferiority in us, after centuries of wrongful exploitation. But, does it end here?

Barack and Michelle Obama became the new face of a new horizon for America.

In their famous attempt to understand why Americans vote as they do, Lazarsfeld, Berelson, and Gaudet concluded that “a person thinks, politically, as he is social. Social characteristics determine political preferences”. Thereby making clear the new trends 21st-century citizens show as hostility towards migrant and minority communities is increasing daily.

The 21st Century is in the Doldrums

If innocent people like Ahmaud Arbury, George Floyd are being killed daily, let us not forget the accounts of our nation. Let us not forget the riots, the attacks on the minority communities, and the systemic lack of privilege that they face even in the current times. Carrying draconian concepts or race, the class simply becomes a tool to normalize violence against already marginalized communities. Instead of improving the authorization that centuries worth of marginalization and lack of empathy have inflicted them, we chose to let such acts continue, under the charade of living in a sovereign state.

Are we regressing to a cocooned community? If we take a look at the global scenario, let us take a closer look at the shift towards more right-wing oriented leadership modules. A sense of ‘protection’ for our ‘own’ people become the immediate response.

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A recent data-study shows that “An analysis of police shootings between 2013 and 2019 across the U.S. shows that African-Americans were disproportionately targeted. African-Americans are three times more likely to be killed in police shootings than white people. Close to 42 per million population of African-Americans were killed in such shootings in the period. The highest among all races.”

Instead of becoming a global community, globalization has sprinted divisive politics further. Saving our people has somehow become the new chant of this day and age, and if not democracies at crisis who come to show this. Then what better example of the rise of such an alarming and threatening consequence?

The Reservoir for the Future

Is being racist, exclusionist, patriarchal, xenophobic the things that we leave for our future generation to pick up? Is this what the history we are a part of, comes to highlight? Are we regressing to the same crises that leaderships faced during the first four decades of the 20th century? Is community-based targeting becoming the new way to go to war for one’s protection?

What are we leaving for our future generation? What are we leaving for ourselves, if we get out of this global crisis that our deeds have constituted us into?  Will we make this world a better world for our children, or let them rely on the blazing allies, and the helpless cries of millions whose stories were left to be exploited by the pages of history?  Will we ever purge ourselves of the narrative that law enforcement is endemically racist?

Ray of Hope

Do all of us, claim ourselves responsible for whatever actions from this moment on, be foretaken into what constructs our world? If yes, then let us all start looking at life with a sensible approach. Let us not fall into community-based politics. Let us all support each other, understand each other, let our guards down and end this unproven superiority that has been installed in the so-called ‘privileged’ through decades and centuries of systemic benefits being reaped to them. Let us make sure there exists no other incident such as George Floyd.

it is high time we get out of our community shells and learn to integrate

I cannot even imagine the pain that George Floyd’s family is going through right now. The fear that his daughter faces looking at the bleak future of her community, brings tears in my eyes. The strength of the protestors all around the world will honor him, as they demand justice, and equality. We have failed George Floyd, as a society, as humans we all have failed George Floyd.

This article in no way tries to steal the light from the heinous act of racial violence that reeks as a storm over the world, in particular as highlighted in the States. Looking and sharing stories on Instagram, doesn’t become the only premise to showcase your anger, your views, or your opinions. To make real change, we need to change the preconceived notions (stereotypes) that people hold against certain communities. We need to sit for tough conversations. We need to reassess how we as individuals are.

Are we #woke in real life too?

Let us all observe a minute of silence and introspection for the innocent souls of the many who are shot. Who are victims of hierarchy based politics, who are victims of racism daily, and sympathize with them. The more we let ourselves be vulnerable to their cause. The more we can better ourselves and the others around us. If you have to brace yourself for difficult conversations with friends and family, do so. Stand on your point. Let them see a side of the story they were prevented from seeing. Let them grow and introspect. We all need to be in this together. It’s us for us.

Avnika Chhikara

Avnika is a humanist, and believes that life should ensure us to enjoy all the sunsets and iced-teas possible. On days when she doesn't write, she breaks free into a catastrophic dance to match up with her chutzpah, and on days otherwise she strategizes with the Malfoys'.

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