Amidst the global pandemic of coronavirus, the world is hard hit by the reality of racism. The killing of an African American man in Minneapolis, bya police officer opened up the Pandora’s Box against police brutality and racial inequality all around the globe. While the virus doesn’t see any gender, caste, creed, race, or religion, racism does. Racism is the belief that there are human groups with particular (usually physical) characteristics that make them superior or inferior to others. Racist behaviour can be not just overt, such as treating some people according to their race or colour, but also covert, when society systematically treats groups according to some form of discriminating judgement.
The fight against racism is not new and is deeply embedded in the history of many nations which were marred by mass shootings, race riots, and clashes between the police and the citizens. There have been major waves of nationwide uprisings in the20th century which shed light on how the fight for racial equality has grown, how it’s changed, and what has stayed the same. And now in the 21st century when the world is moving at a faster pace in all facets of life, one socio-cultural aspect lags behind. The systemic racism that is deeply embedded in the institutions which are present there to protect are often the epicentre of such discrimination. The United States of America (U.S.A.) has been dealing with protests since the earlier 20th century and it is the police forces (and sometimes military) that have been used to curb dissent against the killings of African-Americans. The recent Black Lives Matter protests still have the roots in the long history of police brutality and violence against the African Americans which is responsible for taking hundreds of lives per year. The only visible difference is the interracial presence of people in the protests, who do not have much in common with the American history.
In recent times, there has been a substantial amount of growth in the Europeans of colour who have either descended or have migrated through a war-torn country. However, when it comes to Anti-black racism, Europe had practised it in the most outrageous form such as colonialism and slavery outside its borders whereas America had incorporated within itself. One of the central distinctions between the racial histories of Europe and the US is that, until relatively recently, the European repression and resistance took place primarily abroad for which they have relinquished the responsibility in an unceremonious manner. A typical historical story would not acknowledge the impact of these policies and laws today, specifically in how communities of colour fare in basic areas such as education, housing, etc. Knowing our history is a critical component for understanding racial inequities and structural racism.
Currently, racism in Europe has implications on the employment, poverty levels and the level of incarceration and is not only unique to the US. Surprisingly, racial disparities can be seen in the mortality rate of COVID-19. This is the significant reason as to why the Black Lives Matter find an existence in European cities.
It will be an event to see how the current protests across the globe would be able to resolve the issues related to racial inequality and injustice. This time it could be different as when many races march together rather than face off, the arc of history may be bending toward justice again.
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More than meets the eye, Let’s Fight Racism https://www.un.org/en/letsfightracism/issues.shtml
Racial Equity tools, Overview and Timeline https://www.racialequitytools.org/fundamentals/history-of-racism-and-movements/overview-and-timeline1