The homicide of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breona Taylor, Eric Garner, and many other Black people provoke the people of African descent to condemn the prejudiced racism in the United States and other parts of the globe. This matter of concern has also reawakened calls for scholars, activists, and policymakers to sort effective ways to tackle racial injustice in all spheres, from the court to the school. There has also been an emerging awakening of Black consciousness. The works of Martin Luther King, Ida B. Wells, Nelson Mandela, James Baldwin, and others are making rounds on social media.
Performative ally-ship is rife and rings hollow. Thus, it needs more authentic, robust, and action-oriented support to dismantle institutional, systemic, and structural racism. Discrimination of any kind can lead to trauma and stress, and social determinants like poverty that impacts overall health and mental wellbeing. Protective factors such as supportive family, social connections, and economic security can mitigate these risks, but the impact of trauma and toxic stress often persists. America, one of the world’s freest nations, guarantees infrangible rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, except for when you are Black.
“Racism must be opposed by all means that humanity has at its disposal.”
~ Nelson Mandela
African Americans had to fight through blood and sacrifice for freedom and fundamental human rights. When black people share their thoughts about racism with white people, they become more defensive, deny racism, blame the black people, and resist structural change designed to dismantle racism. Afro-Americans experience health and economic inequities for decades because of systemic racism and discrimination.
The COVID-19 pandemic magnifies the vulnerabilities among blacks further. Their lives damage collaterally in service to an economy that disadvantages them. Only a few had jobs that allowed them to work from home. Images of violent police clashes can be easily mistaken as riots in any state. Remembering so many names, layer on the poorly managed pandemic, and record unemployment, George Floyd is the last straw. Through the years, White Americans still prosper that the American Dream has eluded Blacks.
Many people belonging to different races and backgrounds are feeling angry, emotional, and upset about what happened to George Floyd. The provoking brutality and violent act threw up by his murder are among the issues of systemic racism. I have never known one act of chauvinism to trigger such a dreadful and outrageous reaction. Many people want to talk about it. It is not that African Americans did not get a fair start. They did not get a start at all. It is challenging to get a good position in other parts of life when continually struggling for survival needs. Racism can be so destructive and hurtful that it can disturb many people’s mental health and livelihood. Racism, xenophobia, and intolerance are problems prevalent in all societies. But we can stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes. All it needs to be a human rights champion.