Human beings are social animals. There is no denying the fact that all of us depend on the society for our continued existence. However, the fact that most people tend to find various ways to feed their egos by oppressing others is also undeniable.
Recently, the unfortunate death of George Floyd, an African-American man, after being harassed and brutally manhandled by three white police officers, has been widely discussed and criticised across the globe.
But, when we think about the social evil of white supremacy prevalent in most European countries, we often tend to forget that such unjust oppression of a segment of the society is neither isolated by region nor by time.
This superiority complex comes in many ways, shapes and forms. Just like the idea of white supremacy stems from a person’s race, the social suppression in other parts of the world, for instance, stems from one’s caste, religion, gender, income, etc.; and, these are merely few of many such examples.
Another — more classic — example is that of male supremacy. Even though the world has come a long way in terms of accepting the notion of gender equality, there is no denying the fact that the females residing in many regions of the world are still striving for equal rights, but to no avail.
It is truly shameful that even after coming so far on the track of time and having developed our society and civilisation to our current level, we are still stuck in the childish squabbles of ‘I am better than you, bow before me!’
The ‘Superficial Show’ of Progressiveness goes down the drain:
Social activists, like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, have been raising their voices in support of racial equality for a long time now.
When Barak Obama became the first African-American President of the United States of America, the people rejoiced in the hopes that the American society was finally stepping foot into a post-racial era.
The suppressed and suffocated African-American population of the USA finally felt a sense of belonging and their children felt that they could express themselves freely.
Even though things seemed to be getting better on the surface as the world entered the 21st Century, the truth was still far from it.
When we move away from political discourse, it becomes quite evident that the African-Americans still face oppression in the US and there still are very limited options available for them in different walks of life.
Today, nobody can say with conviction that the years, in which Obama served as the US President, did much good for the conditions of the African-Americans within the country, let alone other racial, religious and other such minorities.
Dynamics of Racial Oppression from the African-American Viewpoint:
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, most of the African-American citizens of the United States of America lived in a constant state of poverty, whereas, most of their white counterparts were much more well-off. Some refer to this scenario as ‘perverse equality’.
During this period, the more financially-stable African-Americans faced less oppression and harassment in comparison to the poorer ones.
Today, the situation of the African-Americans has improved by quite a bit. About a third of their population falls under the middle-class category, which, as compared with about half of the white population, is a major improvement.
However, in contrast with the poor African-Americans reporting a higher frequency of oppressive incidents — concerning income, education, victimization by violence, lack of decent occupational opportunities and chances of political representation, etc. — the present-day, middle-class African-Americans suffer more injustices.
The greater mistrust of affluent African-Americans in the white society is confirmed by recent evidence. More college-educated African-Americans, as compared to high-school-dropouts, believe that the government is deliberately plotting against them.
Some of their suspicions include uncalled-for investigations launched against elected African-American officials to harm their credibility, easier access to drugs facilitated in African-American neighbourhoods to influence and misguide their children, etc.
A Washington Post survey conducted in 1995 stated that 84% of the middle-class African-Americans — as compared to the 66% working-class and poor African-Americans — believed that ‘discrimination is a major factor behind the economic and social backwardness of the African-Americans living in the USA.
The George Floyd Incident:
The recent incident of racial supremacy, which ended up in the death of an African-American, named George Floyd, due to police brutality, has taken the United States of America by storm.
It has raised a lot of questions regarding morality and equality that are currently being discussed across the globe.
Mr Floyd was taken into arrest on the charges of using an alleged, phoney $20 bill by three white police officers in Minnesota on May 25, 2020.
During his arrest, he was pinned to the ground by one of the officers, who pressed his knee onto the man’s neck for over 9 minutes.
The whole incident was recorded on video and George Floyd could be seen repetitively crying out, “I can’t breathe!”
The three officers ignored his pleas and, as mentioned in the autopsy report, this obstruction to the windpipe caused George Floyd’s death through mechanical asphyxia.
The Repercussions of the George Floyd Incident:
The three police officers involved in the incident were fired soon after Floyd’s death. However, a lot of questions still stand.
With which mindset were these officers trying to arrest Floyd? Why were Floyd’s pleas ignored? Is merely punishing the three officers enough? How long do the African-American US citizens have to face such oppression and racial violence?
The brutal and unjust actions of the officers involved in the incident are being severely criticized across the globe; and, the people — which were, a few days ago, afraid to leave their houses in broad daylight due to the COVID-19 crisis — are willing to storm the city streets day and night en masse.
Though most protests have been peaceful, many incidences of vandalism, arson and felony have also been recorded.
Protesters have been stalking the streets near the White House for a few days now and some were even shot dead for trying to trespass on the White House premises.
The incidences of violence occurring during the protests have become so common by now that US President Donald Trump has become desperate enough to threaten the protesters with militarised retaliation.
The way the three officers manhandled George Floyd is unacceptable from both a legal as well as a moral perspective.
Firstly, no reason or excuse is enough to justify such brutal treatment meted out to a single, unarmed civilian by multiple police officers.
Even if George Floyd had survived, the conduct of the officers would still not be acceptable by any standards.
However, the more pressing question here is how protesting and vandalising is going to do anyone any good.
Merely blaming the US government or a specific racial faction is not enough to rectify the underlying issue that has been brought to light by the George Floyd Homicide.
This issue is that of public mentality. Is it the fault of merely those three brutal men in blue? Or, are all of us, as a society, to be blamed for the injustices meted out to the minorities living among us.
No improvements can be made unless every single one of us is willing to change our mindsets. This is not only the case for the European advocates of white supremacy, but also the rest of the world.