The year 2020 has brought forward a series of events that have caused tremendous unrest in our lives.
People of the world have been battling against coronavirus. On one hand, there’s been a global pandemic that has impacted the entire world.
But then there’s a subset of individuals within this group that have had it even worse.
Just within the past few weeks, African Americans have been thrust unwillingly into the spotlight. And for us, #BlackLivesMatter.
Take the Amy Cooper incident, for example. When simply being asked to leash her dog in a park that does not allow dogs to be taken off a leash, the woman refused to oblige, turning it into a concern about race. As her accuser was filming her noncompliance, she used the words “I will call 911 and tell them an African American male is attacking me and my dog.” She knew those words were a threat to the man even though the police are meant to protect and safeguard.
But within hours, the world was able to see that another injustice deserved our even greater attention: the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year black male who was fully restrained and handcuffed, at the hands of a white policeman who, for a period of nearly nine minutes, left 200 lbs of his own weight to the man’s neck, restricting his airway and preventing him from breathing. Watch the video that has circulated to highlight this tremendous injustice and you’ll watch a man die.
While these two most recent events occurred in the United States, no nation is free of violence, oppression, and brutal repression of minorities by those in power. Everywhere we turn, we see racial injustice: when it comes to digital rights to communities of color by using surveillance to criminalize them. When it comes to far right groups exploiting the internet to spread prejudice, stereotypes, divisive ideas, racial hate and mistrust. When it comes to comments on social media. When it comes to hiring practices. When it comes to healthcare. And the list goes on and on.
These injustices committed against groups of people lend themselves to stereotypes that catapult gross miscategorizations and are rooted in racist beliefs and behaviors. We must examine the racism we perpetuate ourselves, perhaps even unconsciously, and find ways to be vocal about, learn about, and support local movements—to learn about our coworkers, neighbors, and friends. To truly understand. Recognize the meaning behind these protests. There’s a lesson to be learned about how the oppressed feel. Empathy has no limit!
“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” said Thomas Jefferson. The intense emotions surrounding these events have caused destruction in the cities due to riots and protests that started in Minneapolis in Floyd’s home state, spreading across the country. Tensions from the pandemic are already high enough. And the actions of late are unjustifiable just as the killing was. But the point we are trying to make here is that these events, though unfortunate, should not overshadow the injustices that led to this point, and for most, the real message of the protests itself.
Which is why we are compelled to and feel that it is our duty to amplify their voices through our platform on this issue because silence is a complicity. #BlackLivesMatter