Stephen Lawrence, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd: these are just but a few names of the many that have had their lives cut short due to the colour of their skin.
For many centuries now, some powerful white people have viewed different races not as their equal but as inferior, considering their own race superior. It seems as though white supremacy is an ideology that is as dangerous now as it was centuries ago.
In 1955, a 14-year-old African American boy named Emmett Louis Till was lynched in Mississippi, after being accused of offending a woman in her family’s grocery store. This is just one example of thousands of heart-breaking stories of black men and women around the world who have had their lives cut short all because of the colour of their skin. It seems that 65 years later, black people are still being judged to a different standard and, in the worst cases, it’s still costing black people their lives. As the years develop you’d imagine so would people’s knowledge, understanding and acceptance, but many are still ignorant.
How, in this day and age, are we still hearing stories of innocent people being killed because of their skin colour? And why are black people treated so differently to white people, particularly in America? A recent official report by the US National Institute of Health found that, regarding deaths due to use of lethal force by the police, there was a fatality rate 2.8 times higher among blacks than whites.
But problems are not limited to the United States. The majority of police officers in Britain do a sound job of protecting the general public, yet there is still evidence of discrimination as a result of racial stereotyping which was revealed this week when statistics released by the Metropolitan Police indicated that black people were nine times more likely to face stop and search than white people. We are a nation of people that are supposed to work together and build one nation, one world, one people, regardless of race, yet some still choose to be hateful.
Due to the history of slavery and the barbaric way black people were treated, the belief that black people are inferior to white people has been cemented into the system. However, if the slave trade had never existed and everyone had just accepted one another as equal, would we have racial discrimination in this day and age?
2020 has brought about the emergence of the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement on a mainstream level after the tragic murder of George Floyd. As refreshing as this movement is, why has it taken this long for this issue to receive this much attention and finally be spoken about? Disappointingly, as time goes on, the discussion focused on this issue is dying out. The BLM should not merely be a trend to jump on, but a movement pushing for real reform. Many expressed how tired they were of hearing about BLM but others replied on social media by quipping that if you’re already tired of hearing about racism, imagine how tired some people are of experiencing it.
Although the situation has resulted in some incidents of conflict in America, there are a few positives that have emerged following the death of George Floyd: there have been many protests all around the world, with people of all different races coming together to express their anger towards racism and to say that enough is enough. A few BLM protests actually took place in Leeds. Millions signed petitions and over £90 million was raised to help the movement. There were television programmes and documentaries aired about the matter hoping to educate people. Many big companies, such as Sainsbury’s, showed their support of the movement and used their platform to speak out. Celebrities also spoke out as they used social media to share materials to help and educate. It was truly remarkable how many came together to recognise the problem of inequality after the death of George Floyd, so let’s keep the conversation going to ensure there is real progress over the next few years.
This article was written by Lower Sixth student Angel Iman for the Student Newspaper