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May 31, 2020

US protests

Editorial

 
May 31, 2020

That racism has been prevalent in American society is an established fact for centuries. But the US has also made efforts to eliminate – or at least reduce racism – especially during the past half century or so since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Despite all efforts, during the past two decades of the 21st century, there have been countless racist attacks on blacks and other minority groups. The latest murder of 46-year-old unarmed African-American man George Floyd, by white policemen, is a pathetic reminder that racism is still raging in America. This racism becomes even more condemnable and deplorable when it takes up an institutional shape. The video clip in which the victim is seen forced down on the road with his neck under the knee of a policeman, is a smoking-gun proof that cannot be refuted.

Following the murder of George Floyd, protests erupted across the US in dozens of states from California, Colorado, Georgia and Illinois to Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, and Louisiana. But the main centre of protests is Minneapolis in Minnesota where the murder took place. Buildings have been torched and vehicles burned. This has prompted President Donald Trump to jump in with his usual ill-conceived tweets, with one that actually read as: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” This episode of police brutality against African-Americans is the latest in a long list of such incidents that have taken place lately. It is also a stark reminder that unless security personnel are trained properly to respect people, especially when they are unarmed and belong to minority groups, the trend of police brutality is not likely to end. For any society to flourish and claim to be a civilized and law-based society, this check on law-enforcement agencies is a must. There should be no pardon and lenient response to such discriminatory treatment – be it racial or religiously motivated, or just highhandedness resulting in a disproportionate use of force. Even in developing countries – including India and Pakistan – we have seen numerous times that uniformed aggressors are excused and even pardoned without any punishment. This should not be acceptable, be it in America, India, or Pakistan.