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June 7, 2020

Anger in the US

Editorial

 
June 7, 2020

While African-Americans may, after a long and sometimes violent campaign, have received the right to vote in 1965 and segregation ended in 1964, their battle against racism, injustice and brutality continues even today. The death of George Floyd has highlighted this. Tributes for Floyd, who was buried on Friday, were held across America as he was buried amidst huge crowds who gathered to both mourn and to honour. His death and the speeches made on the day of his funeral also brought forward the case of Breonna Taylor, the emergency room nurse who was shot dead in her apartment in March this year after police burst in using a warrant granted in a narcotics case and David McAtee, the owner of a popular barbecue in Louisville as well as many other black people killed before them as a consequence of unbridled police brutality.

If America is ever to call itself a democracy, or a place where people who are not white can live with dignity, such killings and the blatant racism which backs them on the part of law enforcers must end. Sadly, President Donald Trump has done little to help in this, calling members of the Black Lives Matter movement ‘thugs’ and suggesting the thousands who protested the killing of Floyd were lawless hooligans. Trump has been accused of dividing America rather than helping heal it as protests broke out across cities in dozens of states. Former staff members who have worked under Trump have criticized his actions. A Twitter post by him was removed, apparently after a claim copyright violation. Previous posts by Trump have been removed on the same grounds and the action by Twitter has angered his coterie of followers with his son demanding his tweet be made viral over Facebook and other forums.

We do not know how events will unfold over the coming days. For the first time in years, a president of the United States has had to take shelter in his bunker due to protests in Washington DC. It is clear however that the America of today is a nation badly divided along lines of race and other issues. The anger of black people in America will not disperse quickly. Whether it will disperse at all depends on what the future holds for the US and whether leaders can act to bring together a nation which still struggles to overcome its past of slavery, bigotry, racism and segregation.