The recent incident involving the Police in Minneapolis brutally suffocating and killing an innocent African American man by the name of George Floyd has resulted in a historic worldwide movement against institutional racism.
As per Wikipedia,” Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.”
Let’s try to decode some aspects of institutional racism.
The Institutional Racist Mentality
Slavery was legally abolished in the US by the 13th Amendment in December 1865. So why did racism not end with this?
The problem was not just the lack of legal and fundamental human rights for the dark-skinned people, but the attitude of the people in power and of the common man.
A huge majority of surveyed white-skinned Americans felt uncomfortable talking about racial discrimination or give their opinion about Black Lives Matter since they find the topic to be ‘political’ and ‘controversial’. Let’s start criticizing this behavior because talks of equality between two races, genders, sexual orientations, and cultures should NEVER be an uncomfortable subject for anyone. By withholding your opinion about something so basic and unquestionable, you are encouraging stagnation and lingering of institutional racism.
By not talking about equality, you deny the victims empathy.
No religion on this planet skips out the part about having empathy for your fellow humans. Kindness is the religion we need to make this planet habitable for all. It is statistically proven that Black people are several times more likely to be wrongly accused of a crime than their White counterparts. Here is an African American FBI agent who was racially profiled and handcuffed by the US Police.
The problem is not just seen in the context of police brutality, but also seen in areas like job opportunities, per capita income, the legal system, healthcare, and politics. Think about it, black people were not given equal rights which led to no income accumulation and wealth-building by their ancestors. The White privilege begins with being born white in a house with all basic and in many cases, luxurious amenities.
The response to this by the Right Wing activists is, “It’s not our fault for being born white, or the classic All Lives Matter”. The problem with All Lives Matter is that it DECREDITS the attention and momentum essential and required for the Black Lives Matter Movement. It is a vice of humans to not want to give up privilege and it is clearly seen when Black people cry slogans of “Stop Killing Us” and they face arguments and debates instead of “Yes, you’re right, we’ll help you get equality using our White privilege”.
The very quality of the greedy few of caring about an issue only if it bothers them directly or in some other way is utterly disgusting.
These protests are bringing the US and many other countries who have also joined the US close to achieving social justice by demanding legal reforms to change the current state of affairs. The policeman responsible for the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd has been charged with homicide. The link to the video showing the gruesome incident of the murder of George Floyd, (Caution, the video contains triggering content).
Casteism in India
When we keep all of this in mind and look at the Indian scenario, the Dalits, Muslims, and minorities have also faced unimaginable levels of discrimination, right from stigmatizing them and restricting them from entering temples to sodomizing, mutilating, or even killing them.
It is important to protest for the right causes, and it is wrong to shame an Indian who supports #BlackLivesMatter just because he did not protest for the similar atrocities faced by his fellow Indians. Having said that, possessing knowledge of the inequalities in one’s own country should always be a priority over what’s happening in foreign countries because their people are fighting for their own country, but who is fighting for your country? That’s a question we need to ask ourselves to have a proper perspective.
How can you make a difference? VOTE. And vote for the right candidates.
Don’t vote your religion, your community, your caste, or even your gender. Vote someone who will take care of everyone equally, not just your community or religion.
We need to use our privilege to help minorities. We’re all humans after all and no human should feel superior to the other because of his religion, caste, gender, or a hundred other factors.
What are your views on institutional racism? Have you ever felt uncomfortable voicing your opinions on equality? Let it all out in the comments down below.