Did you know that since the 15th Century it was thought that black people could contend to pain better than white people? Or that doctors in 2016 thought that black women didn't need pain relievers during childbirth due to this? or that a black woman's genitals were torn apart by doctors during genital examinations because they thought black people could ‘handle it’. it wasn’t until 2017 in the US that people finally realised that this was not the case. This is one of many injustices black people faced and still face. This is known as systemic racism.
Systemic Racism. ‘Systems and structures that have procedures and processes to disadvantage PoC’. Glen Harris said systemic racism creates disparities in many "success indicators" including wealth, the criminal justice system, employment, housing, health care, politics and education. You may not have heard of nor known what systemic racism is until late May, because it has not been brought up to an extent which grabs everyone’s attention. This particular topic has been overlooked by many, simply because it does not affect them. But that does not mean systemic racism does not exist. In fact, systemic racism is alive and well.
Did you know that in 2010 Black Americans made up 13% of the population but had only 2.7% of the country's wealth? Or that the average net worth for a white family was $134,000, but the average net worth for a Black family was $11,000? Or maybe that the average wealth for a single white woman has been measured at $41,000, while for Black women, $120? The earning gap has nothing to do with the efficiency of their work but with the stereotypes created. The earning gap differs solely on what humans cannot control. Earning a lesser income means you cannot have the ‘luxuries’ that higher income people receive.
Decades after the Civil War, many Government agencies started to draw maps dividing cities into sections that were considered desirable or undesirable for investment. This practice is known as redlining. It usually blocked off entire black neighbourhoods from access to private and public investment.
Banks and insurance companies used these maps for decades to deny black people loans and other services because of their race. This resulted in a poorer lower education, and an inaccessible higher education which meant that they would not have built any wealth as they did not go to college. this then passes on to their children and now they experience this but to a smaller extent. A 2017 study confirms that redlining is still affecting home values in major cities such as Chicago today. Most black neighbourhoods are patrolled by white police men, and these officers often abuse the power given to them. This is called Police Brutality.
A high school degree, 16 weeks (at most) at police academy and a licensing exam. This is all it takes to become a police officer in Minneapolis. This is all it takes to have a licensed weapon. This is all it takes to murder someone and label it as ‘self defense’ or suspicious activity. Police brutality is the unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by U.S. police officers. Police brutality has affected many black people and their families. Let’s look at one case that you all should be familiar with. George Floyd died at 46 after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis. Footage of the arrest on 25 May shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on his neck while he was pinned to the concrete floor.
Transcripts of police body cam and witness footage shows that George cried for help after saying he could not breathe more than 20 times. imagine being there, watching what happened, unable to do anything. imagine being there and wondering if you might be next. imagine being there, watching, as your friend suffers mercilessly, in the hands of those meant to protect. What if you were in his position? powerless, vulnerable, humiliated. what would you do if you knew it was your final moments on earth because of a $20 bill? would you scream? Would you cry for your mother? Would you say anything or do anything for a chance to live? Would you pray for a miracle to happen, for the plausibility to see your family one more time? this is what George Floyd went through, this is what he felt, this was his thought process as we watched his murder happen.
We are not sitting idly by, we want change, we want to end systemic racism and we want equity. This links into the BLM movement as we want to fight for them, and for those unable to fight. There is a common misconception with saying BLM, as people think we are saying ‘only BLM’ but actually, the message we are trying to send is ‘BLM too’. Of course all lives matter, which is why we are protesting, why we are marching, why we want to educate and expose the system. We are living through history, wouldn’t it be sad if you told your children that you did nothing to help fight for others rights. Join BLM and the fight against systemic racism. And remember, if you’re tired of hearing about racism, imagine how tired people are of experiencing it.