Floyd incident, the "unbreathing" pain caused by racial discrimination
Recently, African-American man George Floyd was choked to death by a police and this incident has caused significant public anger. "I can't breathe" "No Justice No Peace" "Black Life Matters" Signs were held from large-scale protests triggered by Freud's death. Along with peaceful protests, there are also riots, looting, and violent conflicts in dozens of major cities across the United States, including Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and etc.
Under pressure, the Minneapolis police department has fired the four involved police officers. Derek Chauvin, who put his knee on Floyd’s neck, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. On the other hand, at least 40 cities have imposed curfews to stabilize the situation. In addition, the National Guard has been deployed in Washington D.C. and 17 other states, and President Trump has even suggested bringing in the military but was later advised not to by the generals and his cabinet members.
Unfortunately, police brutality against black American is constant in this country. From the shooting of Michael Brown, who was an 18-year-old unarmed black man, to the killing of Eric Garner, who also said “I can’t breathe” 11 times; black people are always living under the threat of being falsely killed by the police. However, the white police can walk away without any repercussion most of the time. The death of George Floyd has again unfolded the ugliness of American racism; nevertheless, the structural problems are not likely to be fixed.
In addition to frequent police brutality, racism occurs in a much broader spectrum. Black people have very limited educational resources even with affirmative action- over 50% of black high school graduate cannot proceed further. Although companies are starting to take in black people, white Americans continue to dominate in higher positions. Blacks are twice likely to be uninsured than white counterpart, which is greatly shown in this pandemic – over 60% Covid-deaths were black. Even in 2020, 170 years after slavery was abolished, the rights of black Americans are still not as same as those of the white in the country that was found on the idea that “all men are created equal.”
Although the U.S. has always claimed to be the greatest country on earth, most its black citizens are still living on the bottom of the society, a great amount even under poverty line. The people have suffered from wealth gap, social injustices, education inequality and etc. These problems get covered when economy is good, however, the lower class (primarily black) will suffer when major crisis happens. Now, during a government failure of the pandemic, Floyd’s death became the spark of the public anger.
The protests show that the problem of racial discrimination in the United States has reached the point where immediate changes are needed. However, it is sad that American politicians have not assumed their due responsibilities, not only just turning a blind eye to the problem of serious racial issue, but also not making any efforts in solving the actual problem. On the contrary, they also regard it as a bargaining chip for political games and use rhetoric to hostility instigated emotions. They are trying to divide Americans, turning them one against another, in order to maintain their existing status and enjoy their vested interests.
The riot in the United States today may temporarily remind some politicians that they need to pay attention to the rights and interests of minorities, but it cannot bring real change to American politics. In the contrast, it will only help politicians become better at finding skate goat and ability to attack one another. We see that under the capitalist lead democracy, it is difficult for minorities to really live the lives of what Martin Luther King dreamed of. If the stubborn disease will not be completely cured, I am afraid that "I can’t breathe" will never be the last.