Black Lives Matter 2020: Another futile attempt against racism and police brutality?

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Image courtesy of Clay Banks on Unsplash

Five months have passed since the worldwide reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota and are you still seeing BLM content on your Twitter feed?

Unfortunately, not anymore.

The BLM movement which started seven years ago, finally got “its break” in May 2020 when millions of people around the world stepped out to protest against racism and police brutality, making it one of the largest movements in Black history. Now, the world has moved on; though, with systematically racist institutions still in place, justice is yet to be served.

The BBC reported that Derek Chauvin, George Floyd’s “alleged” killer was fired from the police force and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. This was no more than an attempt to appease the protesters, by giving them a false sense of victory. On the 7th of August, it was reported that Chauvin had then been released on conditional bail and the three other officers, charged with aiding and abetting the murder, have posted bail and are free until their trial in 2021.As for Breonna Taylor, the government didn’t even bother to act like they were trying to bring justice, as her killers went scot free.

Derek Chauvin was detained for a mere two months, while black people are given excessive sentences for trivial crimes, or murdered in cold blood for alleged offenses or for simply existing (Ahmaud Arbery was shot while jogging). Once again, it seems that a white killer is seen as less of a threat to the public than a man whose only crime was that he was born black.

The justice system is riddled with racism and white cops benefit from the privilege the system gives them. In Breonna Taylor’s case, the cops were not made to pay for their crimes after taking an innocent life. Sadly, there is hardly any mention of these issues on social media today, as it seems that the ‘woke’ trend has died down and has this in anyway benefitted the black population?

These black lives mattered, they were not just names but actual people with families and loved ones. No amount of compensation can bring them back- their loss is immeasurable.

Frankly, it should not take more than common sense to realise that unnecessarily stopping and searching black people on the road for ‘suspected crime’, having monuments in honour of slave traders and saying that racism ‘isn’t your problem’ is wrong. Hopefully, the BLM movement has woken a lot of people up about why racism is a big deal and why it should be addressed.

But now less people are listening. Black people continue to face racial prejudice in all aspects of life, especially in the workplace. It is bad enough that there are very few black people in high-earning positions, COVID-19 has proven to make things even worse for the black population. Although the pandemic has affected everyone to an extent, black people bear the brunt with spiking unemployment rates, greater health risks and less benefits.

Many companies spoke about their support for the BLM movement to prevent being cancelled by Twitter. However, almost none of the companies that pledged their support are actually fighting institutional racism. The few that are, are doing the bare minimum, which looks a bit like putting the only black employee you have in the front page and saying to assure the consumer, “our company is diverse”.

It irks me to think of how governments- the institution whose responsibility it is to protect its people- has always ignored the police brutality black people face. There are millions of cases where black people are unlawfully killed, detained or forced to confess to a crime they did not commit by police officers and the government does nothing about it.

Police brutality is not only prevalent in the US and the UK, but also spans across other countries like Nigeria. The Lekki Massacre that took place on the 20th of October in Lagos by the Nigerian Army. However, the Nigerian government is yet to take responsibility for their actions, despite #EndSARS protests from the African diaspora.

Although 2020 has been a disastrous year, it has definitely sparked the much-needed conversation about police brutality and racism worldwide and the effects of the lockdown may have finally allowed the world to listen. However, we cannot afford to let this conversation die down, neither can we allow injustice to reign by not taking appropriate action.

Even though we cannot erase the painful past black people have endured for centuries, it is our responsibility to ensure that the future generations of the black population are given racial equity. For some, the BLM movement may have ended when #BlackLivesMatter stopped trending. But for black people, the fight still goes on.

Here are some Netflix shows that are centred around racial injustice and police brutality: 13th, When They See Us, Dear White People, Who Killed Malcolm X, The Two Killings of Sam Cooke, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, Seven Seconds, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, American Son.

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