As a human being, it is difficult to see how George Floyd (a Black American man, a victim of racism) was killed by a white officer in Minneapolis, USA.
This opinion is simply based on Being Human. I acknowledge that racism exists in America. As a black Canadian, racism exists here in Canada too. If you ask people of color or other minorities, they will tell you tonnes of examples of racist incidents they have experienced. Racism comes in many forms, including verbal and nonverbal actions; some are obvious; others are subtle. Racism occurs when there is unfair treatment of a person or persons based on their skin color. Racism mostly comes in the form of micro-aggressions, such as assumptions of criminality, suspicion, and lack of intelligence of the victim, all of which I suspect happened in George Floyd’s event.
Now what? We have made progress in admitting that racism exists against black people in this world. Still, color-blind approaches are not working anymore. Pain experienced among black people is enormous historically and continues to suffer. This is a human rights issue. It is a pandemic too. If racism is not addressed in more powerful ways, it will continue to kill people. Living free of racism is a social determinant of health needed to be achieved in our society today.
Solutions: The current systems are not working for black people today. Structural racism needs to be addressed. Let’s not just arrest culprits of racism, but we should focus on changing the whole system. Individualistic approaches are not working anymore. To start with, I believe we must increase the representation of racial minorities in leadership positions in all sectors, especially in the public sector. For example, in Canada, the Employment Equity Program is not working, and thus it should be examined for its effectiveness to whether it is yielding its intended goals.
Additionally, we must change how police patrol and arrest people. Body cameras must be implemented by all police and turned on every time an arrest is done and should be stored as a public property. In case complaints are made on how the person was arrested, body camera videos should be examined. No person should be treated as above the law.
Tobias Mwandala, MSW, RSW
Tobias believes that every human being has worth, value, and dignity. No person has more or less value than another. Tobias' personal and educational experiences in social work and psychology have strengthened his values in diversity and equality for all.