The Arts

June 8, 2020

George Floyd, Trump, and racism in USA

George Floyd
In a screenshot of Monday’s video, unarmed Black man George Floyd is seen pinned to the ground by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. PHOTO: Al Jazeera

By Osa Amadi

The United States of America has been in the throes of violence since May 25, 2020, when a handcuffed black African American, George Floyd, was strangled to death in the full glare of a video camera by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin.

In the gruesome video widely circulated on social media, the white police officer was seen kneeling on the neck of handcuffed George Floyd for almost 9 minutes while Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe. When the medic ambulance arrived and took Floyd, no pulse was found in him. He was later pronounced dead by officials. Floyd, who had criminal records, was accused of attempting to buy an item in a shop with a $20 counterfeit note.

Subsequently, Floyd’s murder sparked off days of anger leading to unprecedented mass protests across the USA by both whites and blacks. Expectedly, some criminal elements in the crowd of protesters took the opportunity to destroy and loot properties.

READ ALSO: GEORGE FLOYD: Apple boss Tim Cook pens open letter on racism

The death of 46-year-old Floyd in the hands of a white police officer once again brings to the front burner of American political, social and economic life, the festering issues of racism which has lingered for more than 400 years right from the first day in 1619 when the first white Americans carried the first black Africans into the American soil as slaves.

No doubt, the long, tortuous history of the white man’s inhumanity to blacks Africans is fittingly outrageous to a lot of decent white people, the rest who have continued in the tradition of their slave masters grandparents need to come to terms with a number of realities in the dynamics of neo-slavery and racism in the United States.

First, the white community must understand, in fact, should have understood by now, that blacks can no longer be uprooted or exterminated from American soil to which they were forcefully brought by an exploit, rape, and death, and can never accept even a single strand of inequality and slave status which many modern-day white slave masters still aspire to impose on blacks.

Times have changed. So too have young people, especially young black people, as has been proved by the boldness of the current protest rocking America. The social media and the smart cell phones in the hands of billions of people across the world are proving to be more potent than all the weapons in the war arsenals of the pentagon.

READ ALSO: Joe Biden meets black leaders over death of George Floyd

We must recall that the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 was largely brought about by TV images captured by Western media journalists who went over, under and around the Iron Curtain, breaking the Communists’ monopoly on information and popular culture. Today, a lot of atrocities which white racists had hidden from CNN’s cameras can no longer be concealed from the vigilant eyes of mobile phones and the social media where those HD videos are instantly broadcast to the largest global audience.

We condemn every act of violence, which though has its roots in slavery and neo-slavery in the USA by some white people. But America must not give blacks the opportunity to help it destroy America. Similarly, we condemn President Donald Trump’s infamous and unpresidential statement of “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Leaders must know when to speak and what not to say at times of crisis like this holding America by the jugular.