The event that was the crescendo for the current civil unrest in the United States is by many considered to be the murder of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. The American public, particularly the black minority, still hasn’t fully come to terms with previous racially motivated murders of Ahmaud Arbury and Breonna Taylor when this event occurred on May 25. Although catalysts, it is systemic racism that led to these events.
To remind you, Arbury was gunned down while jogging through a predominantly white neighborhood and Taylor was murdered while asleep in her home by police executing a “no-knock” warrant and storming her house in an alleged drug operation. Both events happened in March of this year.
Systemic racism has been an issue for America since its inception and although African-Americans are now in a better position than they have ever been, they are still far from equal. This is the reason why the Black Lives Matter movement was found.
The unjust killing of George Floyd is another example of racism in America. Many drew parallels with the famous cases of Emmett Till and Rodney King. However, the outrage sparked by this murder is unlike anything America has ever seen.
Although in the first few protests there were reports of rioting and looting, it appears the BLM has united. On Saturday, New York protests were entirely peaceful despite several allegations by demonstrators. They were complaining about police instigators.
There are more than a few instances of police getting caught inciting violence in peaceful protests. There have even been reports of undercover policemen infiltrating the demonstrations and trying to incite illegal activity.
Grievances Fall On Deaf Ears
Several top Trump administration officials insisted on Sunday that systemic racism is not an issue in US law enforcement agencies.
“I think there’s racism in the United States still but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist. I understand the distrust, however, of the African American community given the history in this country,” Attorney General William Barr said in an interview with CBS.
Barr added that he thinks since the 1960s, “we’ve been in a phase of reforming our institutions and making sure that they are in sync with our laws and aren’t fighting a rearguard action to impose inequities.”
Barr’s colleague, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, similarly dismissed the idea that racism is a problem in law enforcement, arguing instead that “some” officers “abuse their jobs.”
“Painting law enforcement with a broad brush of systemic racism is really a disservice to the men and women who put on the badge, the uniform every day, risk their lives every day to protect the American people,” Wolf told ABC.
When Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was asked if he thinks systemic racism is an issue in US law enforcement, Carson, who is African American, demurred, saying he grew up in a time when there was “real systemic racism.”
“We have policemen who are rogue — the vast majority of policemen are wonderful,” he said.
National security adviser Robert O’Brien on Sunday denied in an interview on CNN that systemic racism exists in America’s police, offering an argument that “a few bad apples” give the impression of systemic racism in the police.
“No, I don’t think there’s systemic racism. I think 99.9% of our law enforcement officers are great Americans. Many of them are African American, Hispanic, Asian, they’re working the toughest neighborhood, they’ve got the hardest jobs to do in this country and I think they’re amazing, great Americans,” O’Brien told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked if systemic racism was a problem for police agencies.
O’Brien added that there are “some bad apples in there. There are some bad cops who are racist [and] there are cops that maybe don’t have the right training.”
“There is no doubt that there are some racist police, I think they’re the minority, I think they’re the few bad apples and we need to root them out,” he said.
African Americans Are “Done Dying” As A Consequence Of Systemic Racism
NAACP President Derrick Johnson says African Americans are “done dying” from the effects of systemic racism in everything from policing to health care.
“You know, this is about Mr. Floyd’s case, but it’s much bigger than that. It is about the state of relationships between the African American community and law enforcement in this country,” Johnson told CBSN anchors Vladimir Duthiers and Anne-Marie Green.
He also emphasized, “This is a national problem that will require a federal response.”
“For African Americans, we have known this to be a problem for many, many years. What we’re seeing now is the cellphone cameras are actually capturing what people have talked about for generations,” Johnson said.
“It is not enough that you obey law officers, it’s not just enough that you comply with any commands and you are not resisting arrest.”