OPINION: The lasting solutions to racism in America and Elsewhere

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Painting of George Floyd whose death sparked global protests against racism; Courtesy Photo

By Fred Daka Kamwada

The horrifying death of George Floyd has left the world wondering whether racism and racist tendencies will ever come to an end in the more developed global village.

The style with which the white policeman, Derek Chauvin, killed Floyd by simply placing his knee on Floyd’s neck was also another killing technique for the commandos to ponder about. That knee-on-the-neck killing style has never been applied anywhere, not even in the most imaginative movies.

Looking at the video clip of the arrest, you see a policeman completely oblivious of the harm he was inflicting on his victim. His face is without emotion. I mean he doesn’t show that he was carrying out something brutal.

Normally, when someone is undertaking a malicious act, it is normally reflected by the looks on the face. The killer normally has to clench his teeth and add some emphasis with a very malicious look. This was certainly not the case.

This means that the perhaps, you will excuse me for expressing this, but I got the feeling that the Derek chauvin never knew the gravity of his actions. He never seemed to know that he was actually killing George Floyd.

If subjected to a court process, I doubt whether Derek Chauvin will be sentenced directly for the death of George Floyd because it was certainly not premeditated at all. He will rather be convicted for causing death, which doesn’t carry a death sentence.

The only problem is that the case has taken a political direction between the rights of the blacks versus whites, which is really unfortunate.

THE CONSEQUENCES

However, moving forward, the outcome has been very welcome. This time, the mass protests have certainly put a mark and given meaning to the black lives matter campaign. The protests have been unanimous in the way they have united the whole world against racism. The unanimous beauty of it all is that the whites are the majority in condemning the death of George Floyd.

This simply means that racism as an act is now unacceptable in the circles of the civilized world. We shouldn’t be having more debates about that.

THE 60S

At least we are not at the same level of the 1960’s when racism was institutionalized. In South Africa for instance, racism was manifested through the apartheid system which lasted for very many years. At that time the world was divided between those who justified the racism and those who opposed it.

Unfortunately, the world powers like America and Britain were the biggest supporters of the racism. That explains why South Africa had to even legalize apartheid as a system where the whites lived in a different setting from the blacks. The blacks couldn’t share a bus seat, toilet, or a table in the hotel with the whites.

The likes of martin Luther king and Malcolm x, struggled to draw attention of the world to the racial injustice to no avail. Blacks continued to suffer at the hands of the white supremacists.

When you read Malcolm X’s biography, he talks about the hate that the White man imposed on the blacks. He also said that the hate that the white man had inflicted on the black man was going to boomerang and beget more hate from the black race.

In 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated, Malcolm x made a hate statement when he said that “the chickens had come home to roost” -literally saying that the violence that Kennedy had failed to stop had come back to him, resulted in his own death.

Elijah Mohammed the then leader of the nation of Islam foundation, to which Malcolm x belonged swore to kill him for advancing a hate campaign. And indeed he later fulfilled his wish. Malcolm was killed for trying to push the hate agenda beyond the limits. He thought the black race needed to advance a radical hate agenda against the whites, but his message never seemed to percolate even within the Negro community.

Nevertheless, the struggle for racial equality has been going on with some slight success. The end of apartheid thirty years ago in South Africa was the first victory against racism. But in the western world, especially America, the white policemen have continued to kill blacks.

At times the issue has been blown out of proportion while at other times it has been a case of mere misunderstanding about the circumstances under which the death has occurred. At other times the policemen finding themselves in a dilemma of dealing with young black Americans who are hardcore criminals.

You find that even when the police kill a criminal, the story will change (into a race issue) as long as the said criminal is black and the police officer is white

THE WAY FORWARD

Why should the white policeman bother to arrest a black man/ woman? The solution is to simply assign black police officers to handle the blacks. For instance the police vehicle should have both white and black officers to cater for specific race cases where a black policeman is assigned to arrest a fellow black man to avoid turning honest police work into a racist issue.

This would help eliminate incidences and sentiments arising out of racial differences which are at times misinterpreted. A good example of a similar application is in the Uganda Police enforcement Protocol where female officers are assigned to arrest female suspects.

The American police should use the same strategy used to avoid gender confrontations between men and women where a police woman is the one assigned to arrest a fellow woman.

It will be interesting to see how the world will react when a black police officer kills a fellow black man. We shall debate the issue on its own merits rather than rush to make it look like a racial issue.

The second option is to legislate more laws which make racism a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment. While there are certain legislation to that effect like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there is need for specific legislation against racist actions of police officers on duty.

These two options are far better than resorting to endless protests and condemnations without advancing a lasting solution. That policy is definitely set to end the racial confrontations which we have witnessed for very many years.

The Author, Fred Daka Kamwada is a political journalist, and a blogger

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