Amidst the raging Corona pandemic, another widespread form of a virus known as racism has resurfaced and come to light and is making waves amidst the global community currently under lockdown. George Floyd, a black 46-year-old man died after a white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes leading to his untimely death. This incident took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota leading to mass protests throughout the US and soon leading to global protests with around 50 countries like UK, Australia, Germany, Austria etc joining in the protests.
The protests are taking place whilst the corona pandemic is raging throughout the globe. People have been flouting social distancing norms with no regard for their personal safety. People have been protesting throughout the globe through mass gatherings. So the big question that needs to be answered is what do the people fight? An invisible enemy that takes lives or the grave discrimination that profiles humans based on skin colour?
Darren Sammy, a West Indies cricketer pointed out that he had been racially profiled as “Kalu” in India which he had mistaken as a compliment during his stay as an IPL cricketer. The tendency amongst humans to judge their superiority based on their skin colour is foolhardy. Kids grow up emulating those around them and observing blatant racist jibes and practices which mould them into toxic human beings from their tender years. Often black children are bullied in schools and mistreated leading to them suffer from depression, low self-esteem and some eventually succumbing to the emotional abuse through suicide.
On the other hand, over 70 lakh people have been globally infected with Covid-19 as on 8th June 2020 with over 4 lakh deaths. Thus one may question as to why people would have mass protests with thousands huddled together, flouting the social distancing norms and risk personal safety and pose a public hazard. The answer may lie in the repetitive instances of insensitive discrimination based on race and skin colour. People are frustrated with already having to deal with a deadly virus and then tolerating gruesome racist treatment from people who are no less than the human incarnation of viruses. The wrath of the people could be visible in Bristol where they pulled down the statue of a controversial slave trader named Edward Colston who worked for a company that had transported 80,000 men, women and children to America.
We need to work towards eradicating Corona from our planet yet such sad incidents like the George Floyd murder impedes our progress in doing so. The wrath and intolerance of people towards such incidents are totally justifiable yet the mass protests, devoid of social distancing may have laid seeds for an even bigger monster and may end up costing the global community more lives than just one. We need a community devoid of prejudice towards our fellow beings. We are one and black lives do matter. However, we have to be wise in fighting and combatting both these grave impediments to a flourishing global community.
While the fight against Covid-19 may have an eventual end with a vaccine but the fight against racism will continue for ages to come. The seeds of racial profiling and discrimination have been embedded in our global culture through our ancestors and put into practice by our society. A deeper psychological evaluation may lead one to discover that the constant need to feel superior from other races may evolve from deep-seated insecurity of one’s own culture and race. The big R or the invisible C? We can’t choose one over the other. We have to fight both of them wisely.