Tag Archives: #blacklivesmatter

RACISM: A TERMITE TO SOCIETY

While Racism is often thought of a problem that does not exist in today’s world, we forget that Apartheid was only abolished in South Africa in 1994, which was less than 30 years ago.

Slavery was abolished in the US in 1865. Yet, Racism extends beyond slavery and exists in every form of discrimination against a particular Race.
Racism is still very much prevalent in the United States. This led to the rise of the Black Lives Matter or #BLM movement.
While one needs to understand why Racism is still prevalent, it is also important to not confuse this social evil with colourism.
Racism is discrimination against a particular race, while colourism is discrimination based on your skin tone or colour of your skin.
Racism in America is often confused with colourism as the people discriminated against are from the African American community and have darker skin.

When you picture modern-day racism in the States, you picture a person screaming the n-word at an African American. But Racism exists in different forms. It’s there in your head every time you grip your purse tighter while passing by a Black man.
It’s there when white people walk around with semi-automatic rifles, without facing any consequences, but 911 is dialled when 9-year-old Ahmed made a clock that looked “similar” to a time bomb.
It’s there when the police do not take any action against white people protesting against the much-needed lockdown, but shoots rubber bullets at Black people protesting against police brutality.
It’s there when a white man in uniform is allowed to murder a black man in broad daylight by putting his knee down on his neck as he mutters again and again helplessly that he can’t breathe.

Racism exists in the justice system of the USA too.

The CGTN reported that “The U.S. is notorious for putting more people in prison than any other country: its prison population accounts for over 20 per cent of the world’s total, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

And African Americans are incarcerated at a much higher rate than anyone else.

For every 100,000 black residents, 1,134 were in prison, compared to 218 for whites.”

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, about 40% of African Americans are homeless in the US, while they make up roughly 13% of the population.

While I’d love to focus more on the USA and dismantle systemic Racism for you but, unlike what American Sitcoms believe, there are other places in this world besides the United States.

Let’s move to Libya. If you thought slavery was not legal worldwide, you thought wrong. While it has been abolished in almost all countries, it still isn’t criminalised in as many as 94 countries.
In November 2017, a CNN investigation shocked the world, as they exposed actual slave auctions.
In 2016, 1.130% of the Libyan population lived in modern slavery.
According to a report by Time, many refugees attempting to flee war and poverty and reach Europe by sea get caught in Libya and are kept in “horrific” detention centres where they are vulnerable to being beaten, raped, and sold as slave labour.

In the UK, systemic Racism is very much prevalent today.
According to, Police powers and procedures, England and Wales year ending March 2019, Black people were six times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, than white people.
The Independent reported that “Stop-and-search rates between 2018 and 2019 show that black people are now nearly 10-times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people. This has contributed to far higher arrest rates for black people than for white people.”

The UK’s Annual Population Survey revealed that black people are also paid less on average than white people.

According to a report published by Oxygen, “India is home to the largest number of enslaved people in the world. An estimated 18,354,700 people, or 1.40% of the population, are reportedly living in modern slavery, which includes intergenerational bonded labour, forced child labour, forced marriage, and commercial sexual exploitation, among other forms.”
Free the Slaves reported that poor villagers, in particular, are vulnerable to being enslaved due to debt bondage and bonded labour.
According to Oxygen, “India’s intelligence agency advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discredit the September 2017 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Australian rights group Walk Free Foundation. The United Nations defended its research, according to Reuters. (Walk Free Foundation published a separate report earlier about India estimates — ILO did not single out countries.) The labour ministry vowed to rescue 18 million bonded labourers by 2030.” Similar problems exist both in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

According to The Wire, despite multiple criticisms, Uttar Pradesh, the state with the highest population in India, is in the process of “promulgating the Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020 that suspends the operation of all labour laws applicable to factories and manufacturing establishments in the state for three years, with the exception of the Bonded Labour System”, in an attempt to lure foreign investors by providing cheap labour, to strengthen the falling economy.

But India’s racism problem extends beyond modern-day slavery. North-East Indians and South Indians often fall prey to this social evil in India. While North East Indians are compared to the Chinese and fall prey to violence whenever International Relations go south with the Chinese government, South Indians are mostly discriminated against for belonging to a complex culture and social background and a darker skin tone.

While to many, Racism presents itself to be the root problem, lurking in its shadows is White Supremacy – The belief that White people are superior to people of other races. Systemic Racism thrives in the US because the system allows it to. The system was designed by White Supremacists, and (surprise-surprise) most of them owned slaves. The system is not broken. It’s working exactly as it was designed. Systemic Racism allows White people to hold power over African Americans, both socially and economically.
The belief that a certain race is superior to others is what leads to discrimination and in many cases genocide.
We see examples of this throughout history, like what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany, or what happens to Bahujans in India.

The Black Lives Matter movement made a great impact only because it threatened to dismantle the very system that allowed George Floyd to be murdered in broad daylight by men in uniform. The protesters made sure they were heard even in the middle of a pandemic. The movement soon spread across the globe and people started demanding accountability from the police and to defund the police.
While the movement did not meet all of its goals, George Floyd’s killers are in prison today and are facing second-degree murder charges.
Someone says that whenever you call out racism, it’s like taking two steps forward and moving one step backwards. And it’s true; many people were injured during the protests.
But isn’t that what they want you to do? To give up? To stop speaking out? To make their jobs easier?
As Detective Santiago in the popular sitcom Brooklyn99 said, “Two steps forward and one step backwards, is still one step forward.”

Boycott of fairness creams is a step ahead

Recently, the death of George Floyd has caused a mass stream of revolutionary change against racism, an issue that has been suppressed for years and now has suddenly taken over the streets of almost every country and every social media platform. All kinds of people, black, white, hypocrites, old, and especially the youth is engaged in the process to find out a way to get rid of every kind of racist activity that has been going on since years.If the past records were to be seen, the fault actually lies in our upbringings and educational norms, that have resulted in the acts like, racism. From the day a child is born into this world, is the day, his/her, colour has been judged by the family members, unapologetically, till the day he dies and cremated over. Until, what the person has to go through, is the racist comments and teasers, that unfortunately kills the person from within, even if, unknowingly. Here, there, every where, from school to the work place, judged on the basis of colour.People getting along the streets, outrage over the social media, all the tireless efforts that have been put to provide justice to the victim of racism, George Floyd, is a clear message to the people promoting racism, and racist activities, hypocrites;it is not an era of early 90s, instead, as an human being, as a national of any country, all are up against the evil that have been proliferating since past many a years. The take on this incident has, even, awakend a large amount of celebrities and actors, who were earlier engrossed in the promotions of fairness products and creams, namely, Yami Gautam, Kiara Advani, Katrina Kaif,Deepika Padukone and a series of the young age actors. But, so says the grapevine –

Better late than never

The decision over removing the word “fair” from the product “fair and lovely”,by the company Unilever, past two days ago, is a huge step ahead in promoting, every lives matter, very strongly. It is definitely a step ahead towards the conformation of the idea on banishing racism, as well as racist activities. It is also likely to affect the fairness endorsing products in the near future, abiding the norms of black lives matter, along with a jerk to those who were earlier engaged in promotion of fairness products and now are proudly supporting the revolution against racism.

Now is the time to prove the reason why we are living altogether on the same planet, the need to awake the humanity and purpose of human evolution.

‘LEARN FROM HISTORY’ SAYS DONALD TRUMP

As America comes face to face with it’s racism in its past, President Donald Trump has firmly back lined up with those who argue that the pendulum has swung too far in favor of removing statues and other symbols of that flawed history, saying errors will be repeated unless learned from and understood.

Trump’s campaign also sees the division over this new political flash point as a way to improve the president’s reputation, which has weakened through his treatment of the coronavirus epidemic and the social discrimination demonstrations that accompanied the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. After weeks spent demanding “law and order” in response to the protests sparked by Floyd’s death by police, Trump began to draw a line in the sand.

He vowed executive action to preserve landmarks after several Confederate statues and other historical icons with checkered life stories were violently pulled down from parks and other socially popular spots.

Trump says he wanted the highest penalty possible under federal law — up to a decade in prison — for anyone who wrecks or tamper with public property monuments commemorating those who served in the U.S. military. He said the executive order would “strengthen” existing legislation.

“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators,” Trump said, referring to protesters who have vented their anger over racial injustice by toppling statues of figures tied to America’s racist history.

He spoke out after an attempt Monday night to bring down a Lafayette Park statue of Andrew Jackson, one of Trump’s favorite presidents, was foiled by police in the park across from the White House. Trump called it a “sneak attack” on the statue of Jackson, who owned slaves and was ruthless in his treatment of Native Americans. “We should learn from the history,” he told Fox News in a taped interview broadcast Tuesday. “And if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again.”

Trump’s campaign sees the attempts to remove statues as a potential presidential lifeline. The campaign argues that liberals are dramatically overreaching by embracing calls to “defund the police” and remove statues of American icons taught in history books.

In the current climate, Trump’s prior support of Confederate statues and military bases named after such individuals posed a political risk. But aides now believe the president has found an unexpected new line of attack on Democrats as the effort to remove symbols has spread to include the likes of Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Jackson and George Washington in some places.

Although all three figures were flawed individuals, Trump’s campaign believes he can use them to wage a culture war and position the president as the defender of a way of life threatened by demographic change and generational shifts in views on issues ranging from marriage to racial justice.

Calls to overhaul policing and confront lingering racial inequality may be bipartisan, but Trump’s reelection team believes the most aggressive steps being pushed by some Democrats will turn off centrists and energize the president ‘s base-– many of whom share his avowed commitment to safeguard symbols of the nation’s past. A White House official and a campaign assistant summarized the president’s rationale by speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday cast the “lawlessness” of the attacks on statues as a cultural phenomenon among “far-left radicals” in need of a history lesson.

Source:https://indianexpress.com/article/world/trump-says-learn-from-history-instead-of-removing-statues-6473595/

Racism in the USA: Past and Present

Why it is in the news?

Recently, the accident happened in Minneapolis, the USA which brings this topic into the picture. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Black Lives Matter Protest began and it broke out all across the USA after the death of George Floyd, an African-American lived in Minneapolis city.

Police have used tear gas and force against demonstrators and President Donald Trump threatened to send the military. Some acts of looting and arson also occurred. President Donald Trump called this movement as riots. 

Historical background of slavery

The revolutionary fights for African-American or The Black people’s rights are connected with the historical background of slavery. Many African citizens were brought from Africa to North America for slavery. There were slaves in 13 colonies which called them as “United States.” African people were working as “slave under The White people. It is a traditional activity from last more than three hundred seventy years. From 16th Century onwards slavery carried on unabated for almost 4 centuries. The United States got independence after the War of Independence even though these slaves were deprived of their fundamental rights and independence. But ultimately Civil War took place in 1861-1865 and the reason was only slavery. In the 1860s the slavery was abolished in Northern parts of the USA but still, slavery was common in the Southern part of USA. And this was the reason why the Civil War took place between Northern and Southern America.

Emancipation

Northern America won the Civil War and passed a law which is called as 13th Amendment by United States Congress for abolishing slavery except as a punishment for crime. By this law, 4 million slaves became freeman and freewoman.

Racism in American Policing

The police department was not in existence in past. The institution of police in modern USA Police started with systematic racism and violence in the form of ‘slave patrol’. At that time the slave state created patrols called as “slave patrol” to nip slave revolts and escape from southern part to northern part of USA. The state of South Carolina was the first to create slave patrols in 1704. By the end of the 1700s, every American slave state had slave patrols. 

The former southern slave patrol transformed into police departments that technically were different from slave patrols, but were still charged with controlling the freed former slaves. This carried on in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow Laws era for the next 80 years.

Reconstruction Era 1863-1877

Reconstruction era started at the end of the Civil War. The aim was to reconstruct the south and integrate frees black people into society. They put efforts to give some legal rights and economic support to recently freed slaves (The Blacks). But they failed to provide any substantial rights. 

For instance, just take the context of voting rights, 15 Amendment incarcerated voting rights discrimination based on race, it left the door open for states to determine the specific qualification for suffrage. Southern state legislatures used qualifications including literacy tests, poll taxes and other discriminatory practices to disenfranchise a majority of black voters in the decades following Reconstruction.

Repeating the History of Racial Segregation

Jim Crow Laws were one of the ways through which racial segregation started against Blacks. Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. Jim Crow was not the name of any person or place. It was used as a caricature to tease the Blacks. All these laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Democratic-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by blacks during the Reconstruction period. The Jim Crow laws were enforced until 1965. This is called Segregation – The Jim Crow Laws. The Jim Crow laws mandated the segregation for whites and blacks in the workplace, public school, public places, public transport, restrooms, restaurants and drinking water points.

Success and The Legal End of Segregation

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed by the Congress and this decisive action towards the ending of Racial Segregation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned segregation in schools and other public places. The Voting Rights Act 1965 banned literacy tests and other methods used to disenfranchise black voters.

#BlackLivesMatter Movement

This movement has past link when George Zimmerman fatally shot an unarmed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American high school student. Zimmerman was charged with murder for Martin’s death, but acquitted at trial after claiming self-defence. It was Zimmerman’s acquittal that gave rise to a hashtag and a movement called Black Lives Matter (#Blacklivesmatter).  

 Many cases and accident apart from George Floyd Case and George Zimmerman Case happened in the USA. Racism always existed in the US Police department. In past, several cases were unregistered or not recorded in the form of pictures and videos but in modern times, nothing can hide from the third eye called cameras. Everything got recorded by cameras. The movement in which thousands and millions of people are getting involved during a time when there is a pandemic named COVID-19 a communicable disease which spread by touching and there is no way to save ourselves except social distancing. Therefore, it shows that the disease of racism is more dangerous than COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sustainable buisness management practices.

Someone has rightly quoted that “Being a good human is being a good business” taking into consideration this fact a business should perform.The 3 most important P’s in today’s era are ‘People’, ‘Profit and the ‘Planet’ which every buisness person should keep in mind before launching a buisness. These 3 P’s are connected with each other. Suistanbility in a buisness can be regarded as the s uccess of the company in both short term and long term. Suistanbility encompass social,financaial, environmental opportunities and threats that are in business facet.When buisness incorporate healthy, social, and economic strategies they are likely to face any challenge in present or in future.Now the company has adopted a way to engage with people living around the community one of the widely used strategy is ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR).It can be defined as acheiving commercial success in methods that are ethical and protect the environment.So the best way to create future is to predict it.

Amazon to stop use of it’s facial recognition software by cops

In a major policy shift for the company, Amazon is placing a one-year moratorium on use of it’s facial recognition software by the police . For years the company has been a fierce defender of the controversial software.

The company would suspend the use of this program for law enforcement to allow policymakers some room to establish system for regulation  that has been sparking controversy for years and shining an uncomfortable spotlight on Amazon’s cloud computing department. This step was taken in the wake of police violence and racism riots, after an cop killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man. In research, facial recognition technology has been found to often have trouble recognizing individuals with darker skin, recalling previous policy overreaching that infringed civil liberties for advocacy groups.

Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing group of the company, released Rekognition in 2016, a software service designed to identify objects in images and videos, including the ability to match a face with images in a database without taking the time to compare images manually.

Recognition isn’t the only software of this sort. Rivals from Amazon like Microsoft Corp., and Google have similar capabilities. But Amazon ‘s software became the focus of an intense debate about the potential for powerful, new software to undermine human rights after the American Civil Liberties Union called out the risks of misidentifying people with such software. The group highlighted the relationships between Amazon and a sheriff’s office in Oregon and Orlando City, two commitments that Amazon had made in marketing materials.

“We’ve advocated that governments should put in place stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology, and in recent days, Congress appears ready to take on this challenge,” the company said. “We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.”said,Nina Lindsey, an Amazon spokeswoman.

The House and Senate Democrats included a provision in a sweeping police-reform bill introduced Monday that would block real-time facial recognition analysis of federal police body camera footage. Amazon said other organizations will continue to use the software, including those using facial recognition to fight human trafficking. Rekognition runs on Amazon servers, and is delivered as an internet service to customers, making it theoretically relatively easy for Amazon to suspend access for police users. How many law enforcement departments did use Rekognition remains unknown.In an interview for a PBS Frontline investigation that aired earlier this year, AWS chief Andy Jassy said he didn’t know the total number of police departments using Rekognition.

“It’s sort of the first, real, meaningful concession we’ve seen from Amazon allowing that use of facial recognition by police might not be good for communities” harmed by biased policing, said Shankar Narayan, who expressed concerns about Rekognition to Amazon officials while at the ACLU of Washington, which he left earlier this year. “The move shows that Amazon is vulnerable to public pressure and optics,” said Narayan, a co-founder MIRA, an organization working to give civil society groups a greater say in how new technologies are used.

Amazon, who has long been reluctant to bow to external pressure on public policy issues, claimed those studies did not accurately reflect its software capabilities. The corporation has said there have been no documented incidents of Rekognition’s harassment by law enforcement, but the ability by Amazon to monitor the use of the app is restricted by the security of AWS and regulations against consumer data analysis.

Following a January 2019 study by two AI researchers, pressure on Amazon stepped up , showing the software made more mistakes when used on people with darker skin, especially women. Amazon argued with the paper’s conclusions and methodology, authored by Inioluwa Deborah Raji and Joy Buolamwini, leading some of the top AI scientists, including Yoshua Bengio, the Turing Award winner, to criticize both Amazon’s sale of the product to police and its treatment of Raji and Buolamwini. The ACLU tested the software separately on Congress members and found it falsely matched 28 of them with mugshots, selecting minority lawmakers disproportionately.

“We believe it is the wrong approach to impose a ban on promising new technologies because they might be used by bad actors for nefarious purposes in the future,” Matt Wood, an executive in Amazon’s machine learning group, said in a 2018 blog post. “The world would be a very different place if we had restricted people from buying computers because it was possible to use that computer to do harm.”

Source:https://tech.hindustantimes.com/tech/news/amazon-to-pause-use-of-facial-recognition-software-by-cops-71591848562092.html

The Big R Or The Invisible C?

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.