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Racism: Let’s Condemn The “Act” And Not The “Skin”

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By Raymond Oise-Oghaede

The recent unfortunate death of George Floyd in the hands of some men of the Minneapolis Police which has resulted in raging protests all over the United States and beyond could be said to be the hottest news across the globe today. The scenario of the incident could best be described as barbaric and inhuman. This article will choose not to give a graphic description of that scenario as captured by the clip trending on the social media in order not to further prick the emotions of millions of people whose hearts have been wounded by the cry of “I CAN`T BREATHE”. This incident is so gruesome that it would provoke ferocious anger from the gentlest and meekest person in the world. Expectedly, people have wasted no time in condemning the act; and, many have concluded that it was purely an act of “racism”. In as much as one cannot “blame” anybody for so labeling it as a racist action because of the parties involved (“white policemen” and a “black victim”); I am of the opinion that there is the need for us to tread cautiously so as not to throw the world into unimaginable chaos due to the sensitivity of the subject matter. Racism is a phenomenon that has attracted global condemnations over the years because of its dangerous tendencies to tearing humanity apart. As a result of the foregoing; and, in line with my style; this write-up will analyse the incident from a different and unique perspective with the aim of drawing inferences that will be beneficial to all.

Formostly, there is need to peruse the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident to enable us understand the “intentions” of the perpetrators. Obviously, the policemen (perpetrators) were carrying out their “legitimate duty” to “arrest” the victim; but, they “overstepped their bounds” in their approach (especially the one that used his kneel on the victim) because the victim never conducted himself in a violent manner to evade arrest; harm the policemen; and, or cause insecurity to public lives and properties to warrant such a “hard” and “cruel” tactic. In this situation, there will be no justification(s) whatsoever to support the overbearing action regardless of whether their “intention” was never meant to “cause” the “death” of the victim or not. It is rather unfortunate that his distressed plea of “I can`t breathe” was taken for granted and this led to the irretrievable and regrettable outcome. I am almost certain that if the video of the incident is played to the culprits; they will be remorseful and wish it never happened that way. Be that as it may, it will be most appropriate to see the atrocity from a broader perspective as a “crime against humanity” (and not just narrow it down to “racism” per se) regardless of whether the perpetrators where “whites” or “blacks” or whether the victim was “black” or “white”.

Therefore, the “focus” should be on the “act” and not the “colours of the skin”. So, we will be doing ourselves and the world a lot of good by purging our minds of the dangerous insinuation of seeing it as a deliberate or premeditated act aimed at the extermination of “BLACKS” by “WHITES”. It will also be an “incontrovertible act of racism” on the part of everyone who hinges the fight and calls for justice on the difference in the colours of the skin of the perpetrators and the victim. It means such persons would have pretended as nothing happened if the perpetrators and the victim were interchanged; and or, if the parties were all “whites” or “blacks”

As a result of the foregoing, it is very imperative to appeal to everyone of us to be calm and to try as much as possible to gradually purge our minds of the pains and resentments. I know it’s going to be very difficult because of the irreversibility of the deed; but, we have to do it for the sake of the departed and us. Strong and crucial statements have been made by the “peaceful protests” and the outpouring of condemnations over this crime against humanity; it is now incumbent to wait for the authorities to do the needful. Allowing the protests to escalate into looting and other undesirable conducts is demeaning; and, it depicts a defeatist tendency to the justice we crave. Though getting justice for Floyd and other victims of crimes against humanity is incontrovertible; our demands become “unjustifiable” if our approaches and actions portend insecurity to others. The jettisoning of “social distancing” under the guise of protests at this period of raging coronavirus is extremely dangerous and inimical to the wellbeing of everyone. Several lives have been lost to Covid 19 in the recent past and still counting; and, it will be disastrous to compound the situation. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to let bygones be bygones for the benefit of all.

As it is presently, the damage had been done and grievances have been expressed. This is a very difficult situation in the history of the US in particular; and, the world in general; but, I am of the conviction that the situation is still redeemable. It is time for us to have a rethink and do all things possible to discard any act of antagonism, prejudice, hatred, bigotry, ill feelings, and discrimination directed against our fellow humans. We should always see and treat ourselves as one. The US has always played vital roles in supporting countries across the world in their fights against criminality; and, one can only hope and pray that it will come out of this setback stronger. Thus, I am passionately appealing to our “protesting brothers” to sheath their sword and give peace a chance again. We should not sow seeds of discord in our minds that will pitch us against one another. Let us not be partakers of any act that can tear the world apart on racial lines.

Consequent upon the above, I want to also use this medium to implore the US government not to take any actions that are capable of aggravating the situation. Though, it is understandable that no responsible government will fold its hands and watch people constitutes threats to the lives and properties of the generality of its citizenry; the authorities should try as much as possible not to create any avenue that will degenerate to “bad blood” between the people based on the colours of their skin.

LET US ALL CONDEMN THE “ACT” AND NOT THE “SKIN”.

RAYMOND Oise-Oghaede WRITES FROM SURU-LERE, LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA.
He can be reached via email: raymondoise0@gmail.com

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