It is safe to say that on the date of May 25, the history of America saw an uprising. A revolution of sorts was ignited, the trigger being the death of a black man. While the globe woke up to cries of #BlackLivesMatter, it didn’t stop just there. Voices across the continents resonated with the common ideologies of stopping racism. This led one to wonder why one single incident had sparked a revolution.
The death of Georges Floyd, a black, at the hands of a white policeman was definitely a game changer. A call for racial justice, an inflection point in the superpower’s history and a wake-up clarion for those who were still in the slumber of the world being equal.
What is the #BlackLivesMatter all about?
Georges Floyd, a 46-year-old black was arrested for using a counterfeit bill at a store. What started off as a petty mistake, then went on to be escalated. Derek Chauvin, the officer who was called to the spot, decided against protocol and took the matter into his own hands. He knelt (yes, he knelt) on Floyd’s neck, pressing his knee to it, until the latter gasped for breath and died. This then provoked a Nation-wide protest. While you may be of the opinion that #BlackLivesMatter is a new trend that's taking the world by storm, it isn’t. It is an organisation founded in 2013, with a goal of eradicating white supremacy and building local power, to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities.
However, shifting focus to the insurgence that the United States witnessed, Meredith Garcia is all for the movement and the stance it is taking. “I do not believe there is any movement that can be considered being “blown out of proportion” when it is one concerning human rights. #BlackLivesMatter has been a movement steadily gaining traction since 2013, but the huge upsurge in support since George Floyd’s death has been inspiring. Many more people are realizing the gravity of the movement and how important it is to fight for this cause. ”
United States: Up in flames
While this isn’t the first time that the United States is witnessing protests, it definitely made history when the President was shifted to the underground bunker! The protests further intensified as people found no empathy from their leader, Trump. This along with the craving for racism to be scrapped from history, cooked up the perfect storm for rebellion. In Washington D.C tens of thousands took to the street, some of these even whites. Curfews were imposed in multiple cities. Protestors clashed with the police, setting police cars ablaze, vandalising property and the National Guard was then called in. Sagar Ashtamkar, an Indian who’s been studying in New York, says “The protests had a motive. And while this motive was very right, the way it was put forth wasn’t justified. People were injured. Yes, one can say a global racial cause was at hand, but there are always ways to peacefully make a point.”
Xandria Dsilva, an American citizen, who has her roots in India says, even when it comes to protesting or voicing an opinion, race does matter. “The majority of people who live in the western countries of the world have no issues voicing how they feel. I would confidently say that other minorities from South Asia and Asia would be less vocal because we are taught to not speak unless it’s something we are asked for our opinion on. This is evident now during times of the #BlackLivesMatter.”
Generations today, more woke?
Are the millennials more woke? One may agree. While issues of such sensitive subjects were usually suppressed, this generation has no chill. They will do what it takes to make their point. Xandria says this generation pushes for answers, beyond what is generic. “I can see a large handful of the new generation wanting to change what is normal, to fit a more accepting and equal way of life. I see so many young people who speak up when they see something morally wrong. They are not afraid of using their influence on social media to spread messages of positivity.”
“It definitely seems like a lot more of us hold the same progressive stance about issues like Black and LGBTQ+ rights. I think social media has played a large role in providing us with multiple stances on these issues, which allows us to see a broader picture and educate ourselves more completely.” says Meredith.
Should one speak up only if affected?
Xandria says Indians hide behind the idea that we are minorities too. “We know what it’s like to be marginalized, so many don’t speak up.” She openly voices her support and dedication to the #BlackLivesMatter saying, “I never want to explain to my kids, ‘oh some people might be treated differently because of their skin colour, but that’s the way the world works’. That’s a copout, it’s disgusting and inhumane. I love the analogy I’ve seen floating around, whenever someone says ‘All Lives Matter’ as a rebuttal to Black Lives Matter. Of Course all lives matter. Until we stand behind our black brothers and sisters, and fight for their lives - we cannot say All Lives Matter.
Trump’s stand: A propaganda?
While the country reeled from the protests, Trump was greatly criticised by the twitterati and the Nation. Many lawmakers went on to condemn Trump’s insensitive response to the protests, by calling him unsympathetic and terming him a third world military leader. Xandria voices her discontent saying that “Trump hasn’t once addressed the real issue. He hasn’t once addressed the fact that a police officer's knee killed a man in the most inhumane way possible. He doesn’t have a stance because he is not capable of understanding the roots of the issue at hand. Instead he speaks and tweets without understanding that his words are detrimental, there’s no forgiving the things he’s said. He works to divide a country that is far from being anti-racial. I mean, he hid in a bunker while the country fell apart further...that says enough.”
A student of the University of Maryland, who wishes to be anonymous says “Trump typically targets conservative mindsets or rightists. When George Flyod was killed, protests ensued around the country. It would have been a difficult situation for the Trump PR team. Democrats were very comfortable at this time. But later when the protest turned violent, he had a good reason to suppress them using the National Guard. And after the violent protests, the democrats came to a position that there was very limited opportunity for them to speak against him.”
What does the world of tomorrow look like?
These millennials say change is what they see in the world of tomorrow. “It’s going to be uncomfortable, change always is, but people have to be ready to adapt. The big picture looks great, but it’s not going to be easy.”
Xandria vocally voices her disconcertedness against Trump, saying “I wish his statements were an act he was putting on for popularity. The sad part is he’s being 100% real. He really does think horrible horrible things, he is a terrible leader, underqualified and quite honestly, racist. I want him out come November, but I’m scared he will be re-elected.”