Deepening race disparity and Black Lives Matter

By Janice Yoo & Chris Park

Published Date: 2021 / 05 / 16

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The Black Lives Matter1 movement had risen its fire in both online media and offline exercise after the death of George Floyd2 due to the extreme subjugation of the police. After George Floyd’s death, diverse questions were brought up in the global community; are freedom and equity in terms of race effectively derived in the 21st century? Thus, throughout this article, we will explore two contrasting propositions upon this question. Firstly, inequality exists upon a certain race in the workplace and daily life. Secondly, the equity is conserved and the extreme enforcement toward the George Floyd incident can be justified via the statistics demonstrating the ‘crime rate’ and ‘high possibility of attacking police’ of black people.

"I can’t make people not afraid of black people … But maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, doing wonderful things … maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of your discrimination.” (Michelle Obama) As if the statistics support Michelle’s claim, according to 2019 research via PEW3, 52% of black people stated that being black hurts their ability to get ahead and 84% of black people had answered that they experienced racial discrimination. The statistics support the on-going existence of racism in the U.S. Hence, this triggered us to further research whether discrimination only exists in their daily life or also in legal processes. According to the PEW research that 67% of all citizens in the U.S answered, in dealing with the police/criminal justice system, 84% of people answered that there is inequality toward black people. Moreover, African Americans are more likely to be arrested than white Americans; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. In fact, African-American adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Law should be the standard of equality and it should work as a tool to preserve the equal and just society. However, referring to the statistics, it supports the fact that even in the legal field, the standardized prejudice against colored people is making them receive serious disadvantages. Therefore, inequality exists upon certain races in both daily and the legal field.

Nevertheless, negative views exist upon the correlation of enhanced police protocol and ethnic group. According to the National Center for Health Statistics in the U.S, the homicide rate was at least 8 times higher among young black males than young white males. Also, African American males of all ages have had one of the highest homicide rates in the U.S for almost 100 years according to the U.S Department of Justice. Moreover, according to the National Violent Death Reporting System in the U.S, among the cases where the police and citizens had conflicts, 83% of the victims were reported to be armed; however, black victims were more likely to be armed (14.8%). Thus, the statistics convey the extensive involvement of adolescents and young adult African American males in violent crimes. It is clearly presented through the statistics that violent crimes and homicides are more prevalent in the black community. Since a lot of death involving incidents regarding black lives have gone viral on the internet, the vitality of criminal justice is being underestimated. Therefore, it can be argued that we should recognize the fact that we could be overemphasizing the importance of race or ethnicity leading to victimization, underemphasizing its influence on criminal justice decision making. Although racial discrimination and inequality are crucial factors that provoke social change, the importance of criminal justice should not be hindered. It should not be attempted to compensate for the possible bias that police officers may have based on the data that supports the violence of a certain ethnicity, claiming that racial discrimination occurs in legal processes. Thus, it can be argued that equity is conserved and the extreme enforcement toward George Floyd’s incident can be justified by the prevalence of violence and high homicide rates in the black community.

The concept of equity may be different for every person; some may proclaim the perfect equity for the utopian society and some may urge for selective equity. Nonetheless, the equity that satisfies the vast majority of people and pursuing equal rights should be preserved in our society - for that process, the Black Lives Matter exercise would have acknowledged people who were ignorant about the disbenefits of the colored people are receiving in their daily life. However, even if the purpose of this movement may be aiming for one target - equality - there are various reports about the vandalism, armed riots, and crime happening during this movement. We believe, to the extent where the #BLM movement proceeds in the legal standard, it is a progressive movement that upheld so-called - civilized citizens - in the 21st century about global issues and inequality. As every movement involves trial and error, our global society should elastically recover from the swamp of disparity and proceed to a utopian society with no inequality.

For dear pupils and any other participants to further support and encourage the movement that promotes equality, AMNESTY PLUS would like to open a discussion session to target the topic, “To what extent equality is promoted in our society and how can we improve it?”. Participation upon this discussion is possible on AMNESTY PLUS official website.

Works Cited
Black Lives Matter1: Black Lives Matter is a decentralized movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against African-American people. This movement is actively on-going as well in social media. However, negative opinions about this movement are proposed due to the claim that George Floyd was a criminal and this movement may deepen the race disparity.
George Floyd2: A black male charged for over 9 crimes including several armed robberies. However, he was dead via the serious breach in police protocol. His death had triggered the ‘Blacks Lives Matter’ movement - so-called - #BLM.
PEW research centre3: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019/.

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