Racism and police brutality in the US have been exposed once again. This time change is around the corner

By Nina Steele 

George Floyd - Black Lives MatterOne morning in early May, I woke up to find the name Ahmaud Arbery all over Twitter. As it turned out, he was the latest black person to come to a gruesome end at the hands of white racists. The video of him being hunted as prey and then killed, was and still is too painful to watch. The brazen way in which he was killed, and the fact that his murderers were only arrested over 2 months later, even though the authorities in the area knew about his murder, was proof, if proof was ever needed, that in many quarters in the US, black people are viewed as lesser humans.

A few weeks later, with the debate still raging about the senseless death of Ahmaud Arbery and how the authorities in the area tried to cover it up, enters Amy Cooper. If you haven’t heard of Amy Cooper, then let me give you a quick background on why her name has now become synonymous with white privilege.

On May 25, she called the police on a black man in central park, just because he asked her to put her dog on a leash. It is the rule in that particular area of the park, yet she still took offence. What happened next is chilling because it could have resulted in the death of yet another black man. She says this to the black man, named Christian Cooper (no relation) as she was dialing 911: “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life”. And she did just that.

She knew full well how loaded that statement to the police was. Black men are killed for less than that, yet she did it anyway. It was all false and luckily, Christian Cooper recorded the whole incident on his mobile phone. He never threatened her, all he wanted was for her to put her dog on a leash. She knew that as a white woman, she would be believed with no questions asked and she didn’t think twice before using her privilege. Unfortunately for her, luck was firmly on the side of Christian Cooper that day. He was never arrested because he had already left when the police arrived. For Amy Cooper however, karma was about to remind her of the saying that ‘those to whom much is given, much is also expected’. The video of the incident went viral once Christian Cooper uploaded it on social media. The name Amy Cooper was trending for days afterwards. She was fired from her job and her dog taken away (the dog has since been returned to her).

Emotions were already running high because of those stories and many others, including the killing by police of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor on March 13, when the video of George Floyd slow and brutal death made its way on social media. That the Amy Cooper story and George Floyd’s death happened almost simultaneously reminded us all how lucky Christian Cooper was to still be alive. After all, the accusations that were made against him were far more serious than what got George Floyd killed.

George Floyd’s death is bringing people together in a way that I haven’t seen before in my lifetime. To see so many white people finally saying enough is enough and joining demonstrators not only across the US, but in other parts of the world too, is wonderful to see.

Any politician in the US hoping to use George Floyd’s death to divide Americans along racial lines must be sorely disappointed by now. Instead of causing division, what we are seeing instead, is many white people finally waking up to the fact that black people have been telling the truth all along with regards to police brutality and white privilege. I have lost count of the number of supportive videos by white people that I have come across, since the death of George Floyd. I have never seen anything like it. Not only that, videos of demonstrations taking place in the US, show that there are as many white people marching as there are blacks. Again, I cannot recollect seeing anything like it recently.

2020 is proving to be quite a year! I believe wholeheartedly that black Americans are finally about to get the changes to the justice system that they have been advocating all those years.

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