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The British, Black Lives Matter movement

Earlier this year, protesters took to the streets of different parts of the UK, the US, and indeed around the world, as a civil rights movement in order to gain justice for George Floyd. But…is that

Black Lives Matter

Earlier this year, protesters took to the streets of different parts of the UK, the US, and indeed around the world, as a civil rights movement in order to gain justice for George Floyd. But…is that the only reason protesters refuse to give in, or is there something that the government refuses to do in order to put the nation’s hearts and minds at ease?

To begin with, these protests began shortly after a 46-year-old man was murdered by the Minneapolis police after he was knelt on by three police officers. However, has anyone asked why the police pulled Floyd and had him arrested, in the first place?

Floyd was arrested due to being under suspicion of counterfeiting a $20 bill, when he stopped by a store to buy a pack of cigarettes. The shop owners tried to confront Floyd however walked away from the SUV empty handed. They then decided to call the police and, according to the CCTV footage, it was claimed that Floyd “was drunk and out of control”.

So…where does the problem actually lie?

This question was left unanswered as witnesses claim, and is proven by the same CCTV present at the scene that, as the police pulled Floyd over and instructed him to get out of his car, he showed no sign of aggressiveness, nor did he act violent in any way. Does this mean that the shop owners were stretching the truth? Or possibly even lying?

But more importantly, what happened next?

After being pulled out of his car, Floyd was told to sit in the back seat of the police car. However he was hesitant, stating that he was claustrophobic, before falling down helplessly to the ground.

At this point, any decent human being, let alone a police officer, would take the initiative to help him up, however, the Minneapolis police decided it was an act of violence and objection shown by Floyd. They then decided that it would be acceptable to have 3 policemen kneel on Floyd’s neck, back and legs, preventing him from moving, and even worse, breathing.

Due to the compression applied on the chest and throat, Floyd was unable to breathe and pleaded to the officer to ease the amount of pressure applied on his neck as he cried:

“I can’t breathe, please.”

By now, multiple bystanders surrounded the scene, yelling at the police to leave the suffocating man and instead, deal with the issue accordingly. Some took matters into their own hands and began recording the horrendous scene as proof of the inhumane act taking place by someone who is supposedly meant to keep the streets of Minnesota safe.

Almost 7 minutes into the setting, George Floyd passed out and was unresponsive. Fear and anger grew amongst the crowd as they watched in complete horror as the police still didn’t give in and remained on Floyd’s neck. Precisely 8 minutes and 46 seconds into the scene, the police finally gave in and called an ambulance. However, by the time the ambulance arrived, Floyd was dead.

It has been scientifically proven that it takes at least 7 minutes for someone to bleed to death and 4-6 minutes for someone who isn’t breathing. Although the paramedics arrived exactly six minutes after the distress call, at the time of Floyd’s death he was already unconscious and not breathing for 1 minute and 46 seconds, and the police did nothing about it.

As you can imagine, his family and friends were beyond devastated that an innocent man was taken too soon, and American’s simply weren’t having it.

Furious, disgusted and, most importantly, dedicated American citizens took to the streets of Minnesota in order to gain public awareness for Floyd and his family. Protests turned into riots, riots turned into lootings, yet the message remains the same. Justice for George Floyd. Black Lives Matter.

Protests in Minnesota makes sense, but what triggered people in the UK to begin protesting?

To be completely honest, this statement is purely opinionated as there is no confirmed answer. However, in my perspective, I believe that in the UK, the phrase “multicultural society” isn’t implemented enough. What I do believe though is that this phrase is used as an excuse to make us think that we really are an equal society.

In other words, I believe that this phrase is simply used strategically in order to help the British citizens ignore the racial inequality and blindly believe that this country is indeed a fair and just one.

This may seem cruel and even unfair towards the Government, based on how much pressure is already applied on them. However, ideally, it can be argued that the Government is not exactly taking these matters as the public would have hoped.

Still not convinced? Here are a few from the many examples I believe show that the Government isn’t dealing with this situation as it should.

To begin with, protests in the UK began on the 28th of May, with the intention and hope that the Government would realise that, amid the pandemic crisis, the citizens of this country were still coming together and protesting on behalf of the entire Nation, in order to raise awareness and hope for change.

Alongside this, the public expected that the least the Government could do was to recognise this and act upon it. However, the UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, made it clear that she wasn’t on the same page as the protesters and, as a matter of fact, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

It is quoted by Patel that these protests must stop as the protesters are putting their lives and the country at risk by protesting in huge numbers, where it is clear that social distancing cannot be practiced. Patel went on to say that if the public still want to spread the message, they should do it online instead.

As much as we appreciate the fact that Patel had taken into consideration that the protesters were putting their lives at risk, did she or the Government do anything to show or, at the very least, signal that something was being done about it? It’s a simple answer. No.

Did the public listen to the “advice” given by the home secretary?

At the very moment when the country needed that essential support, that feeling of trust towards the Government, Patel chose to state that she was “sickened” and “appalled” by the behaviour of the protesters. These phrases were uttered as it was reported that the police were attacked by the protesters during, what was meant to be, a peaceful protest.

It is undeniable that aggressive behaviour towards the police is unacceptable and cannot be justified. Aggression, without a doubt, isn’t the right method to spread a positive message.

Around one week into the protests, something remarkable took place. An act that I would like to call Heroism. What was it? Demolishing Edward Colston’s statue.

Who was Edward Colston? And why is this act so significant?

Edward Colston was a ruthless slave trader who used the colour of his skin as form of superiority over the Black people. His misconception about Black people lead to him mistreating and trading living, breathing, innocent human beings for wealth. In total, this cold-hearted soul traded 80,000 slaves! That is, 80, 000 women, children and men whose lives were cut short due to the unforgiving nature of this brutal man.

However, just before his death in the year 1721, Colston gave out all of his wealth to charity organisations. It does seem like an act of kindness; however, this money was earned by trading and mistreating people just like you and me. In other words, the negatives outweigh the positives.

Personally, I would immediately begin to question why they have a statue in the first place, and, if I could, I would do anything in my power to bring it down.

The reason for this is because behind every statue, every antique, is an untold story, hundreds of agonies that are left untold. Lives and innocent people were brutally taken away with the very hands of the man who is despised in history books, yet the country itself, chooses to keep a statue. Knowing this, anyone in a state of power would do anything to ensure that the citizens of this country are at ease. It is a multi-cultural country in the end isn’t it? To make matters worse, the Mayor of Bristol is none other than Mr Marvin Rees, who is partly Jamaican, and he was not hesistant to claim that having that statue up there did make him uncomfortable, but this country’s defence system seems to think otherwise.

Patel was outraged and quoted that bringing the statue down “was an act of hooliganism” and that:

“it was clear that this act was a distraction from the purpose of the protests”.

As you can imagine, the public were beyond frustrated that their efforts were, not only, ignored but were compared to wildlife behaviour. It felt as though the Home Secretary not only dismissed the idea of the protests, but insulted the protesters and their efforts itself.

The public were not happy and decided that they were not going to rely on a Government who didn’t take their pain seriously enough, and the protests just got more and more urgent…that is until some sort of misunderstanding was caused due to protesters constantly chanting the phrase “Black…Lives…Matter”.

What could go wrong this time?

Just as things were starting to look up, when the Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP stated that the protests can continue as long as social distancing can be maintained (due to the pandemic), confusion arose amongst the protesters as to why it is “Black Lives Matter” and not “All Lives Matter.” As much as it makes sense to argue that “All Lives Matter”, a question that springs to mind is, imagine the same scene that took place on May 25th, but instead of a Black man on the floor, picture a White man in his position and a Black man on his neck.

How do you think the Government would have dealt with that?

It seems as though the racial inequality that is dividing our community is visible, yet we choose to turn a blind eye to the vulnerable and refuse to put our very best into what matters most. Just as important, as it may seem, to focus on your child’s future or on your future, the little things that you do, for example, writing to raise awareness or even dropping an inspirational comment to brighten someone’s day, can make a huge difference in society’s eyes.

Sometimes, we get carried away by worldly affairs that we seem to forget that the younger generation look up to us as role models and more importantly, as an inspiration to help them become better people in the future.

Racial inequality is all around us and sometimes we may feel powerless, or that the odds are against us, but the only way to overcome obstacles that may seem unreachable is if we think of it as helping each other and not just ourselves, because when we help each other, we always get more back in return.

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