People’s lives are not up for debate

After the callous murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis, USA, the world was enraged and a global movement was reinvigorated. Racism can no longer be ignored. It is in front of our very faces, on every media outlet and in every country. However, some people are still choosing to abuse their privilege and ignore the issue. 

What many people seem to be missing during this global movement, is the fact that denying someone’s right to exist, is not an opinion. Diminishing someone’s right to live based on their ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, level of ability, religion, or skin colour, should not be called an opinion. This should not be accepted. On the contrary, it should be met with harsh backlash, and sometimes even legal action.

Reading that, some people may feel shocked, offended, or even targeted.  However, there is no level of empathy, let alone lack thereof, with which you may see just how horrible it feels for individuals to live in fear for their lives over something which they cannot control. Nobody should fear for their existence because of your “opinion”. 

In the eyes of Derek Chauvin, the only crime that George Floyd committed while living, apart from an alleged fraud of a 20 dollar cheque, was the fact that he was black. He choked an innocent man to death by choosing to kneel on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, even though Floyd was restrained, did not resist arrest and was unarmed. The obviously concerning fact is that the officer knew it was very unlikely that he would have faced the consequences, judging by his long history of complaints for his conduct. The lives of people of colour are often not considered worthy of justice or respect. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 01: protesters with a “BLACK LIVES MATTER” sign march through Center City on June 1, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrations have erupted all across the country in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota while in police custody a week ago. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

But racism is not exclusive to the United States, as much as we wish it was. 

In Malta, most people have come out speaking in favour of the black lives matter movement in the United States while ignoring migrants abandoned at sea in the same breath. People claim to care about other people’s lives while letting migrants, who have crossed a dangerous sea in hopes of a better life, die. Malta is no different. We have the same prejudices as the rest of the world. And it is even worse because we think we are above it. 

In the words of Will Smith, “Racism isn’t getting worse, it’s getting filmed.” The blatant hatred that is once again coming to light after decades of lurking in the shadows, is no longer something we can ignore. We can no longer tolerate it, we should have never tolerated it, and we will never tolerate it again.  We cannot say our lives matter until black lives do too.

Written by: Charlene Camillieri

(This article was originally posted on civilsocietymt.com)


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