“I can’t breathe”
“Please, I can’t breathe. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. … (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. … I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe”. These agonising words were whispered by a 46-year-old black man while a white police officer pinned him to the ground while he was handcuffed accusing him of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit 20$ bill. The man: Mr. George Floyd was being suffocated by the police officer’s knee into the back.
This tragic event happened on May 25 in Minneapolis (US) and a bystander video recorded the tragic incident.
Protests against racist police brutality sweep across the United States and spread around the globe.
Anti-racism protests have spread to Europe with protesters emphasising that racial profiling is not just an American phenomenon.
Similar protests have also been held in the Netherlands, Germany, France, the UK and in Italy too.
Hundreds of demonstrators are marching with different banners and claims in their hands such as: “Hands up, don’t shoot!” “We March for hope, not for hate,” and “I can’t breathe!”. But on the front line many banners are standing out with the slogan “Black lives matter”. But what does black lives matter mean?
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an international human rights movement, originating from within the African-American community, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests speaking out against police brutality and police killings of black people, and broader issues such as racial profiling, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system. After George Floyds’ murder it has become anthem, a slogan, a hashtag, and a straightforward statement of fact.
The message is central to the US protests happening right now. In my opinion “All Lives Matter” should be the right slogan because all races should join hands and stand together against racism that is the only virus that we will never eradicate. But why the problem still exists after centuries of struggles? The answer is called: “systematic racism” and it infects the very structure of our society. The deep racial and ethnic inequities that exist today are a direct result of structural racism: the historical and contemporary policies, practices, and norms that create and maintain white supremacy.