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Shout “Black Lives Matter”

Black civil rights movements have continued around the world, but racial discrimination is not easily resolved. As the death of the black man George Floyd by a white police officer during an inhumane repression process in the United States, the issue of racial discrimination has begun to draw more attention. Now people all over the world are angry over the incident, shouting "Black Lives Matter" and many people are leading racist protests. Let's find out about the George Floyd incident and understand the world's view of black racism and our country's response.

 

What is Racism Discrimination?

All races can be distinguished by differences in biological characteristics such as differences in skeletal, skin, and hair formed during the process of adapting to the natural environment. From these differences, ‘Racial Discrimination’ is an act discrimination in which a certain human group that feels a sense of kinship, disrespects a different human group. Racial discrimination is magnified, especially spread by white supremacy in the United States. The issue of racism has now expanded beyond discrimination between blacks and whites to social problems due to differences in nationality, gender, and religion.

Particularly in the United States, the problem is that the phenomenon of racial discrimination leads to crime. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announcement in November 2019, 7,120 hate crimes occurred in 2018. Among them, crimes including prejudice against race, ethnicity, are 57.5 percent and this percentage accounts for more than half. American blacks are the victims 46.9 %  of these hate crimes and have the most damage. Also, the problem of racism can be seen through statistics on unemployment. Because of the Corona virus has spread worldwide in 2020, many companies needed to restructure. In this restructuring process, some racial groups are targets of restructuring, so unbalanced damage about races has occurred. According to the results of a joint survey released by the Washington Post and polling agency 'Ipsos' on May 6, 2020, Hispanics were about twice as likely as whites to lose their jobs due to the Corona 19, and blacks were found to be the second highest. Since the outbreak of the Corona 19 virus, 20 percent of Hispanic employees and 16 percent of Black employees were laid off, but the rate of layoff for white employees was only 11 percent, which was significantly lower.

 

The issue of Racial Discrimination

The issue of racism has always been argued as a global issue, but at this time it is drawing particular attention. Let's take a look at the current world's hot potato, George Floyd's case and its problems.

In May 2020, in the United States, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the black man George Floyd was killed by the excessive suppression by a white policeman. The staff of the restaurant Floyd visited suspected the 20 dollars he had paid was counterfeit money, so the staff decided to call the police and the police were mobilized. Polices said Floyd, a suspect in the use of counterfeit money, followed the request of police to get out of his car, but he was handcuffed after physical resistance. But nearby CCTVs showed no physical resistance from the moment he first met the police until they overpowered him. The white police officer Derek Shobin who belong to Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) pressed Floyd's neck with his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and Floyd complained of pain, that he couldn't breathe with his nose bleeding, but police ignored it and Floyd lost consciousness. Although the surrounding citizens tried to dissuadethe police from doing that, the other officers who were t here were aware that Floyd was unconscious and in a state of cardioplegia, the police continued to suppress him. After this, Floyd was taken to the hospital but died. The day after the incident, a total of four people, including Derek Chauvin who directly used force to Floyd, Thomas Lane who grabbed out with him, J. Alexander Kuhn and Tu Tao who watched the scene from the side, were fired, of whom Derek Shobin was charged with second-degree murder. With the spread of the video clip about the arrest, citizens in Minneapolis were out on the streets to protest and shout "Black lives matter".

 

During the many controversies that Black men do not have sufficient support of the U.S. government about Corona 19, while the George Floyd incident spread, the anger of Americans exploded and countless people took to the streets. Demonstrations began in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020 and spread to at least 20 states and 30 cities in five days, expanding into nationwide demonstrations. The demonstrations are extempore and multiple in many parts of the country and different demonstrators have different tendencies.

Some demonstrators just march peacefully. It was be also seen that U.S. police were kneeling down to show courtesy to peaceful demonstrators. Their kneeling position is from the 'Taking a Knee' movement, which was first launched in August 2016 by Colin Kaepernick, a former football player and human rights activist. This indicates their volition to opposed racism. Also, police and protesters marched together and protested peacefully on May 30, 2020 in Flint, Michigan. On this day, sheriff Chris Swanson felt signs of intensifying the protests and suddenly put down all his protective gear and overpowering tools and approached the protesters. He said, "We want to walk with you" and "The protests that we started in a good sense can be destroyed by only one action,” and induced a peaceful march. The protesters agreed with Swanson, so police and protesters marched together. And there were no riots in Flint City and peace protests continued to this day.

On the other hand, there were violent demonstrators armed with firebombs and various weapons, attacking police cars and police stations. Also, some demonstrators looted and commited arson, moving around the neighborhood, when they saw opportunity with a lack of police force. According to the 'Reuters' and the 'Associated Press (AP)' on May 31, 2020, demonstrations in at least 75 cities across the U.S. have been in the form of riots with looting and arson, followed by shootings. Also, at least four people have been killed. More than 1,600 protesters were arrested and more than 100 police officers were injured. The video that posted on SNS by Sergio Olmos, a writer and journalist, has become a hot topic around the world. The video showed the violence citizens enter the Louis Vuitton store without permission and stealing the bags on display and the windows of the Gucci store was in broken pieces. In Washington, D.C., protesters came near the White House, and protesters clashed with Secret Service (SS) officials guarding the White House. So, the defense crops were deployed outside the White House. The Ministry of Patriots-Veterans building near the White House was damaged by protesters, and shattered window glass covered the sidewalk. Protesters scribbled abusive language against President Donald Trump on the walls of the building. Because of this pattern of violent demonstrations, the U.S. government is debating whether this demonstration is defined as a riot or a just protest.

On June 24, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized anti-racism protests nationwide, saying, "This is not a peaceful political movement, but an act of terrorists, dictators and people who do not love our country." President Trump insists that "protestors hate our history" and "they hate our value and everything that we cherish as Americans" about the damage to cultural assets by protestor. In addition, President Donald Trump posted a message on Twitter and Facebook at the same time on May 29, 2020, saying, "when the looting starts the shooting starts." In response, Twitter said, "This tweet violated Twitter's operating principles regarding glorifying acts of violence," but it was exposed at Facebook. Companies joined the Facebook Boycott campaign, because Facebook didn’t take any action against U.S. President Donald Trump's unreasonable message. 160 companies, including global companies such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola and Unilever, have declared that they will stop posting advertisements on Facebook. So, Facebook stock prices fell. According to Bloomberg News, Facebook's stock price fell8.3 percent as the biggest drop in the past three months, causing that its market capitalization to lose $56 billion (about 67.2 trillion won) in just one day.

 

Expansion of Racial Discrimination

The "Black Lives Matter" protests have spread to the world beyond the United States. While protests are expanding around the world, the combination of another civil rights movement in each country stands out.

First, we can look at the form of demonstrations in England. As anti-racism protests that began in the U.S. spread to countries around the world, massive demonstrations have also been held in major European cities. On June 7-8, 2020, more than 200 demonstrations to honor George Floyd were held in London, Manchester, Britain, and Sheffield. It is estimated that about 140,000 people participated in the protests. Especially in downtown Brittle of southwestern British city, more than 10,000 protesters roped the statue of Edward Colston, dragged it down and trampled into the ground. Edward Colston, who was active in the 1800s, worked as a trading company official, captured about 100,000 slaves from Africa and sold them in Europe. However, after the British Glorious Revolution, Colston was transformed into a philanthropist, so Colston's statue was erected. Therefore, it was quite controversial to set up a statue of him. Some protesters pretended to press the neck of the statue with one knee, and this is the act that “paid back” the action of white police that lkilled George Floyd. What's noteworthy in this demonstration is that it was white people who broke the statue and shouted 'Black Lives Matter.' British media reported that the protest will mark a turning point in the perception of racism that has been deeply rooted in British society.

Second, let's look at Australia. On June 7, 2020, about 50,000 people from all over Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, gathered for the 'Black Lives Matter' march to protest the George Floyd incident. In addition, the protests were held with the meaning that they must improve thinking about the civil rights of blacks and natives. In this protest, participants advanced with the 'black lives matter' picket and the 'aborigine lives matter' picket. Also, it is discussed again that Black Australian Native David Dungay was overpowered by four prison guards at Sydney Long Bay Prison in 2015 and he eventually died. Bereaved family members requested a reinvestigation about the case, saying the last word before he died was "I can't breathe" like Floyd, and Aboriginal groups also requested a reinvestigation of the case. According to a CNN report on June 10, Australian protesters participated in the march not only to express anger over racial discrimination in the U.S. against blacks but also to bring attention to deep-rooted discrimination against natives in the country. In fact, according to a study published by the Australian National University on May 9, 2020, 75% of Australians have a negative view of Aborigines. Through this demonstration, however, the Australian public seems to be increasingly awareness that the prejudice of domestic racism should change. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also acknowledging the problems of discriminatory treatment against the natives, said "the Australian government is trying to resolve the issue."

 

 

Clear trace of Racial Discrimination

With the spread of the anti-racism movement around the world, companies are also starting a campaign to erase traces of racism in their own ways.

Following the worldwide anti-racism protests, there is an increasing number of requests, especially through the social media, for ending of sales and boycotting of products containing racist elements,. In particular, there have been a lot of complaints about cosmetics companies, and cosmetics companies are struggling to erase racial discrimination. According to Reuters on June 26, 2020, L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics company, has decided to remove words such as whitening, white, fair, and light in cosmetics descriptions. Also, Johnson & Johnson, the cosmetics company, said "We will not sell whitening cream in Asia and the Middle East." Johnson & Johnson said, "We recognized that it was wrong for certain products to say 'white and bright skin is better than your own skin color'."

Disneyland ride has sparked controversy about racial discrimination, so Walt Disney is planning to remodel a Disneyland ride to the 'story of a black princess.' According to CNN on June 25, 2020, Disney announced that they will change the theme of popular ride, "Splash Mountain," which is installed in Disneyland, California, and Disney World, Florida. The current theme of Splash Mountain is the 1946 musical film "Songs of the South," which has been criticized for romanticizing image of the southern region, where deep racist practices remained even after the abolition of slavery. The recent boycott of products and services containing a history of racism has prompted attention, so a petition to change the theme of Splash Mountain was posted on the global online petition site 'Change,’ and signed by more than 20,000 people. Thus, Disney announced that they would accept the petition and change the theme of Splash Mountain to 'The Princess and the Frog.' The animation "The Princess and The Frog," released in 2009, has the first black princess in Disney's history and main character is Tiana, an enterprising black girl. In a statement, Disney said, 'Tiana is a modern and courageous female character,' adding that 'the new theme of the Splash Mountain will be catholicity and diversity.'

 

 

Racial Discrimination in Korea

Then, do we have problems related to racial discrimination in Korea? Let's take a look at the issue of racism in Korea and further look at reactions to the George Floyd case.

Korea also has not been positive in terms of looking to black people. The National Human Rights Commission conducted a survey of 310 migrants from July 22 to September 5, 2019. According to the survey results, 68.4 percent of the respondents, in other word 7 out of 10, said that racial discrimination exists in Korean society. Furthermore, black women living in Korea have formed a group called 'BWIK (Black Women In Korea)' with more than 700 black women. In this group, they give each other advice and help. In an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on March 9, 2019, a black woman in this group talked about racism that she experienced at a restaurant near Hongdae, Seoul. When she entered a restaurant for a meal, a drunken Korean customer next to her felt repulsion by her presence and shouted her to "get out." Despite her leaving the restaurant, the drunk kept shouting, finally the police were dispatched to the scene and the situation ended. In this way, we can know that the gaze about black people in Korea is not warm.

Although Korea had a culture of racism, many people were aware of the issue of racism and demonstrated together after the George Floyd incident.

 

A memorial demonstration about the George Floyd case was held in Myeong-dong, Seoul on June 6, 2020. About 100 participants dressed in black clothes, to show mourning, held a "Black Lives Matter" picket, marched silently from Myeong-dong, Seoul to Hanbit Square in Cheonggyecheon. When the protesters arrived at Hanbit Square, they knelt for a minute and mourned George Floyd with their eyes closed as the guidance of the host. Shim Ji-hoon, the organizer of the memorial demonstration, said, "Racism in the U.S. is not a story of another country," adding, "This is a matter that needs solidarity as many ethnic groups live together in Korea." African-American participant Julian (34) said, "After I see people gathered, I was so grateful and I cried. The solidarity demonstration will send a message that the world is for everyone." According to a report by U.S. entertainment media Variety on June 6, 2020, BTS donated $1 million (about 1.2 billion won) with Big Hit Entertainment agency to 'Black Lives Matter' center, a black human rights activist group. In addition, celebrities such as Rain, Taeyang of Big Bang, Park Jae-beom, Hwasa of Mamamoo, Bae Doo-na, and Lim Soo-jung are voicing their opposition to racial discrimination, and support for anti-racism campaigns spreading in Korea.

 

 

Everyone should live with equal rights. In this global age, we must constantly strive to create a society where no one is unfairly discriminated against. This "Black Lives Matter" movement is our cry for a more equal world. Beginning with this incident, we hope that the world will join forces and create a society where human rights of black people are guaranteed anywhere. Finally, we shout "All Lives Matter" with hopes of a global village where human rights are guaranteed not only for blacks but also for all marginalized people in the world.

 

박아리엘  parkariel2@gmail.com

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