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US remains suffocated by racism two years after Floyd's tragedy
May 27,2022   By:Xinhua
May 27, 2022 -- Two years ago, 46-year-old unarmed African American George Floyd died handcuffed, gasping for air under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.
Footage of his last words pleading, "I can't breathe" set off collective grief and anger, which evolved into a modern-day civil rights movement that had brewed for years. Unfortunately, little progress has been made in advancing black civil rights since.
Despite mounting calls for racial justice and police overhauls, the Floyd tragedy continues unabated in a country where white supremacy remains widespread. Floyd's murder was nothing new -- it merely came to the fore while many more unknown "Floyds" remain out there.
A New York Times report in April cited an investigation released by the Department of Human Rights of the US state of Minnesota showing that the Minneapolis Police Department routinely engages in several forms of racially discriminatory policing, fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct and has used fake social media accounts to target black people and organizations.
Real change feels elusive, especially for many black Americans, who have been living under the shadows of systemic racism and ingrained injustice across the country. They know all too well that those officers were held accountable in large part due to a simmering outcry. After all the complaints filed, tears dropped, blood shed, rallies launched and reform bills grilled in the Senate, the disproportionate use of excessive, often lethal, force against people of color continued relentlessly.
One of the most recent cases involved Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old black man fatally shot in the back of the head while face down by a Michigan police officer during a traffic stop.
In a poll jointly conducted with the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research earlier this year, the Associated Press found that few Americans believe there has been significant progress over the last 50 years in achieving equal treatment for black people in dealings with police and the criminal justice system. Black Americans, many of whom held hope in Democrats' promises on racial justice initiatives in 2020, are especially pessimistic about future progress in this regard.
Instead, after chanting for years about racial justice and vowing police reform, White House politicians are talking more about bolstering the police for "public safety." The current administration has deviated from its promise to voters, hell-bent on increasing police numbers.
Fading trust in police and the judicial system is corroding public faith and poisoning the social climate.
Across the country, racial profiling against African-Americans occurs daily and on almost every front, from education and employment to healthcare. Furthermore, staggering wealth and immunity gaps harm communities of color.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare underlying inequalities and cracks in the US system. Among over 1 million lives lost to the coronavirus, communities of color were hit hardest due to failed access to health insurance and vaccines.
"Racial inequality was baked into the recipe of the creation of the United States of America," Brookings senior fellow Rashawn Ray argued. From plunder and oppression in the earlier establishment of the country to lynching and exclusion that have persisted until today, racist traditions are deeply embedded in America and fit nicely into a culture that is numb, or perhaps opposed, to oversight and accountability when it comes to racial justice.
The United States, long believed to be a melting pot that embraces diversity, has chosen to oppress minority communities, turning the American dream into a nightmare for many.
What lies behind these chronic woes is a long-overdue response by self-serving political elites, more obsessed with political posturing than passing legislation to bring necessary change.
The time has come for the United States to truly mend its extensive racism and heal the wounds of a divided society.
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