The civil rights movement in the United States is by far one of the most important in living history. The movement has had to endure a lot to progress to where we are today. Several iconic (and often tragic) turning points mark its history. From the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X to Muhammad Ali’s fiery defence of his stance on Vietnam. People of colour, and African Americans in particular, have been core to the civil rights struggle in the United States. But decades later in the 21st Century, smartphone cameras tell us racism is still alive and well. What could this mean for the country? Read on for more information on this phenomenon.
Recorded Videos Only Show What Is There
As the world gets smaller, word gets around faster. Of course, large infrastructures such as those belonging to Call Spectrum have helped. Affordable tech to connect to the internet has made smartphones accessible and powerful. And all of these are now playing a crucial role in bringing the ugly face of modern racism to light.
Things seem to be getting worse, but they always have been this bad. Will Smith probably had it right when he talked along those lines. What the Men In Black actor here refers to is a system that has always favoured a particular segment at the expense of others. Videos like the George Floyd tragedy in Minnesota only reflect what already exists. It is just more visible now.
How Racism Avoided Public Outrage
The concept of systemic racism is contentious. But there is no denying the socio-economic disparity among communities based on their race or ethnicity. Most of us see videos of horrifying racist abuse inflicted on people of colour more often now than ever before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean racism has only just begun to reemerge.
It could imply that it never went anywhere, to begin with. Before woke culture began gaining mainstream traction, it wasn’t even hidden that well. People of colour have been stereotyped and at the same time, their cultures were appropriated. Communities have suffered bias and discrimination. And there have been enough instances of outright hateful racism. People of colour often have the highest number of victims of violent crime. And as a result of the unassailable “system”, too many of us have believed it to be normal. “It’s just the way things are” however, is false. A truer statement would be “It’s just the way things have always been”.
Video Evidence Can Prove Thriving Racism
Cameras on every hand are an entirely new phenomenon. But recording race-fueled violence isn’t a new concept. Civil rights activists would do the same thing. Documenting acts of racist abuse and even violence is never easy. But the recording itself could serve to preserve the truth. This documented video could then inspire outrage in a larger community. Far more effectively than narrating the incident. Racist incidents caught on video suddenly become far more real.
The same applied in the horrific slayings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have had the same effect. But on a much grander scale. The digital world is entirely unique. The widespread access and use of social media platforms and news forums have been gamechanger. It has not only served to begin educating more people on racism. But it has also been a catalyst for a renewed focus on civil rights. The videos of both incidents sparked nationwide outrage. And they also gained global visibility. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is the perfect example of how tech like cameras and social media could fight racism.
How You Can Help
Of course, recording and sharing videos will generally raise awareness and even trigger action. But only a more long-term problem will eradicate racism. Video evidence only shows the symptoms. The cure for the disease itself lies in changing mindsets. While the blanket change could take a while, you could speed it up by stepping up. Be the voice of tolerance and acceptance among your communities. Offer a safe space to marginalized individuals. Let them voice their concerns instead of speaking for them. And never tolerant of even the most casual forms of racism.
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