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Social gap crisis may bring down America

Monday July 06 2020
seattle

Images of George Floyd are seen in the protest area known as CHOP on June 20, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. PHOTO | DAVID RYDER | GETTY IMAGES | AFP

By TOHID AFZALI

Perhaps, the historical designation of black people as non-primary citizens and the discrimination against people of colour in America is not a vague phenomenon for Kenyans and Africans in general.

Racism is a crucial element of colonisation, from which uprisings, demonstrations and social movements are created. People of colour experience a transformed type of the phenomenon, commonly known as ‘neo-colonisation’, which pertains to domination of minds and hearts or, in other words, a cultural control.

The White House’s use of police force in a bid to quell the uprising has raised concerns, particularly after the ‘knee-on-neck’ lynching of African-American George Floyd by a white policeman. The massive extraordinary protests within and without have shaken the Trump administration.

HISTORICAL RACISM

It’s important to take note of and concentrate on the historical racism, social gaps and injustices in the US since its ‘discovery’ by Christopher Columbus that resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of indigenous Americans.

When President Thomas Jefferson tried to come up with the US constitution in 1760, slavery was legal and widespread and he could not end it. President Abraham Lincoln would approve the amendment to the 13th article removing racism and slavery, but resistance against that and a culture of racism persist and are believed to be the cause of many social and historical movements in the US.

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The bone of contention is the vehement exercise of authority by the US administration as well as the foundations of rules and governance, which are rooted in discrimination against coloured citizens.

The approach towards protesters will adversely affect domestic affairs. The protests represent failure of justice, equality and human rights and demonstrate a clear social gap.

SWAY THE VOTE

Some analysts say the turmoil could favour President Donald Trump, just as the 1968 unrest helped Richard Nixon to win the presidency. Seeking to convince Americans to vote for him in November, Trump falsely argues that the violations of rule of law are a result of the protests.

During Nixon’s time, 90 per cent of the voters were white; the ratio has fallen to 67 per cent. The unrest could also encourage more people of colour and other minorities to go to the ballot, swaying the vote for the Democrats and not Trump’s Republican Party.

From other aspects, America now faces three crises: The Covid-19 pandemic, economic crisis and disorder and unrest. Trump’s endeavours to control the coronavirus are subjects of criticism and the disease has overshadowed some of his economic achievements.

The immediate effects of the situation are increasing the Covid-19 cases, economic breakdown and an rising unemployment. In addition, Trump’s mismanagement of the demonstrations has negative effects on his re-election bid.

The resulting social gap and dissatisfaction might cause continuous protests of a big magnitude and threaten national stability and unity if it does not target basic and essential reforms related to historical and fundamental racism, injustice, and social dissatisfaction.

Without real reform, not only will the image of Trump and the US but also its standing be ruined. America is in a position of deep and shaky social fault detrimental to the country.

Afzali (PhD) is an analyst in international relations. [email protected]

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