By Zinhle Geluk
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY News.
The past few weeks have been filled with protests globally and nationally. These protests have come as a result of a societal ill that, till today, still affects millions of people of colour and continues to rear its ugly head time-and-time again: Racism. On 25 May 2020, a black man by the name of George Floyd was arrested on a false charge of passing a counterfeit note at a grocery store in Minneapolis. He died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes. His last words: “I can’t breathe”.
This brought enormous outrage to the international community and caused interrogation towards our current society. It evoked us to reflect on the past and present to realise that we are still quite far in the fight towards racism, especially in the present day with the manifestation of systemic racism in the workplace, white-owned media, classrooms and social spaces, just to name a few. This experience of socio-political subjugation was compounded with invalidation when a collective of mostly white people, instead of acknowledging the generations of subjugation experienced by black and brown lives, came up with the All Lives Matter movement.
One has to wonder how on earth are we going to deal with the core issue at hand if we constantly prioritise marginalised groups, such as people of colour, womxn, trans and queer lives. It speaks to a question of what allyship looks like, as it seems to apply to privileged groups when it suits them, and doesn’t remain consistent.
Viola Davis, an award-winning actress and the main character of How to get away with murder, took to social media to express her thoughts on the matter and encouraged people to not give up on the struggle. “We will no longer be silent when we are being erased. We will no longer work overtime to make you comfortable in the midst of microagressions and hate”. There always is a constant need to continue fighting for reform to be in a society where we live oppression-free.
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