In the middle of this global pandemic a young man was murdered by a police officer kneeling on this neck in the street during an arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill. His name was George Floyd and I'm sure you've heard this story. Sadly, this is not the first time a black man has been murdered in the hands of the police and it likely wont be the last.
Footage of the arrest was posted on social media and spread across the world faster than coronavirus. Unsurprisingly the footage upset many and lead to uproar and protests worldwide. It brought awareness to thousands of injustices faced by black and ethnic minorities in most western societies.
Police are more likely to stop black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. They are then more likely to be charged and given a harsher sentence. There is also increased risk of harm and death from the first police interaction, with a disproportionate number of blacks dying in police custody. There are people who argue that BAME groups commit more crimes and thus should be stopped more often. However this is not necessarily true. Some statistics may find that this is the case but you cant always take statistics a face value. If police stop more BAME groups then they are more likely to get caught but this doesn't mean that white people aren't committing the crimes, it could just be they are not getting caught. We must also look at why people commit crime, often due to socio-economic reasons. Unfortunately, due to further societal issues, BAME groups are more likely to be in worse socio-economic situations. Thus if we could improve this BAME groups may not commit as many crimes.
The justice system is not the only problem BAME groups face. The university of Oxford released a report stating that BAME groups send roughly 70-90% more job applications than white Britons to receive the same number of call backs. There could be many reasons for this including recruiting staff unconsciously being racists. Other reasons may include the lack of contacts, lack of experience and 'cultural differences' which employers may think would not fit in their office environment (also known as reasoning and explanation for their racism to make themselves feel better). However, BAME people could in fact help your business. The different backgrounds and experiences mean that BAME people could give a different perspective on all aspects of your business and allow you to tap into a wider market. Instead many BAME people get stuck in a cycle of joblessness and poor socio-economic status. Understandably, this can lead to anger at society and force people to find other (illegal) ways to make money. Some companies are trying to combat unconscious bias by omitting names and photos from the initial application process. However some companies are doing the opposite and specifically request photos alongside the application.
Sadly, there a biases in many other areas of society, including in healthcare, education and entertainment. It is clear that society treats BAME groups unfairly. The murder of George Floyd brought this into light for many (especially white) people and while this is not a new problem it is an important one. Not too long ago racism was widely accepted and even encouraged. Since then society has learnt a lot and come far but its not good enough yet! It takes time to unlearn hundreds of years of bias. BAME people for a long time have accepted these biases because it was a lot better than before but we are still miles away from equality. BAME people are all people, like you and me, just with hundreds more barriers in the way of their goals.
George Floyd has proven that one person can make a big impact on the world, and so can you. You can help improve society by being the change you want to see. If you are an employer, make a conscious effort to reduce racist practices in the workplace. I you can afford to, support BAME authors, producers and artists by buying books, art and watching films and series by BAME people. You can educate yourself and others by doing research and talking to BAME people then pass on that information to friends and family. Share information on social media, go to protests/ marches and support BAME groups as much as you can in any way you can. Although George Floyd was murdered almost three months ago and social media support for #BlackLivesMatter faded, the problem is not solved and we should not stop supporting the movement until there is no longer a need for the movement.