WHY THE INTERNET IS AN ALLY TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY
The barbaric, underserving, brutal deaths of people of colour in the last few weeks has rocked the world. The fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in her own apartment by police officers and the killing of George Flyod, again, by police officers, are just two examples. There are countless others who have suffered the same fate.
Eric Garner, a 43 year old man was wrestled to the ground by a police officer and put in a chokehold until his body went limp. Video footage of the incident captured him gasping, “I can’t breathe.” He was pronounced dead by medics.
Freddie Gay, a 25 year old man died while in police custody. Medical reports revealed that he suffered serious spinal injuries. The injuries were so severe that he fell into a coma and later died.
Tanisha Anderson who was slammed to the ground by police officers, stopped breathing and was later declared dead. All this happened in front of her home in Cleveland.
Deborah Danner who was fatally shot twice in her torso by another NYPD officer.
Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old was murdered by a neighbourhood officer, apparently because being black and wearing a hoodie are crimes so serious that they deserve a bullet.
What do these deaths have in common? A majority of the victims were black. Something else that they have in common is that most of these deaths were caught on camera and widely circulated.
For this article, I shall use the death of George Floyd. May the Lord rest his soul in peace. His senseless death was captured in an eight minute and forty six seconds video. Eight minutes of pleading. Eight minutes of a white police officer’s knee snuffing the life out him. Eight minutes of his fellow police officers standing guard, aiding and abetting the murder. All this happening in broad day light!
As Will Smith rightly said, “Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s getting filmed.”
The footage of George Flyod’s death has been circulated all over the world. His death has sparked protests from America to Europe. From South America to Africa to Asia. The internet has made it possible for the pain of black to reverberate all across the world. We have witnessed global solidarity like never before. Artists, captains of industry, children, athletes and so many more have raised their voices against racial oppression. We have seen people from all walks of life join the cause and play their part in righting this wrong that has been perpetuated for centuries against black people.
The internet has been the medium of choice. The internet has made it possible for this pain to be expressed, shared and channelled to achieve the much needed change. We have seen artists like Beyoncé use their huge following to circulate an online appeal aimed at ending police brutality.
We have seen the officers involved in George Floyd’s murder arrested and convicted.
We have seen the Breonna Taylor Law banning ‘No-Knock Warrants’ passed in Louisville Kentucky.
We have seen several cities initiate police reforms to correct the systemic racism in policing. In the words of the Minneapolis City Council President; “Our commitment is to end policing as we know it and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.” Lawmakers in New York signed a bill that will repeal a decades-old measure that protected police officers from being held accountable.
California, Nevada, Texas and Washington have banned the use of chokeholds by police.
Is this enough? NO! However, it is progress. Progress that would not have been possible without the internet bringing the pain of this injustice into our living rooms.
In the immortal words of Nelson Mandela;
“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”