Eight minutes and forty-six seconds. 526 seconds in total. In the same time, more than 2,000 children are born into a world in which lives are not classed as equal.

Many people seem to believe that racism stops at the American border. Do you believe that? Image: Life Matters via Pexels.com

Eight minutes and forty-six seconds is how long George Floyd was held down by a U.S. police officer.

On 25 May, George Floyd’s death became a pivotal moment, not just within black history, but within the history of every single person alive today. For eight minutes and forty-six seconds too long , Mr Floyd died in the arms of the police because of the colour of his skin and the stereotypes that come with it.

Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Lorenzo Dean, Eric Reason, George Floyd and countless others. How many black people have to die for the world to realise that black lives matter? We are human and we deserve to be seen.

Many people seem to believe that racism stops at the American border. Do you believe that?

George Floyd’s death struck the heart of the black community in the U.S. and around the world, especially within the U.K. As a predominantly white nation, it may seem unclear to those who are not of colour where the racism lies within the U.K.

This has led to comments in some media suggesting that it simply doesn’t exist here or isn’t prevalent. This rhetoric has been spread not just by the public but by politicians as well.

In addition to this, topics such as white privilege are often disregarded due to many people who are not of colour believing that black people can also be racist.

Some believe that issues such as police brutality happen to all races – and yes, many white people have died in the arms of police, but it is clear that these cases are not racially motivated.

For over 400 years, the black community has been overlooked, whether this be in education, the job market or the economy. Black people have always been at a disadvantage since and before slavery.

Therefore, due to historical reasoning, when it comes to racism, a black person cannot be racist. The definition of racism involves thinking that your race is superior to another.

It is impossible for someone of colour to feel as if they have a hierarchy within society due to their skin colour. We are outnumbered.

We have been taught to accept our minority status and to stay that way – not to build on what we have, not to build on our talents, our brains or our abilities. 

The black community cannot be superior, as we have been condemned to work for white people for over 400 years, with no end in sight.

George Floyd’s death has sparked protests across the world. Image: Life Matters via Pexels.com

White privilege is not having to worry about whether your skin colour is going to affect your everyday life. White privilege is not having to constantly be ready to explain to someone where you come from or why your skin looks the way it does.

It’s not having to explain to your children or grandchildren that, some day, somebody will not want be friends with you because you’re darker than them. This isn’t even scratching the surface.

Many black people have to work harder in life to be able to sit at the same table. Some are treated as statistics, necessary to fill a seat. Many are seen as incapable or unproductive.

All of these stereotypes follow the black community and make up just one example of the ways in which racism is prevalent in the U.K.

These problems branch into the highest areas of leadership. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for example, is surrounded by a cabinet that includes very few people of colour.

This isn’t a conflict between white people and black people: this is a battle between black people and racists.

Racism is alive within the U.K., from covert racism to institutional racism, and it’s time to change.

In Lincoln, a recent protest on 4 June aimed to give a voice to these issues. Leonard Chatonzwa, who organised the demonstration, said he felt as if he had a responsibility to take charge of the protest to prevent it being postponed due to its previous organisers being white.

“I had never been to a protest before but it was just too important to postpone. I knew something had to be done,” he said, adding that there are a lot of problems and that “every black person will or has experienced racism within their lifetime”.

Mr Chatonzwa told of his own experience with racism in secondary school: a racial slur thrown at him by a white man.

Following the protest’s success, Mr Chatonzwa said he hoped it showed young people that they can make a change, and that the movement shouldn’t stop there, setting his sights on the education system.

For those wanting to get involved, participating in a demonstration and educating yourself on black history are important steps.

It isn’t just white people who should learn – everybody can gain new knowledge and help to make a difference.

Make black lives matter!

A second protest is planned for Saturday at 5pm, starting at the campus library in Lincoln.

Eight minutes and forty-six seconds was over too quickly for George Floyd but it’s enough time for you to make the right decision.

By Chanté Bridge

News Editor at The Linc.

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