What is really causing civil unrest in America?
No intelligent person of any race is defending the cruel death of George Floyd at the hands of police for passing a $20 forged bill. The police officer who allegedly is responsible for Floyd’s death was swiftly arrested, charged with murder, and placed behind bars. His cohorts are not far behind him. The system worked as it should.
Race discrimination still exists but any objective barometer shows the problem is far less severe today.
There have been tremendous advances in policing since the 1960s when the U.S. Congress passed the nation’s major anti-discrimination laws. The last vestiges of the era of Jim Crow are gone. Race discrimination is no longer legal. Where it persists, legal avenues exist to address it.
Moreover, the development of cell phones and Black Lives Matter have effectively shone a light on the problem of racism in policing, raising awareness and fomenting change.
Due largely to EEOC guidelines, many more minorities are serving in police departments across the country, both on the ground and in the boardroom.
Minorities comprise the majority of police in some communities that are wracked with civil unrest. In Los Angeles, for example, a study showed 71% of full-time police officers were minority group members in 2013. This included 4,301 Hispanics, 3,504 whites , 1,149 blacks, 702 Asians, 211 Hawaiian’s, 36 American Indian/Alaska Natives and 17 race unknown.
Yet, marchers across the nation “protest” a culture of police brutality while young people attack police, destroy police cars and equipment, loot stores and torch small businesses.
It seems obvious the current climate of unrest reflects the economic upheaval caused by the ongoing pandemic.
People of all races who are graduating from high school and college have lost job opportunities due to the pandemic and face an uncertain and frightening future. Unemployment is at an all-time high. And even without the pandemic jobs are being lost to robotics and artificial intelligence.
It may not be a coincidence that the poor are facing a wave of evictions due to the end of moratoriums on eviction. Many will become homeless due to rising rents and housing prices.
In early days of the pandemic, corporations mercilessly exploited low-wage essential workers who are disproportionately minority group members. They were placed on the front lines without any protection from the worst pandemic in 100 years, as if they were cogs in a machine rather than precious people.
America’s disgraceful health system appears to have contributed to the disproportionate number of deaths of blacks and Hispanics from COVID-19.
Both Democratic and Republican administrations over the past 20 years adopted policies that have resulted in obscene income inequality which has diminished the middle class and made life a dispiriting and hopeless struggle for many.
President Donald Trump blames the climate of violence on left-wing anarchists and foreign radicals who are fomenting dissension. This could very well be a factor but the problem is clearly much larger.
One thing is certain. America cannot fix the problems without first acknowledging them.