African Americans have been complaining for far too long about their unjust treatment by police all over the U.S., and have been dismissed for the most part until recently when cell phone video exposed the reality. But despite numerous videos of police brutality against black Americans, calls for justice and change fell on deaf ears. An American spring of awakening, a revolution of sorts, might be the only way for change to happen.
I have never witnessed before the number of protests around the nation that we are seeing now, and the support across racial lines, for an end to injustice against black Americans. I think we reached a tipping point where people are fed up to the point that even during a pandemic they are willing to take the risks to send a message that police brutality will no longer be accepted.
We must understand that police brutality against black Americans -- and not to forget Latino and to a lesser extent white Americans -- is not isolated acts by a few "bad apples" but a system-wide problem that needs fixing. Though there is still denial that racism is a systemic problem among police forces across the nation. A little under 60 years ago, black Americans were openly segregated and denied equal rights in all aspects of society, including education and even the right to vote. The only way that African Americans could get their civil rights was through civil disobedience, which by the way was met with violent police response in some areas. By now we should all remember the pictures of police dogs sent to attack children in Alabama by the authorities there at the time. Through many sacrifices, African Americans were able to gain many of their rights, but not all. Systemic racism did not end and is still very much alive in many aspects of society.
But this problem can be fixed. We can reform police departments and retrain police officers to deal with everyone equally and to use mitigating tactics instead of treating everyone as the enemy. There is more than one example out there where police used a non-combative approach to dealing with crimes. I'm sure if we put our minds and resources into it we can fix the problem. But it requires a concerted effort and support from those in power, which only marginally exists. We still have a lot of work left to achieve that level.
America is only great when its leaders, in government and society, respect human rights, and are fair and just in their treatment of others. We cannot claim to be a world leader and an advanced society if fallacies and superstitions — which is what racism is based upon — are oppressing a part of our society. Every American, regardless of their race, should speak up and stand up against the injustices that are taking place, if we are to survive as a society.
About 9 years ago, massive popular uprisings broke out all over the Middle East and were dubbed the Arab Spring. The people succeeded to topple some of their leaders, but for the most part, the uprisings did not achieve their goal of establishing fair democratic governments. And in some places, there are battles that are still raging on. However, I think the American spring can succeed. We already have an advantage in the U.S., because we have an established democratic infrastructure that makes reform a lot easier. We also have the added benefit of hindsight, where we can learn from others' mistakes and come up with a successful plan to achieve our objective.