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A time to heal old wounds of racial inequality in the world

Updated: 2020-06-12 07:33:57


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The death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in police custody in Minnesota on May 25 sparked multiracial protests across the United States demanding an end to racial inequality.

Protests, solidarity marches and vigils were held in other countries such as Germany, Britain, Canada, Brazil, Australia and Japan.

While the events have led to a moment of reckoning in the US, they also pried open old wounds of inequality in other parts of the world.

Black people are of African or aboriginal lineage. Our common ancestor, the first human, appeared in Africa, research shows. Egypt, among the earliest civilizations, flourished there.

Black is also a color. It is commonly viewed as one, like white, although neither is technically defined as such in physics due to the lack of specific wavelengths.

Outside of science, the color binary has taken forms of association-good and bad-enabled by literature, language and folklore over centuries, and popular culture in the past decades. The use of stereotypical terms related to the colors, for instance, has been overlooked for long.

The role of society is central in fighting racism.

US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Bernice King, said in a TV interview last week that people need not be colorblind, Black people want to be identified by their culture, but racism is wrong.

Her father's work behind immigration laws, passed in the 1960s, had paved the way for people from elsewhere to settle in the US, some young Indian Americans and Chinese Americans pointed out on social media when educating their own communities about why they should now support the movement for racial equality.

Prince Spells, an American photographer in Beijing, told me this week he would be submitting images for a Black Lives Matter online art exhibition to be held on Sunday.

The advocacy group by the same name as the campaign was founded in the US in 2013.

Spells said his son, who is in elementary school, does not have the experience, growing up here, as he would-related to his identity (biracial)-in the West. But that he would still talk to the child about how he might be perceived by people, as a reality check.

He said there should be more education on racial equality in schools in different countries.

In Floyd's case, a white former police officer has been charged with second-degree murder, and three others at the scene with aiding and abetting, according to US media.

This is also a time to have a conversation in Asia on the topic of anti-Blackness.

Incidents of discrimination against Black people have been reported earlier. A racist advertisement for laundry detergent was taken down. Some top celebrities have endorsed skin-whitening products, seemingly without caring about the effects on consumers, one of which correlates beauty with skin color. In films from the continent, the female lead is often of light skin. Apps that alter skin tone or facial features in photos to conform to artificial standards are, sadly, popular.

Korean-pop band BTS showed initiative by announcing a donation of $1 million to the Black Lives Matter campaign and got their fans to raise another $1 million.

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