The news of a guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder has seen much celebration across social media that justice had finally been served. The fact Derek Chauvin was found guilty should be seen as a way for the family of George Floyd to get some closure to the brutal killing of their son, brother and father. However, this does not remove the burden of oppression from American society or the state.
As if to push home the point that nothing has changed in American society just 25 minutes before the verdict in the Chauvin case was passed Makiyah Bryant a 15 year old Black girl was shot dead by police in Ohio. She had apparently been brandishing a knife before being shot multiple times. There is a clear policy of shoot first and ask questions later when black Americans are involved.
The death of Makiyah Bryant adds to the many other police killings since the George Floyd incident in 2020. The website Statista reported “…the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 213 civilians having been shot, 30 of whom were black, in the first three months of 2021.”
The issues over race are not confined to the police force, as the society from which these police officers are recruited suffer from the same problem. In the last few weeks America has suffered from a spate of race related hate crimes against both black and Asian minorities.
The conviction of Chauvin will put him behind bars for many decades. The sad reality is that the race problem in America will outlast Chauvin and many generations to come. This is not to be pessimistic about change but to be realistic about how an ideology fixated upon a chaotic rat race to the top can never create a harmonious and civilised society.
The verdict simply shows that if someone videos a police officer kneeling on a man’s neck for over eight minutes, and he dies, there is now a chance the officer will go to jail. The fact that American society marginalises millions of black Americans everyday and nothing much changes is the real barometer of change, not one court case.
A truly “just” nation isn’t one that simply convicts (on occasion) its racists but a society that protects the sanctity, honour and dignity of every citizen irrespective of race. America is a nation built on the slavery of men, its economy enslaves the poor, its foreign policy brutalises the weak and it only knows how to serve justice down the barrel of a gun.
The race problems in America and across the world are as a direct result of the ideological failings of capitalism, a worldview that only knows how to divide and conquer.
Islam does not see the race problem from a secular lens and viewpoint, rather it creates a society based on mutual respect and acceptance.
As America continues to battle the race-problem, Islam provided the solution when the Prophet (ﷺ) said
“…an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action.”