Racism in America

  • Many attacks on Black community in past few months

  • Removal of Confederate flags

  • Structural problems and policy issues

  • Black community in anger and despair

 Venkata Kondubhatla

Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina and an Indian American, Monday said that the Confederate flag outside the State House should be removed. Subsequently, other states such as Kentucky and Alabama followed in advocating the removal of the flags.

Haley’s call came in the wake of a terrible attack that left nine blacks dead last week. Dylann Roof, 21, a white supremacist, entered a Black church in Charleston, S.C., and shot them. This is the sequence of a chain ofattacks on the Blacks in the recent past.

Even before Americans recovered from the Ferguson incident, where a police officer killed a Black teenager Mike Brown on the street in Aug 2014, more attacks on blacks happened with frequency.

A Black vendor was strangled to death by a police officer in New York.  The video footage of that death caused furor among the African-American community. A similar attack happened in less than a year in South Carolina, where a police officer shot a Black person who was running away from him. A pedestrian recorded the shots and that video went viral on the YouTube. Maryland, Cincinnati, OH,have seen similar incidents where blacks were killed including young ones in the last one-year.

Protests have begun all over the country. The ones in Maryland, Ferguson and New York have turned violent causing property damage and disrupting normalcy. All this has angered the Black community, and yet one more attack in Charleston has shaken them.

President Obama speaking to the media after the Charleston incident became emotional and said, “This type of mass violence does not happen in any other advanced country with this frequency. “ He also said that someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting hands on the gun.

Some contend that there are few structural issues in the system that needs to be looked at.  One of them is the gun control. As president said, Mr. Roof had no trouble getting a gun. Anyone with no criminal record can buy a gun in America. In 2012, an ill-minded person shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT. Even so, little has changed with the gun culture in the country since then.

Another issue is with the police aggression. Shooting a Black person has become a common incident in the country. Many of the officials have perpetrated those crimes with impunity. The support from the higher officials, courts have made the police violence more common. Petty infringements of law could kill Blacks, as in the case of New York where a Black was charged with selling single cigarettes and was later strangled to death at the time of arrest.

As the protests soared, so were the crimes against the Black community. The community is angry and indespair.

Even after more than 150 years of civil war, the racism still haunts the community. The Confederate flag is the symbol of the confederation of the southern states that supported slavery in their states. They joined with each other to fight against the United States Government between 1861 and 1865. The Confederacy soon disappeared, but the flags still flutter outside the State Houses of these states.

Haley’s call to remove the flag is thus relevant to the ongoing hate crimes in the country. Alabama has removed the Confederate flag today and more states may soon follow, but abatement the violence may require sweeping changes to some of the policies as some argue.  Meanwhile, removing the flags may help in bringing some hope to the community.

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