A couple of weeks ago, Thai netizens went furious and wild over a marketing gimmick on Instagram featuring a popular Thai sandwich shop account.To sum it up, the shop leveraged the Black Lives Matter mission and turned it into an unaware marketing stunt. To their credit, the shop has since posted an apology.
It made us think about Thailand’s role and response to the movement. We will be the first to admit that we don’t have the authority to speak about the movement, but we can say that it’s important to educate ourselves about the historical undertones that led to this moment.
Instead of spamming feeds with hashtags, let’s take a quick moment to go through what “systemic racism” actually is in the United States.
To really understand the core of the movement, it’s important to understand what the term means. Systemic racism is a kind that has been interwoven with society’s structure.
It exists in governments, neighbourhoods, schools and workplace. Systemic racism is actually acts of racial prejudice that is more subtle than attacks and violence, most of the time, people don’t even realize they’re doing it.
It’s part of an ingrained system, a cycle that is hard to get out of. In a very basic example, think about it like this; a neighborhood determines where an American child goes to school, then the school determines whether it can apply to a college. After college, comes the competitive job market. If you didn’t get a head start, it can be incredibly difficult to break from the cycle.
Black families in America earn just $57.30 for every $100 in income earned by white families, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.
For every $100 in white family wealth, black families hold just $5.04.
Americans, and higher-income whites in particular, vastly overestimate progress toward economic equality between blacks and whites, the psychologists reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Data from 2014 also shows that black people with college degrees are twice as likely to be unemployed as all other graduates
Nationally, only 42.2% of black people owned homes in 2016, compared with 71.9% of whites, according to a new report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Why is this? It’s something to do with the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (and thereafter private banks) that give high marks to all-white neighborhoods and marking those with minorities in red as risky investments.
We are only scratching the surface in terms of the depth and coverage of information. There are so many platforms out there that can do this better, but we wanted to play our part in sharing what we know.
The deeply ingrained history of racial inequality in the US is therefore so difficult to change; it’s in the system.
Amid Protests, things don’t change
Even during one of the most poignant and effective national protests for racial equality, a white police officer managed to shoot and killed a black man in Atlanta, Georgia.
The 27 year old man, Rayshard Brooks was killed on Friday night after an altercation with police. He was shot on the scene after falling asleep in a fast food joint, Wendy’s drive thru. Brooks failed a breathalyser test and tried to run away from police, but launching a fatal shot should have been out of the question.
What came next:
On Saturday, that Wendy’s was then lit on fire by protestor, and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned over the weekend. The police who shot Brooks has also been terminated from his position.
“Because of her desire that Atlanta be a model of what meaningful reform should look like across this country, Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency and rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms
On Saturday evening, demonstrators closed down a major highway, Interstate-75, in Atlanta as they expressed rage and demanded justice for Brooks’ death.
“I was very disturbed with what happened,” a protester told CNN. “This is something that keeps happening over and over again.
“We’ve been protesting about George Floyd and I thought there was going to be a change, but there wasn’t a change, it was still the same old thing.”
As protests escalated in Atlanta last weekend, many states across the US are still protesting and demanding racial equality with police reform.