By Leondra Price
For a brief moment Americans were “woke” as we witnessed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. It was an eye-opening reality for white Americans and a visceral reminder for people of color that racism is alive and well in this country. On that day the curtain was pulled back briefly to reveal the very nature of the long-standing systems upon which America is structured, the hierarchies that breed privilege and lay the foundation of institutional racism.
Police violence kills black Americans at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, according to a four-year analysis by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. However, there are litanies of social determinants where the disparities, disenfranchisement, and racial stratification are woven into the very fabric of the institutions such as healthcare, employment, housing, education, banking, and technology. White privilege is the gift from institutional racism that allows that “power of privilege” to invoke, create, establish, profile, stereotype, enforce and perpetuate policies and practices that disadvantage Blacks and other ethnic groups.
And as the chant of the Black Lives Matter movement reverberates around the world eyes are opened to the pain of which it speaks, the inter-generational trauma from enslavement to today to which it speaks, murder after murder, death after death, and the social injustice of which it speaks.
In a powerful statement United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “we need to raise our voices against all expressions of racism and instances of racist behavior.”
This is the hour of change. This is the hour for justice. This is the hour for accountability, significant and meaningful policy change and the restructuring of the institutions. It is a matter of sustained and committed actions to move politicians in the right direction and voters to the polls to effect change.