Jeremy Corbyn: The Government cannot ignore George Floyd’s death – or the racism experienced by black people in the UK
The death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, after his arrest by four policemen in Minneapolis has triggered protests in the US and around the world.
He screamed for his life as a white police officer knelt on his neck whilst restraining him.
His last words were “please – I can’t breathe” and “they’re going to kill me.”
People understandably feel anger, hurt and fear, including here in Britain.
Despite this Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has refused to condemn Donald Trump’s statements in the wake of the killing. These statements include a tweet where he said, “looting leads to shooting.”
Trump has since disgracefully compared protestors to terrorists.
The Foreign Secretary said that whilst the death was “deeply distressing,” he did not want to create a media distraction.
This is wrong. Nobody deserves such treatment and we all must call it out.
Calling out Trump is in no way a distraction of any kind.
The world must not look away and the UK Government would be wrong to ignore the death of George Floyd.
It would also be wrong to ignore the issues it raises about our own society, including with regards to our policing and justice systems.
As in the USA, black people here are unjustly affected by violence, racism and discrimination. Statistics show that black people disproportionately suffer from use of force by the police. They are more likely to be sent to prison than white offenders and over-represented in the prison population.
There is also great concern within BAME communities about the level of taser use by the police.
Additionally, the Runnymede Trust found that between 1995 and 2015 no police officer was prosecuted over a Black person’s death in custody.
This must be the time for our Government to not only reassess the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, but act to change this.
In terms of our societies and economies, many black people in the USA are subject to high levels of exploitation in the economy and social deprivation.
When Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz said the state is ranked among the best USA states to live in unless you are black, he was also talking about the much of that country and much of the world
As he said, this “has shown all of us that those two things can’t operate at the same place. You cannot continue to say, Minnesota is a great place to live if your neighbour, because of the colour of their skin, does not have that same opportunity.”
This applies to many different parts of Britain.
It is also a fact that in both countries BAME people have been more likely to die than others from Coronavirus, and in this context it is extremely worrying that the publication of the official report into the impact Of Coronavirus on BAME communities has been delayed.
This systemic inequality needs to change. As the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs (of which I am a member) said this week, “now is the time to end the severe class and racial inequalities which exist across the world.”
The Tories are too often willing to dance to President Trump’s tune and are too often silent in face of his whipping up of division and hatred.
As Desmond Tutu once said, “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Now is the time to stand internationally in solidarity with George Floyd’s community family and all those fighting racism around the world.
Now must be the time to change our society for the better and build a better society with equality for all at its core.
Silence should not and never can be an option.Originally published on June 2 at https://inews.co.uk/opinion/jeremy-corbyn-george-floyd-uk-government-racism-discrimination-433225