Originally published in Financial Times
Are we stuck in the civil war era of the 19th century? (“George Floyd and the story of the Two Americas”, FT View, June 3). The backlash of unrest on America’s city streets exposes two unresolved problems. The first is the immediate issue, which is an egregious absence, or at the very least, a massive delay of legal justice when it comes to felonies committed by white law enforcement against black people.
The second, deeper dilemma is a centuries-long illusion of white supremacy that began with slavery and went so far as to be codified through interpretations of the Bible.
When the 13th amendment abolished slavery, this superiority complex found a new home in the form of Jim Crow laws, which sanctioned segregation, prevented Black Americans from voting and widened the poverty gap. Despite noble efforts by some lawmakers to extinguish the discriminatory practices, they continue to operate de facto today.
To practise the equality written in our constitution over two centuries ago, our leaders — both political and religious — need to put an end to the blatant acts of injustice, reject the pretence of racial superiority and recognise a true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood in our nation.
If we do not adopt justice, I fear that we will not have moved past the terrible civil war.