Meanwhile in… The USA – ‘The success of the BLM movement is no excuse to become complacent’

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer on 25 May this year sparked a renewed discussion about police brutality, Black Lives Matter and (institutional) racism. In response, protest erupted, not only in the United States, but all over the world.
Photo: Shutterstock

Text: Emma Mouthaan

‘I first became aware of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement after the murder of Eric Garner in 2014, but I didn’t become fully aware of the African American reality until I studied under Dr. Steven Millner at San Jose State University in Califonia. Then I began to see the United States in its true colours. I think the BLM movement, along with my education in The States and Wageningen, taught me that we ought to do things with the people we are doing it for, as opposed to doing it for them.

am fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends who acknowledge that being born with a white skin comes with its privileges. That is different from my family though. They grew up away from these discussions of race. Moving to the United States meant they became entangled in these topics while they received most of their information from media sources in Chinese. Before I began the discussion with them on the racial issues in America, they were genuinely afraid of the BLM movement because of what they had previously read on WeChat.

The system of white privilege has been operating since the founding of America. The BLM movement is the result of hundreds of years of civil rights movement and I think it will definitely make a change. However, the success of it is not the final chapter of the civil rights movement. This is a moment to celebrate, but it is not an excuse to become complacent.’

Shou De Zhang (25), an MSc Tourism, Society and Environment student, reflects on the current situation in his home country.

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