OPINION: Why must we still bear the consequences?

WHO actually decided people with coloured skin were lesser human beings?

Why should we, however many hundreds, or thousands, of years later, still be suffering the consequences of societal, religious and cultural practices developed in a much earlier time?

Too simplistic? Maybe. Naive? Probably.

But whether religious or aristocratic - until recently our leaders were only too happy to keep people in their historically determined boxes.

It is frightening to hear Barack Obama yet again call for civil rights and gun reform over police shooting two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

And then have to cut a trip abroad short to quell the unrest after five policemen died at a subsequent #blacklivesmatter protest in Dallas

Amid so many massacres, it's incredible to hear United States pro-gun conservatives still arguing the right to bear arms.

But these very same people, who argue carrying a gun is their second amendment right, generally don't face the prejudice and racial profiling as Alton Sterling and Philando Castile likely did last week.

Both were carrying guns. Both were black. Both their deaths were recorded with an increasingly useful weapon to put a worldwide spotlight on police shootings in the US - mobile phones.

While the massacre in Dallas was initially thought to be retaliation at the hands of a black man, that sniper has been described as a mentally deranged lone wolf.

Obviously, those officers did not deserve to die.

It's easy to understand why the country's black population is so frustrated.

Obama says these black deaths are symptoms of a broader set of racial disparities in the US criminal justice system.

He says African Americans are 30% more likely than whites to be pulled over and, after being pulled over, African Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched.

He said police shot African Americans at more than twice the rate of white people last year.

Again, who actually decided people with coloured skin were lesser human beings?

It is our generation centuries later that has to deal with the likes of Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson and Boris Johnson hindering progress towards equality.

Still harping on nationalist agendas as if the world hasn't changed, they appeal to some romantic notion of yesteryear that no longer exists. It is harmful.

It is us who have to watch the cop shootings in the USA or the Orlando gay nightclub shooting.

It is us who have to suffer gender bias and less pay because of some earlier notion we were not worthy of having our own opinions, own money and our sole role was as a care giver.

But as angry as that makes me, it is us who have the power to change it.

We've come a long way but when two black men, in one week, face undue prejudice for carrying weapons their white founders decided was their God-given right, and end up dead - something has to give.

It is not only heartbreaking to hear Castile's mother say she warned him to "comply, comply, comply" when cops pull him over as sage advice to not get killed, but wrong.

That is no different to a mother telling a girl she shouldn't wear certain clothes, shouldn't act a certain way or she might get raped.

The opposite should be true - cops should not be racial profiling, they should not assume that any black man is a danger and that any black man with a gun is a danger.

Not when they are in a country that believes the only way to feel safe and protect oneself is to have a gun.

Topics:  opinion racism

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