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Black and White.

Byline: AYAZ AHMED

There is a need for the black and white population in the United States to develop a mutual language of co-existence for the greater good of the country.

Racism has always been a debatable issue in the United States; the white majority has always discriminated against Afro-Americans on the political and socio-economic fronts and have endeavoured to marginalize them and push them to the wall. Though gun laws have allowed the black community to protect themselves from the atrocities unleashed by the police and white people, it is feared that they would be susceptible to brutalities once again if the gun laws are rescinded.

Since African-Americans make up 2% of the total US population, white people have always found it quite easy to subject them to different kinds of violence. Before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, white racists used to target and torture them in public places. In this regard, Black women were more vulnerable to violence than men owing to their weaker gender.

Speaking historically, the black community bore the brunt of many bouts of violence perpetrated by the white Americans, especially those who had racial prejudices towards the black community. Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, has documented 4,400 racial terror lynchings so far. This figure does not include those cases which took place in the countryside where most cases of violence against Afro-Americans went unreported. One can say that before the 1960s, the life for these black people was short, brutish and nasty.

The uninterrupted access of black people to firearms immensely helped them make the Black Freedom Movement of the 1960s a phenomenal success. What is important is that before the struggle for fundamental in the 1960s, a large number of disgruntled Afro-Americans openly used arms to protect themselves from brazen attacks carried out by white men, especially the racist ones.

However, it was during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, that the Black Panthers heavily relied on guns to prevent the police and white racists from attacking the so-called peace struggle for civil rights. Reports suggest that even Martin Luthar King Jr. had a secret room filled with firearms and other kinds of sophisticated weapons. Though there were some incidents of attacks on black people by the police to disperse them and obstruct their movement, the possession of firearms largely protected them and enabled them to make the struggle succeed.

Black women were quite vulnerable to white mens' sexual abuse, abduction and torture, especially at night. American history is witness that black women were not only tortured, but were also blatantly gang-raped by white men. Like black men, these black women had no recourse but to take up firearms to defend themselves from violent gangs of white men. Reports suggest that before the Civil Rights Movement, black women could not go outdoors alone and without guns at night due to the fear of being sexually assaulted by both the police and the white racists.

Since the government dismally failed to devise a feasible strategy to protect the lives and property of black people, the Black Panthers deemed it necessary to carry firearms everywhere; and they had to display their guns so that the police and white men would not subject them to torture. All this created an atmosphere of anarchy, fear and complete lawlessness in some cities of the United States. Therefore, in California, the Mulford Act was passed to outlaw carrying loaded guns in public places.

All this leads to a major question: in today's America, would tighter gun laws help protect African-Americans or make them more vulnerable to white racism and police brutality? First, it seems elusive that laws related to gun control would be executed in the United States, given the increasing clout of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA); the NRA funds a large number of American legislators and exercises increasing influence over the Senate to promote the culture of firearms in the country.

However, if stringent gun laws are made and implemented in the future, such acts would presumably safeguard the Afro-Americans from white racism and police brutality. To supplement acts related to gun control, the government should increase the number of black personnel in the police; this could work as a bulwark to stop white police officers from targeting the black community. Moreover, a countrywide media campaign highlighting the services of black people, their tolerance and their approach to mutual co-existence would also help make the white people respect Afro-Americans.

On its part, the current administration should shun its politics of white supremacy and divisiveness if it wishes to make the United States stand taller and see farther than other countries. Co-existence and mutual cooperation between the white and black communities would go a long way to make the country a safer place to live.
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Author:AYAZ AHMED
Publication:South Asia
Date:Jan 31, 2020
Words:857
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