Rashan Charles and the real mission of ‘Black Lives Matter’

Written by Dagless Kangero

Social tensions continue to rise within the American diaspora underlined by racial discrepancies: those of black ethnicity falling victim accredited to an institutionalized oppression. The overall argument of the essay is that on the back of the human rights doctrine, incarceration and police brutality is a way to destroy and cleanse an ethnic minority. Factually alike events have driven the mass protests with the same fine tune of challenging the justice system when lives are depleted in the hands of the police force. On that account, this essay will discuss the context of Black Lives Matter in the current political era and its inevitable relevance to identity politics on a global scale.

‘Black Lives Matter’ has proven to be a global-scale phenomenon and not constrained within the borders of the United States. One of the most recent events of black crime occurred in the streets of London on the 22nd of July 2017. Rashan Charles, a black man, died after a police officer wrestled him to the floor at a shop. Since then, the police officer has been put on “restricted duties” contrary to the formal advice of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to suspend him. Rashan’s family have commented on this decision claiming that it, “sends completely the wrong message about how seriously the Metropolitan police take what happened to Rashan,” (theGuardian, 2017). The family’s statement substantiates by the black community’s larger sentiments that less value seems to be placed on black peoples lives. Surely, the grave nature of this incident called for a higher threshold of punishment?

Dagless Kangero is pursuing a Law with International Relations degree. Her research interests include human rights, social activism, women’s rights, women’s education, and poverty alleviation. 

 Indistinguishably to alike cases, the facts of the incident of the witnesses and of the police force are at variance with each other lacking compatibility and resultantly, although arguably, creating ambiguity. However, it is difficult to ride the wave of an unascertainable conclusion when the cases have similar elements and thus could be argued not to be isolated. Namely, a police force encounter with a black man (non-gender specific e.g Sandra Bland) has increasingly resulted in the loss of said black man’s life. The black community feels cheated by the justice system and the universal article of faith of the Human Rights Act.

Power, privilege, and oppression co-exist. Oppression purports to maintain advantages and disadvantages based n social group memberships and operates intentionally/ unintentionally and on individual, institutional/ cultural levels. This is supported by the pre-existing power and privilege. As Marxists elucidate, historical materialism interprets current social conflicts. A privileged society has materialised from years of power. What allows these victims to fade away without the correct justice is indeed the privilege vested in the white community by years of oppression they sustained on ethnic minorities, more specifically the black community. However, in the current political era prompted by the industrial revolution and furthered by globalisation, of an informed society and technologically enhanced society- movements like “Black Lives Matter” are able to thrive. No longer can these injustices be unaccompanied by an outcry and protests. A movement which has started in America, has now been adapted to confront the systems in the UK and other countries such as Australia.

In conclusion, the black community is channeling a previous era of the 60’s movement led by figures such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Those movements aren’t completely rose-tinted and in fact, led to the assassination of Dr. King. Yet still, they generated revolutionary steps for the black community in society previously unimagined. Perhaps the same could be applied to the “Black Lives Movement” and the initial evidence of this proposal is its widespread influence in the international arena.

Featured image: http://www.leonardpierce.com/blog/2016/07/07/black-lives-matter/


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Dagless Kangero is pursuing a Law with International Relations degree. Her research interests include human rights, social activism, women’s rights, women’s education, and poverty alleviation. 

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