The feeling of entitlement and racism work in tandem. After all, racism doesn’t exist without its true believers who wholeheartedly feel that they are entitled to claim privileges and special treatment at the expense of "inferior" human beings.
Sadly, the combined effects of the two are derailing and overshadowing the great progress and stride that America has made since the Civil Rights Movement. Make no mistake about it. Racism is deeply embedded in the hearts and psyche of some sections of society despite the fact that it has significantly lost its legal and institutional justifications.
It is at least good that in this day and age, racism is also being exposed and caught red-handed in horrendous acts of terror. As Will Smith was once quoted as saying: “Racism is not getting worse. It is only being filmed.” That is exactly the reason why the horrors of racism are being broadcast live across the world.
A few weeks ago the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year old black man, came to light thanks to a video recorded by one of the assailants who chased him in a Georgia neighborhood. He was hunted down and shot by a retired white police officer and his son.
Two videos that put racism on trial went viral yesterday. The first one showed us what the feeling of being entitled looks like. A white woman hysterically called cops on a black man who only told her to leash her dog as per the rule in Central Park, New York City.
The encounter was supposed to be an uneventful moment. But she was extremely offended by the black man, a fellow American citizen, telling her to respect the rules. The woman, who was later identified as Amy Cooper, chose to dramatize the mundane moment and dangerously played the race card. She never cared about the potential consequence of her lie that the man could have been shot dead by the police like so many other black men who were killed in cold blood.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” she warned the man. “Please call the cops,” he responded calmly while recording the encounter with his cell phone.
With a certainty of entitlement, she called the cops. “There’s an African-American man. I’m in Central Park, he is recording me and threatening myself and my dog. …Please send the cops immediately!” She was raising her voice as if she was in some kind of imminent danger.
Fortunately, the whole drama backfired on Ms. Cooper, who was a portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton, a leading asset management firm. After the video the black man, Christian Cooper [not related to the woman], a Harvard-educated writer and editor, recorded went viral, the company fired Ms. Cooper.
Later in the day, another viral video invaded social media. It shows the tragic murder of a black man in broad daylight by a group of police officers in Minneapolis. One of the cops who was seen in a widely circulating video crushing George Floyd’s neck was identified as Derek Chauvin. While proudly putting his hands in his pockets and sporting his sunglasses on his head, he was putting his full weight on the dying man’s neck with his knees.
- Addis Mieraf