Inequality is a blemish to humanity’s claim of progress but the history of human civilization is paved with the corpses of the masses whom society conveniently attributed inhuman traits to in order to assuage its guilt. Let’s take a glimpse at slavery, especially the enslavement of Africans in American and West Indian plantations. The Spanish priest Bartholomew de la Casas indicated that Africans were the spurn of the devil and could never be saved so it was justifiable to see them as animals of burden. This is why even centuries later, African Americans are still suffering from the ravages of dehumanization because the stigma associated with their color.
The history of colonization is no different, the natives needed to be conquered, they were heathens and primitive; justifying the enslavement tactics of the ‘civilized colonizers’. As Rudyard Kipling puts it; civilization was the white man’s burden. Unfortunately, the brand of civilization the colonies enjoyed was mostly exploitation, subjugation, humiliation and dehumanization. Yet, it was all good as long as the heathen got Christianity.
Today, humanity is still blemished with the stain of racism, discrimination, human rights abuses, and subjugation. Today, we still witness the world’s foremost democracy brutalize, maim, and murder its citizens because of that ingrained racist belief that being born black is intrinsically a crime. Looking at this travesty from outside generates feelings of angst, disillusionment, and pain. When the military kills innocent children in my country, the world reports it as another day in a dictatorship, when journalists like Samuel Wazizi are murdered by agents of the state and human rights activists are threatened and silenced, we look to America to enforce accountability.
Now the realization has finally dawned, America cannot help us with the abuse of our human rights problems because it is busy abusing its own citizens. The freedoms of speech, assembly, and protest are no longer free. Watching peaceful protesters being brutalized by forces of law and order, being pepper-sprayed and threatened is reminisce of my own reality. So when I see a message from the US embassy informing me that “they are outraged by the recent killings in the United States of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor” the sense of déjà vu is strong. My own government is always ‘outraged’ by the killings of unarmed civilians and the burning of entire villages, yet they keep happening.