Courtesy of Chad Davis via Flickr

As Derek Chauvin stands trial for the murder of George Floyd, America too stands trial for its long history of enabling police brutality and white supremacy. The evidence stacked against Chauvin is substantial, and he does not seem to stand a good chance at winning this case. Although it is clear he may face harsh consequences, more must be done on America’s part to ensure that the maiming of Black bodies is put to a stop. Most likely, the police force will use this case as a last-ditch effort to get the public off of their backs, and if this is the case, then circumstances will only worsen for this country. White supremacy has a strong grip on government institutions ー especially the police force ー and if this continues to be the norm, the outcome of this case will be for nothing. 

This is an opportunity for America to realize its flaws as a country and to do the right thing for its most marginalized citizens. Chauvin’s trial must not be the lone precedent for more reform to follow. If the commotion stops here, even if they do prosecute, the outcome of this case won’t make a dent in solving police brutality. The decisions in this courtroom will force people to see the horrible values of this country and the racism that flows through government institutions. All of this needs to be brought to light in order for this case to accomplish what it’s supposed to. 

The Chauvin trial is decisive of more than just one man’s fate: people are paying attention to this case to see what the next steps are in terms of handling police brutality. However, it is not outlandish to question the authenticity of it all. It may be quite likely that the police force is using Chauvin as a scapegoat to get the public off their back. Trust in the police force nowadays is generally abysmal — this is a last-ditch effort to save face and Chauvin’s prosecution could just be a PR stunt to cover for the police force. 

In addition to the possible theatrics put on by the police force, the defense is reaching low with the “angry Black person” stereotype. During a line of questioning, the defense honed in on getting a witness to talk about his anger when seeing Floyd get murdered. Of course, anyone would be angry seeing someone get killed in front of their eyes, but the defense attempted to use this justifiable fury to prove that this was why Chauvin murdered Floyd. Chauvin’s team is grasping at straws by using racial stereotyping as a tactic. Resorting tp this tactic is harmful and must be taken into account by the public. 

White people resort to this stereotype as a defense, not only because it is easy, but because it is effective. Racism plays a large role in our justice system, and white people know that if they use these stereotypes, then results will always be in their favor. All of the elements in this case must be taken into consideration by the public when re-evaluating racism in America. This case simply cannot stand alone and be the only solution to fix things.

Although the case is monumental, there have been countless police brutality cases in the past, and none of them brought upon any change. And due to this trend, America probably won’t treat this instance any differently. Racism is so deeply ingrained within our society and government institutions that the right people won’t care to fix anything. Chauvin will not be let off the hook for his actions, but his sentencing won’t make any significant impact. Sure, his case may be one of the few that don’t work in favor of the police, but the results of this case will not be the end to the suffering that police brutality and its accompanying violence have created 一 more must be done. 

So, while it’s appropriate to say that America is on trial, the general public must stand trial along with it. The public needs to step in and show support in a tangible way. They need to do more than tweet about the case or follow it religiously. Indeed, for actual reform to occur, the public must be willing to tackle the foundation that America has been built upon: white supremacy. 

When it comes to ideologies, the people who are most likely to align with the ideals of white supremacy and neo-Nazism are uneducated. It’s nearly impossible to assume that these people will naturally realize the error of their ways and break from this on their own, so the government must step in. From educating children earlier about how to avoid white supremacy to deeply investigating government institutions and removing those in power 一 something of a larger magnitude must be accomplished. 

America has a long way to go, and it needs to set standards on how they will put a stop to allowing white supremacists into our government and on our police forces. This country must consider how it is built on a foundation of white supremacy, and while a simple solution would appear to be educating newer generations, this is still a weak response to the current circumstances. These issues must be attacked from all sides, and they cannot be ignored any longer. After all, the Los Angeles Police Department’s motto is, “To Protect and Serve”, but when videos such as the murder of George Floyd come out, it warps this meaning. It is obvious this motto does not apply to every citizen. 

More blood will be shed at the hands of crooked cops and our corrupt government if the U.S. is ignorant of its own flaws. America and its people need to stop tip-toeing around the obvious questions they need to be asking themselves. It’s going to take a lot of deep self-reflection and accountability from our government if we are ever to see change. Black people do not deserve to live in fear because their country has failed to protect them. This case alone will not be an effective start to end police brutality unless America is ready to pick up some of its slack. 

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