Race relations in United States (U.S) and Guyana 

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George Floyd’s death, allegedly at the knees of police officer Derek Chauvin, on May 25, 2020 showed the lack of value for black lives and the barefacedness of the incident. Chauvin who is presently on trial for murder, which is being televised, was being recorded by public spirited citizens placing his knee on Floyd’s neck, applying pressure even when the victim said he was having difficulty breathing and onlookers were begging him to.

The world later watched in disbelief and bewilderment at the barefacedness of Chauvin in keeping his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. But before Chauvin’s trial society erupted, demanding he be criminally charged. The American public, from all backgrounds and ethnicities, took a stand. For days on end, they marched through the streets of America in various states demanding justice. Then presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden condemned the killing and called for America to reckon with its past, including addressing criminal justice reform.

The American media played a role in highlighting Floyd’s death, the incidents surrounding it and the protests, demanding answers, justice and attention be paid to issues affecting African Americans. Experts and analysts lend their voices, agitating for police reform and Americans to reckon with the disparity in treatment of blacks. Floyd’s death gave greater spark to the Black Lives Matter movement, which for years has been demanding society pays attention to disparity in treatment of African Americans in the criminal justice system and mistreatment at the hands the police.

U.S’ Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) did a documentary on “Race Matters- America in Crisis” (see below) that addressed this problem. The role of the media in seeking to place sunlight on allegations and evidence of racial injustice is not singular to America media but a role, media everywhere desirous of functioning in a harmonious society would not be uncomfortable to investigate and report.

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In Guyana, the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has started a national conversation on improving ethnic relations.  Guyanese, the ERC and local media could take a page from the U.S in dealing with Guyana’s ethnic problems.



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