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There is no place for us in a system that was not made for us

19 4 1
02.06.2020

It is reasonable to believe that the official end of state-sanctioned segregation and black disenfranchisement would mean a corresponding reduction in the brutal social conditions of black and other minority communities. Instead, the most appropriate way to symbolise the current racial malaise is the term “white supremacy”, despite the efforts of America and other multicultural democracies to bury it as a discomfiting relic of the past.

Events surrounding the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis suggest that real political and social liberalisation for the black community is far from achievable. Nothing has changed; modernity reeks of racial domination and discrimination, but how can such conditions exist in a republic founded on Enlightenment ideals of freedom and equality?

The answer lies in the flaws of modern liberal democracy, or what I like to call the democratic myth. The basic idea is that our governing system has been moulded to empower “whites” to be positioned structurally in such a way that allows them to constrain, oppress and exploit black individuals and other minorities cogently, regardless of the outcome.

Etymologically, the concept of democracy emphasises the “will of the people” and a governing system upheld by the “power of the people”. Its moral strength and popular appeal are mostly attributed to the elements of individual autonomy and equality that democracy claims to advocate; people should have the same opportunities to influence decisions affecting their society, while simultaneously having control over their own lives.

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The end of the Cold War, along with the reiterations of the validity of democratic peace, posed democracy as a crucial social good, a panacea to all global ills symbolising the only legitimate political system in most languages. The realities, however, carry disappointments felt intensely across the globe, the likes of which we can see in the killings of Floyd and other black individuals and what followed. The inconsistencies and paradoxes of democracy’s claims raise important questions about whether we have all been subdued by an empty symbol which preserves dominant power configurations in societies and maintains the status quo. Yet the problem doesn’t lie within democracy and its gallant theoretical underpinning; it lies with the elite’s successful efforts to undermine it, the most serious being the creation of liberalism which was designed in fundamental ways to undermine the threat that democracy poses to these elites.

Security forces block the road as protests continue following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who killed after being pinned down by a white police officer, 2 June 2020 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

Security forces block the road as protests continue following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who killed after being pinned down by a white police officer, 2 June 2020 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The dominant political outlook of the modern age, liberal democracy nominally professes itself to be inclusive, taking everyone’s interests into account and advocating for........

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