US has 'a long way to go' on systemic racism, expert says

Minneapolis 21 April 2021 (after Derek Chauvin verdict)
Minneapolis 21 April 2021 (after Derek Chauvin verdict) Copyright AFP
By Euronews
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Family members and activists rallied in Minnesota to mark the day George Floyd was killed by police.


It's been one year since the death of Black American George Floyd at the hands of police and experts say that systemic changes to address in the US will take a long time.

Floyd's death fuelled racial justice protests last year across the country and a national conversation about systemic racism.

Professor Wallace Ford, a professor of public administration at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, told Euronews that change will take longer than just a few months or years.

"If you're going to change a system, it takes a systemic effort. It's not just a couple of months of protests, a couple of years of protests. It's going to take a long time."

He explained however that there has been greater awareness of systemic racism in the United States in the past year but that there is still a lot to be done.

"There is a greater awareness of the fact that there's tremendous racial disparity, which is part of the American tradition going back some 400 years," he said. "But what we have not seen is really systemic changes taking place."

Activists want legislation to hold police accountable and the reopening of police abuse cases from the past.

Ford points out that the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, which addresses police misconduct and racial bias, has not yet been passed by Congress.

Meanwhile, the US has seen "an increased number of revelations of just tremendous atrocities thanks to video that have taken place over the years," Ford added.

In early April, many people protested after 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed in a suburb of Minneapolis, when a police officer said she mistook her gun for her taser. It was one of many incidents of police violence revealed in the past few months.

But Ford says change could come if more Americans recognise that there is a "disease" of systemic racism in the country.

Current President Joe Biden has been the first president to say that it exists in the US, which is a "big deal", he added.

"Education is such an important part of it because once people understand what has been going on in this country over these last 400 years, we then begin to find a way to address solutions," Ford said.

Watch the full interview in the player above.

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