The United States may have removed racism and injustice from its system, but these phenomena are still alive in human hearts and minds. The case of George Floyd killed by the police and the way of dealing with demonstrators during protests are a clear example of this.
For decades, the world only condemned racism and marginalization, but saw these phenomena as an acceptable cultural heritage. However, from today the world has become a completely different world. What is happening in America today, despite the unrest, is the beginning of a real revolution in the world, a revolution against racism, injustice, poverty and systemic unemployment.
Norwegian theoretician Johan Galtung, developed a three-stage typology of violence. These forms of violence are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
According to Galtung, direct violence manifests itself through behaviors that threaten life or reduce the ability to meet basic human needs. Structural violence, on the other hand, is systematically hindering equal access to opportunities for certain groups to meet basic human needs. This can be done formally – through legal provisions that cause marginalization – or be culturally conditioned and without a legal mandate, allow marginalized groups to restrict access to education or health care. According to Galtung, cultural violence means the existence of universal or significant social norms that that direct and structural violence seems to be “natural”, “appropriate” or at least acceptable. For example, the belief that Africans are primitive and intellectually inferior to the Caucasian race sanctioned the trade in African slaves. Galtung’s understanding of cultural violence helps explain how dominant beliefs can be so rooted in a given culture that they function as absolute and inevitable and are uncritically reproduced for generations.
This is exactly what happens in the United States and other Western countries for hundreds of years to this day. However, in the light of globalization, technology development, and speed of information transfer, it will be difficult to use the same methods that were used in the past to hide or justify these inherited cultural arguments. George ‘killing incident and Floyda was the spark that caused the riots, but long-term racism, injustice, marginalization, poverty and unemployment are at the root of these events. This revolution may exacerbate and extend to other countries.