Message from New Zealandニュージーランドからのメッセージ




Hi everyone. I’m Moe. My classmates have posted essays about their lives in NZ. However, today, what I’d like to share with you is not about my life, but my opinion about a topic which has been actively covered in the media not only in New Zealand but also all over the world. Please read my essay below.

“Black Lives Matter.” Have you guys heard of this phrase? I often hear this phrase these days. In America, the people who oppose discrimination against black people have raised their voices. Their voices are becoming more urgent year by year.

On May 25, 2020, a policeman killed a black man, George Floyd, kneeling on him for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on the street. He was handcuffed and lay prone on the ground. The scene was filmed by a 17-year-old girl who was a passerby. Mr. Floyd repeated, “I can’t breathe” over and over again. However, the policeman did not change his mind. Passersby attempted to stop the policeman, but he didn’t stop it. On arriving, a doctor put Mr. Floyd on a stretcher, but he was already dead.

What does the phrase “Black Lives Matter” mean? It is an anthem, a slogan, a hashtag and a straightforward statement of fact. This is not a new movement. The movement started in 2013 in the USA. In that country, many black people are killed and they are twice as likely to be killed by police officers as white people. According to a 2015 study, African Americans died at the hands of the police at a rate of 7.2 people per population of one million.

Do you know the phrase “All Lives Matter?” It is used by many people on Twitter and Instagram in the same way as “Black Lives Matter.” However, “All Lives Matter” is problematic. At first, “All Lives Matter” sounds like we are all in this together. Some people are using this phrase to suggest that we should join and stand together against racism. But the problem is that the phrase takes focus away from black people. The people who use “All Lives Matter” have to understand that “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean that nobody else matters.

Abusing black people just because they are black, or throwing the N-word, which is a discriminatory word against black people, is obviously racism. Black people are still suffering from these direct acts of discrimination. However, at the same time, they are struggling with a different kind of discrimination, “institutional racism.” It means that a black person is born as a black person and the subsequent life automatically becomes unfavorable because of people’s subconscious stereotypes. This problem seems not to be direct discrimination, and it’s very difficult to eliminate.

Slavery continued for over 250 years in America. It is finished, but discrimination hasn’t gone away. Many black people are being killed every year by police and civilians who have guns. Here’s a similar story to Mr. Floyd’s. A black high school student went to a convenience store to buy juice. However, on the way back, he was shot dead as “suspicious”. Ordinary daily life is regarded as “suspicious” and “dangerous” because of stereotypes and institutional racism and black people are easily killed.

Nelson Mandela says, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. “

I think the first step to combating racism is listening to each other, no matter who you are and no matter who you are talking to. You should listen and try to understand other people’s points of view. You need to see things from different perspectives. By doing so, you’ll find something new. We must not discriminate against black people because we were born in the same world and we are living in the same age. If you hold prejudice, please take an interest in this topic. There is nothing more important than creating an equal world in which black people don’t have to be afraid to walk along the road, or to go shopping.

Thank you for reading my essay.

Moe Yamazaki