Monday, June 22, 2015
In the recent years though, I am not so sure that USA can claim the role of the leader in our hemisphere,or that it can expect the rest of us to follow its example.
During the past years, a disturbing and shameful phenomenon has been increasingly becoming an occurrence; young African Americans have been shot or brutally killed by US police.
Ever since February 2012 and the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman, about 16 more black Americans were killed in similar way.
The latest case was of Freddie Gray from Baltimore in April 2015, who fell into a coma after sustaining injuries to his spinal cord, due to police violence during his arrest.
This incident led to the Baltimore Riots, a protest and response towards police brutality. As have numerous other incidents before, like these in Ferguson-Missouri, which saw a repetitive wave of violence as result.
These deaths of course are only the tip of the ice-berg. The United States of America is not the country that it wants to believe it is anymore; at least not for its African American citizens.
Discrimination, lack of equal opportunities and alienation is the reality for a large number of black youths in the US. Their government has failed them, as it prefers to waste money on wars abroad, instead of investing in projects that will promote equality.
In some other cases, African American criminality is being exaggerated or distorted, as the American discourse on crime is deeply politicized and influenced by racial and class bias. (AlterNet)
Often the number of criminal activities that are attributed to black Americans are overestimated, as the above article in AlterNet describes. Resulting of course in further discrimination and stereotyping.
The United States often lectured Europe on what type of society it should aspire to become. They actively promoted and encouraged multiculturalism in our continent and elsewhere, human rights, freedom of speech, liberalizations and privatizations.
All of the American values became eventually and gradually European as well. As result, our continent is increasingly becoming a multicultural continent, that resembles more and more the USA.
But what aspirations is America giving Europe now? That it has to allow millions of non-Europeans to legally become citizens of a unified continent, only to be treated as second class citizens and be discriminated against by the very state they were born in?
Will Europe adopt the exact model of America, or will it be capable to avoid its closest ally mistakes and shortcomings?
If African Americans still struggle to achieve justice and equality centuries later after the creation of their motherland, what chances have the more recent arrivals in Europe from other continents to achieve these?
It is evident that the struggles of some people for equality in USA have not ended. Europe's closest ally resembles progressively Hans Christian Andersen's story, the Emperor's New Clothes.
Everybody is aware what is going on, but they just don't dare to express their honest view because well, it is the emperor and it can't be criticized by his subjects!
If America wants to lecture Europe and the rest of the world on freedom, democracy and equality, it better show a better image of itself to us. Plus it needs to start looking after its own citizens and internal problems first.
In an ever changing world, they can not rely on their military might for too long, to promote their model of society and ideology on others. They need to start aspiring their values to the rest of us, just like they did decades ago.
Obviously it is not just Europe who is suffering from a crisis of values and direction, together with an economic, political and social crisis. America has its own demons to face still.
It would be of a great benefit to people of both sides of the Atlantic, to get to know their weaknesses and mistakes. Learn from and help each other, to avoid repeating the same errors.
For that we need a closer cooperation, but not solely on a business level that our elites are insisting. We need to start engaging social groups from both sides, to teach one another about integration, social justice and equality.
If Europe is to become like the USA, then I am not sure I want to live in any sort of federal political or economic formation, in which minority groups are treated like the African Americans nowadays.