The never-ending plague in the brain: Racism
I wrote an article about racism after the World Cup in 2018. Here I drew attention to the unfortunate incidents of racism towards the Turkish origin German footballer, Mesut Ozil and Turkish descent Swedish footballer, Jimmy Durmaz in their national teams. The plague of racism, which you can witness in almost every corner of the world, exploded in the USA this time, and then the protests spread all over the world.
First of all, let's remember the George Floyd incident that triggered all the events. On the evening of the 25th of May, the day of George Floyd's death, there was a call to the police in Minneapolis, regarding a counterfeit $20 bill, in which one of the white police officers, Derek Chauvin, handcuffed African-American suspect George Floyd, laying him down on the floor, and for 8 minutes and 46 seconds beat him on the neck with his knee. If your heart can handle it, you can watch the video of the event at the below link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I3SWcwD3EY.
Witnesses recorded the incident in Minneapolis State with their mobile phones. Video recordings showing Floyd saying "I can't breathe" over and over, have spread across social media platforms and mainstream media. The four police officers involved were dismissed the next day. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed Floyd, was arrested for the attempted murder. Not only Derek Chauvin, but also the police on the same patrol who watched the death of Floyd, who did not speak to him, were sued for 2nd and 3rd degree murder.
After the incident, protests started by civilians in many regions of the USA. Millions of people took to the streets. George Floyd's pleading for minutes and saying "I can't breathe" and kneeling to press his throat became symbols in the protest against racism. In fact, protests were held in 50 states of the USA with the motto "Black Lives Matter". To illustrate, I'd like to share a video showing these protests: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBJROg-l7c6/?igshid=1rh3yg588fzr8
I would also like to share with you the most meaningful, in my opinion, among the articles written on the walls during the protests:
We also witnessed the moments when Floyd called out to his mother amid cries of "I can't breathe". This graffiti reads, "All mothers were summoned when he called out for his mama”
Before I share my thoughts on this subject, I would like to share two memories about the environment in the USA. These memories, which will help those who have never been to the USA or who do not know it well, to understand the environment, give clues not only about the USA, but also about where a world with no borders is going.
Peter, my roommate from Harvard
I went to Harvard's summer school the summer before I started college. My experiences in summer school, where I took Precalculus (pre-algebra) and Microeconomics courses, opened many different doors for me. In addition, as the first person from the Süzer family to take a course abroad at a university, I opened a door for my cousins and relatives who came from behind in our family.
I made great progress between the Serhan who arrived and the Serhan who graduated from there in just the 2 months I was there. This should not be perceived as just lessons. I also made serious progress in terms of perspective on life and my worldview. I even conveyed a famous football story about my time there. I am sharing the link to remind you (you can read the relevant section under the subtitle " From a couple of guys passing a ball to a real soccer pitch…” https://www.serhansuzer.com/en/turkish-footballs-unchanging-complex
It was the first time in my life that I saw how people of different races can adapt to where they are. Peter, one of my two roommates at Harvard, came from a Japanese family. Peter, a computer engineering student, was born and raised in Texas, so I was astounded when he first opened his mouth. This friend of Far Eastern origin spoke English with the most difficulty to understand, with a splayed southern American accent. I had to focus and listen to him for 1-2 days to understand what he actually said. Then I got used to the way he spoke. At first, I asked myself "how can this happen?". A Japanese American speaking splayed English with a southern American accent. Then I realized that no matter what race or origin you are, you can adapt to where you are, especially if you settled there at a young age, and even become a part of it.
The term "melting pot", which means a place where people of various races and nationalities coalesce", is frequently used for the USA. As a result, regardless of your origin and race, when you enter that boiling cauldron, it means that you will become a part of that country and adapt. It is an expression that people who settled in the USA hear very often and that explains the mentality and way of life in the USA in general.
However, to use it as a metaphor, we cannot say that the melting pot always works smoothly. While that pot is boiling, accidents and even explosions occur from time to time. The most common reason for these explosions is racism and especially the attitude towards the black race and Hispanics that has tried to be changed for centuries. You can also come across some attitudes that fuel the fire that broke out in that cauldron. For example, the fact that the head of state does not apologize sincerely and the attempts to suppress the events by using excessive force are such incentives. In these events, Trump has failed. So much so that public administrators had to impose curfews in different parts of America because of these protests.
Since we talked about the melting pot and the serious problems it brings with it, then let's dig into the subject a little deeper. As you would appreciate, the idea of putting all cultures into a single cauldron and creating a single culture has come under numerous criticisms for being a policy implemented to create a monoculture. Monoculture aside, a mosaic notion for multiculturalism has been introduced, which means cultures that form into whole from pieces and participate in society by preserving their existence without dissolving them. Then the kaleidoscope is suggested as an advanced model today because the pieces of the mosaic are fixed, that is, it only evokes interaction with the close ones. This is a model that enables individuals from different cultures to interact with individuals from other cultures in the society and provide multi-colors. In other words, we can say that the melting pot strategy aimed at creating a monoculture that America first put forward has been seriously outdated. Instead, countries can imitate the kaleidoscope model when creating their culture. *
A bus trip from Montreal to Baltimore
The second thing that I will tell you about is a bus trip I took in the first years of my university. At that time, my father called me and said "My son, Mevlüt Aslanoğlu, the general manager of Kentbank has fallen ill. I will bring him to Johns Hopkins, one of the best hospitals in the world, for a check-up in two days’ time and then he will be treated if necessary. If you’re free, you can come and meet us”. I immediately looked up flights. However, as I was looking for flights last minute, the flight prices were very high. Since I was a very frugal person (especially at that time, my idealism was at its highest) I said, "I can’t pay this money for a flight, it'll be such a shame, I can go by bus" and that’s when I got myself into a mess.
Of course, I was going from Montreal to Baltimore by bus at a very low cost. There is a serious time difference between the plane and the bus. While I was arriving in a few hours by plane (getting off, getting on, all inclusive), I was arriving in Baltimore in almost 1 day (23 hours in total) as there were too many stops in between by bus. Still, I said “I have time, I will go by bus” because it coincided with my free time (I did not have class for 4 days). I bought the bus ticket.
I was especially fascinated by the natural beauty of the south of Quebec, Canada and Maine, in the USA. Since I was sitting by the window, I was enjoying the greenery and nature as much as possible. My only complaint was that the bus made too many stops. But there was nothing I could do; this was my choice. I could not complain.
After a comfortable and long journey, I first reached New York. I had to change buses to go from New York to Baltimore.
I cannot describe in words my feelings when I first got on the Baltimore bus. The whole bus was full of black Americans. Only one other person was whiter than me. He was dressed like a rapper, which is mostly preferred by the same blacks, with baggy trousers, shirt outside, chains and accessories worn around the neck and arm. As soon as I got on the bus, a few of them said, "Yo, what's up, man?". As far as I had learnt, I replied, "Everything is cool, man, what’s up?" I tried to answer like them.
A friendly warning from the driver
Later in the journey, someone shouted out to me, "The driver is calling you." I said to myself, "God, I wonder why” and went over to see him. The following dialogue took place with the bus driver of the black race:
- I wanted to talk to you.
- Sure thing, go ahead.
- It is very obvious that you are not from here. I just wanted to give you a warning. As soon as you arrive at the bus station in Baltimore, take the first taxi you can find without wasting any time and without speaking with anyone, and go to your destination immediately.
- Why are you warning me of this?
- That is not a safe place. The crime rate is very high where we will arrive. I don't want you to have trouble. You are obviously not from here.
- Thank you for your warning. I will do as you say
Thank god for the bus driver. This is what the human heart is like, black and white does not matter. He couldn’t bear to see me go through danger and therefore called me and spoke to me.
Indeed, when I arrived at the bus station late at night, I got off the bus and suddenly people from 3-4 different groups (all were black) were coming over to me (even with so many other people getting off the bus, they all came directly to me) and tried to talk to me. I completely ignored it, jumped in front of the first taxi I saw just outside the bus station and stopped it, and went to the hotel where my father was. Passing through a place where you feel danger in such a tiring journey and arriving at my father's deluxe category hotels, one can experience a culture shock, but I can adapt quickly too. I quickly overcame my uneasiness and told my father, who greeted me in the lobby, about the journey. He smiled and asked me a very key question:
- How will you get back to Montreal?
- (Without hesitation) By plane, of course. I wouldn't want to take the same trip again.
Thankfully, he was helpful and after overseeing our time at the hospital in Baltimore, I returned by plane. I never forget that setting in Baltimore, one of the places with the highest crime rate in America.
The harshness of American police
Before getting into the actual topic, I would like to make a mention about the American police so that you can fully understand the environment. Whether it’s to suppress crime, or it is from impulse reaction, or due to the events that happened to them, and the way they were raised, the US police are known in the world as the toughest. For example, if your speed exceeds the limit, you’ll get stopped by the police in the United States; and you wouldn’t be able to have the same sort of dialogue with the police the way you would in Turkia. You are expected to open the window and talk to the police in a very kind manner with your hands on the wheel. Good luck to you if you object to everything and try to negotiate your way. The attitude of the police there, especially in big metropolises and places with high crime rates, is very harsh. If you are stopped for speeding in America, you may be hit if you do not follow the rules.
However, as in the case of George Floyd, they sometimes lose their control. It is an unacceptable attitude for a policeman to press on the throat of a black man for minutes with his knee to leave him breathless and cause his death, while other policemen watch without any intervention. There are criticisms and efforts to rectify the situation regarding the harsh attitude of the police and their limitless powers. I would like to share one of these with you: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBI8mK8l63x/?igshid=u4yx8uv0meeo
As someone who has seen a lot of things in America and knows the country well, I can more or less guess how the George Floyd incident broke out and what happened. Just to give you that feeling, I would like to share a little black girl's speech in the name of discrimination: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA4w2NgjMTK/?igshid=1kknptgpuvjno
All you have to do is see the backlash against a key question that activist Jane Eliott asked the audience about the discrimination against blacks in the US: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA5mdXcHD6a/?igshid=18g4dkgp39x4f
Racism is everywhere, not just in the US
Cultures that perceive differences not as a substance but as an element of hostility are the majority. Let's give an example of China, which is another superpower like the USA. We can say that our Far Eastern slanted-eyed brothers, who are called the yellow race, also have serious racist veins.
It is surprising that people from this geography, which are exposed to racism in many parts of the world because of their yellow race and their eyes, have racist attitudes. I thought like that too, but as I went there and saw some things with my own eyes and talked to people who knew their race well, I realized that this attitude was one of the normal behaviours there.
The Chinese admire the white race, but they can also adopt an extreme racist attitude towards the black race. Want an example? Here is an ad for a racist laundry tablet that has been on screen for weeks in China: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X27dvuBSyXE
In this ad, they put a black man in a washing machine and make them Chinese after washing them, and supposedly clean the man so he is now white.
You’re surprised, right? I would like to share with you another video that explains in a funny language what living in China means for blacks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqtS3hSwq3o. China became a superpower after it managed to unite all dynasties with different dialects, languages, cultures and traditions in the country. This is applied everywhere. Those who can unite, grow and become stronger, and those who separate them from religion, language, race, origin, and other reasons also lose power.
That is why the US must overcome its own internal problems in order to maintain its position of superpower. In fact, racism and polarization are on the rise not only in the USA, but all over the world. Serious efforts are also being made all over the world to prevent racism and the resulting conflicts. For example, there are leaders of the black community who say "do your protests peacefully, don't commit crimes": https://www.instagram.com/p/CA_nRsoIyA4/?igshid=3fzvzza3davs
Likewise, I can give an example of the Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, who graduated from my university in Canada (McGill University), kneeling down and joining the protesters who became a symbol: https://www.msn.com/tr-tr/haber/dunya/kanada-başbakanı-trudeau-floyd-anısına-diz-çöktü/ss-BB156nZq?ocid=spartanntp
If I talk about a question or a problem in my articles, I definitely share the answer or solution. In my last article on racism, I actually talked about the answer to the question.
Scientific implausibility of racial superiority
Putting everything aside, let's approach it scientifically: The most important reason why humans are the most dominant and powerful species in this world is their rapid adaptation and flexibility. Otherwise, the human race, like the dinosaurs, which are much stronger than us, could easily disappear from the face of the earth. However, when we look at the history of humanity, regardless of the circumstances, we see that the human race, who won the war of life and became smarter with each passing generation, migrated to different places from where they first started and their types changed according to climatic conditions. For example, people in the north have developed lighter skin due to less exposure to the sun and their eyes colors have changed and they have also grown taller and wider. The human race in the African continent or in various other places where the sun makes its effect very much has changed again and the skin has darkened, the nostrils have enlarged and their bodies have been shaped according to the damp or dry place where they are located. It’s really that simple. That is, no one on this earth should tell anyone that they are wiser, that they are the master race, or that they are the holy people chosen by God. We are living in the 21st century, at a time when the millions of years of human history is perhaps the smartest and the fastest change is experienced. We're tired of hearing this nonsense. I will share two symbolic pictures so that I can tell you what I mean:
You can see 3 versions of Trump in the picture above that I shared in my previous article. On the far left is Trump himself, in the middle how the type of his descendants might have changed after generations if Trump had lived in Latin America, and on the right, how his type would have evolved if Trump had lived in Africa. Of course, I do not know how many generations of such a change will occur genetically, I leave it to the experts, but if the descendants of Trump live elsewhere, even if they continue to marry people of their race, their types begin to change in this way.
Especially for this article, I would like to share George Floyd's picture now. If George Floyd lived in a cold geography with little sun (for example, in the Scandinavian countries or northern parts of Russia), then this is how type would change over generations: here is an example:
You can see once again how skin color can change according to geographical features above. Of course, as I mentioned in my previous article, I would like to point out that people of different races are constantly getting mixed up. When you look at countries like Brazil, you clearly see what hybrid breeds can be like. By the way, crossbreeding isn't a bad thing either. On the contrary, if the child has taken the strengths of both his parents, the result can be much better and healthier.
Again, I would like to give you the above eggs as a metaphor. Regardless of the color of egg, the insides of the eggs are same.
Also, of course, children of parents of different races can sometimes draw directly to one parent and have very different appearances apart from being mixed. Here is a striking example for you, twin brothers and sisters (fraternal twins) from different races:
Since I am talking about China in this article, I would like to convey my observations on how the slanting eye is formed. The reason why people of Far Eastern origin also have slanting eyes is that the sun reaches that geography at a right angle.
During my time in China, I noticed that I was squinting due to the steep angle of the sun when I was outside and not wearing sunglasses. I even said this to my colleagues next to me. They were also looking at me unwillingly, squinting at me, and confirmed what I said.
Think about what happens when you squint outside for generations (despite hats and other accessories). The body automatically adapts to this situation. It’s actually that simple.
So, what is the point of separating people from white, yellow, brown and black races that we categorize according to colour and turn them into an element of hostility?
A solution to the problem
Beyond the answer to the question, I will suggest another solution here. In order for us to understand the differences, we have to ensure that people of different races and origins live together from an early age. Just like the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt couple adopting children of different races. Could their own natural child who is blonde, with coloured eyes have negative racist thoughts about their slanted-eyed Southeast Asian sibling? Since they grew up together, they will treat them as a brother and show the necessary respect.
In an environment where borders are removed all over the world, people of different origins should be allowed to live together from an early age (Brazil is a good example, although this is an improvised example), and the elements that will eliminate all negative opinions on this issue should be given in the education system, parent education and training of educators. In these trainings, it should be taught that race and origin are related to geographical conditions, that no one is born superior to anyone, and that they should ignore absurdities such as a superior race. Nobody is naturally a racist. Let's not forget that.
I end my article with the words from my previous article:
The difference is not in the blood, its the goodness of the heart
It is silly to categorise people based on their countries, beliefs or language. I believe there are two types of people: a good person and a bad person. And of course, we can’t say that everyone is 100% good or 100% bad. But there are those who weigh heavier on the good side, ones that know the bad but insist on being good. No matter where you go in the world, no matter which race you deal with, there will be good people and bad people there. In their own country or in their own race there are those who try to inflate the situation on the whole which is nothing but fooling themselves and those around them.
Note: I would like to thank Gokhan and Neslihan Erkek from GEN3 for Trump and Floyd's painting designs and egg picture.
*I would like to thank Berna for her contribution to this section.