Amanda Van Annan talks about racism on her new podcast
As mass Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests continue in cities across the United States, demonstrations that have been ignited by the murder of George Floyd earlier this month, many discussions surrounding the issue of systemic racism and police brutality have emerged.
One such discussion took place in the third episode of “Beauty and the Beat”, the new podcast that launched on May 25th and is anchored by British model, actress, and entrepreneur Amanda Van Annan who is joined by fellow models Sophia Brad and Betsie Dsane. The episode discusses the issue of racism and the social constructs surrounding it and why these prejudices continue to exist and have not been successfully eradicated in society today.
The issue of systemic racism in the US which is strongly ingrained into the country through a history of slavery has a long-term impact on how racism is socially present today. Systemic racism and inequality can be seen in all aspects of daily life, in the segregated neighborhoods, in the workplace, in schools, in high minority incarceration rates, and in police brutality and racial bias in law enforcement.
On the currently heated subject of police brutality against African Americans, there have been many debates addressing the issue of police officers exerting extreme and oftentimes illegal force caused by racial bias from mostly white police departments. Police officers are expected to protect the peace and apprehend perpetrators while using lethal force that they have been trained to know when or when not to use.
However, the actual duration of training that police officers go through might be inadequate, for example, police training in Minneapolis is only 4 months and slightly higher at 6 months in New York City. The lack of substantial training for these police officers to help them better conduct their jobs while educating them on racism and perhaps even detecting if there are racial biases within police departments might help alleviate inequalities and systemic bias.
Recent protests have been calling for a “defunding of the police” as protestors believe that there is no real chance of reform and that the police system in its current form is deeply corrupt and racially biased asking for funding to go to the education of minority communities instead.
Racial inequalities continue to be an issue in the workplace. Companies need to promote corporate diversity by hiring more people of color and need to stop discriminating based on the color of one’s skin. The percentage of black and brown people in positions of power within a corporation is quite low, there are very few black and brown professionals in top leadership roles and even less hold CEO positions. Black professionals also struggle more than their white counterparts as they feel the need to prove their worth and work harder to advance in a corporation despite having all of the necessary qualifications for a leadership position. At the same time, there seems to be a lack of awareness and acknowledgment of this situation from white professionals. There truly is a need for more diversity in top management positions.
This can be achieved by providing more opportunities for advancement, promoting individuals based on their merits, and not excluding them because of their race. If clear and concise standards for advancement are implemented within the business culture more opportunities can be created for minorities who feel that these top positions are not attainable for them.
At the same time, there is a stealth aspect to racism that makes it less obvious, not allowing people to clearly identify it in everyday life thus ultimately impeding change and reform. If it is difficult to prove that systemic racism really does exist, then it will be equally challenging to bring about actual change and eradication.
However, in order to move forward, you need to acknowledge that systemic action rather than debate over the issue is needed. Education on the subject and collective action can challenge the system and leave no room for racism – an unacceptable social construct that undermines another person’s value as a human being.
For an interesting read that can provide some insight on how the construction of race for social and political reasons came to be you can also check out this article on Amanda Van Annan’s blog, thedichotomyofbeauty.