In the wake of the killing of Minnesota citizen George Floyd and murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, all of whom were African Americans, celebrities like Oscar winner Voila Davis as well as Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, shared an illustrated video explaining what systemic racism is in Instagram.
The video first posted on YouTube in April 2019 by act.tv, long before hundreds of U.S. citizens started to occupy the streets after the death of George Floyd. When the video was posted in the description it was mentioned that "Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans, and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system."
But after almost one year since it was first posted on YouTube, several people started sharing video on social media at the time when the U.S. is facing a massive amount of outrage after the killing of 46-year-old Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
What Does the Video Show?
The video tells a story of two American boys- Jamal, an African American boy living in a poor neighborhood, and Kevin, a white boy living in a wealthy neighborhood- who are friends. The video includes a detailed description of how Jamal's school is not as well funded as Kevin's. It also showcases that Jamal's school is more crowded where teachers are underpaid, and he doesn't have access to a private tutor or extracurricular activities which are completely opposite to what Kevin is seeing.
The video describes the history of this system, even though these boys live a few streets away from each other. It explains that after the Civil War, the cities divided up sections that were desirable and undesirable for investment, a process which is called "redlining" that blocked off access to African Americans from private and public investment.
It points out that this prevented many African Americans from owning a home, while segregated colleges prevented them from getting a post-secondary education. The video showed that even though Kevin's grandparents were not only able to secure a low-interest loan, they attended college, providing opportunities to the next generations.
The video also mentions that studies done on redlining have confirmed that this practice still has negative consequences for people living in major cities in today's date. It explains another term- "implicit bias," which also impacts Jamal's life. Both the boys mentioned in the video graduate high school, attend the same university, and graduate with the same GPA.
But due to Jamal's name on the resume, he will likely experience implicit bias when applying for jobs that prevent him from getting the same opportunities as Kevin. The video says, "Systemic problems require systemic solutions."
The Online Reaction Says it All
After the video was posted by Viola Davis with a caption, "Systematic Racism Explained #ReparationsNow #BlackLivesMatter @actdottv @juveeproductions," she captioned the post," one of her followers stated that "This is an excellent summation of so much complex history. Thank you for posting!" while another wrote "This is very well and easily explained... #welldone."
One follower of Ellen Pompeo, who recently went out on street along with other protesters in the U.S. said, "I'm sorry I never do this but I'm from South Africa and what they are describing here is literally almost exactly the same as Apartheid which people still scrutinize us for. I know what was done is wrong so I'm not defending it my point is just how come cause we gave a name for it we are known for such a bad thing only."