The Straits Times says

No time and place for racism in society

Scholarships bearing his name still pave the way for foreign students going to Oxford University, but last week Oriel College voted to take down the statue of Cecil Rhodes, a 19th-century imperialist and supremacist whose views are thought to have contributed to apartheid. As the worldwide churn to reckon with racism continues, two prominent British firms - insurance giant Lloyd's and pub chain Greene King - have announced that they would recruit more black and Asian employees to make amends for the companies' participation in the slave trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. Earlier this month, Berlin became the first German state to pass its own anti-discrimination law which bars the police, public schools and other authorities from choices based on colour, religion and other grounds. Cases of racial discrimination in Germany, where a quarter of the population has a migration background, rose by almost 10 per cent to 1,176 last year.

Such reforms come as the death last month of Mr George Floyd, an African American who suffocated when a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him, continues to reverberate. It has galvanised millions across the world to join protests, forcing a rethink over injustices that fester in societies even amid the raging coronavirus pandemic and the tail-spinning economies. Crowds in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa marched against police brutality. In Australia, solidarity was expressed with the Aborigines who have been at the receiving end of discriminatory policies that left them poorer and with an average life expectancy that is eight years less than other Australians.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2020, with the headline 'No time and place for racism in society'. Print Edition | Subscribe