Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “Racism is institutional here, a more lethal virus than Covid-19”


The assassination of the American citizen George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman in Minneapolis generated an escalation of protests in the United States, which began with the encouragement of the African American community, which spread throughout the territory. Among the words that sounded loudest today are those of a legendary former basketball player: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “Here racism is institutional, a more lethal virus than Covid 19. The black hunting season has reopened, but the African American community is at the limit because for too many years it is as if it had lived inside burning buildings”, the words by Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, a former NBA legend, in a column published in the Los Angeles Times.

“Perhaps the main concern of the black community right now is not if the protesters are standing three or six feet away or if some desperate souls steal some shirts or even set fire to a police station, but if their children, husbands and wives, brothers and fathers will be killed by policemen just to go for a walk or drive. Or if being black means taking refuge at home for the rest of their lives because the racist virus that infects the country is more deadly than Covid-19. If you are white, you probably murmur a horrified ‘oh my God’ as you shake your head in the face of cruel injustices. If you’re black, you probably jumped up, swearing and screaming ‘again!’, Wrote the former champion.

With 20 seasons in the NBA – star of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he has won six champion titles until his retirement in 1989 – Abdul-Jabbar is a universal reference for his sport. Retired in 1989, he has always kept his voice raised in defense of his community. “Those Minneapolis cops claimed that Floyd was resisting detention, but a video from the store showed it wasn’t. The policeman who approached Floyd’s neck was not a stereotype of an enraged southerner, but an officer who seemed calm and ruthless: he embodied the banality of evil. ” To add even more critical: “racism in America is like dust in the air. It looks invisible, even if you are suffocating, until you let the sun in. Then we see that it is everywhere. As long as we let the light in, we will have the opportunity to clean it up. But we must be vigilant, because it is always in the air. “

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