By Javad Heirannia

Floyd murder falls within serial killings of the blacks: Philosopher Lingis

June 13, 2020 - 12:31

TEHRAN - Alphonso Lingis, a professor emeritus of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University, says the killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis was just an example in a series of murders taking place against black Americans.

“The murder of George Floyd was another in a continuous series of unarmed black men killed by the police,” Lingis tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.
Professor Lingis says, “Unarmed black people are three and a half times more likely to be shot by police than unarmed white people.”
Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: After a black man was killed in Minneapolis, popular protests erupted against this violent act. What are the reasons for such reactions, especially by blacks?

A: The murder of George Floyd was another in a continuous series of unarmed black men killed by the police. Unarmed black people are three and a half times more likely to be shot by police than unarmed white people. 

“The press has documented a long history of racism against African-Americans in Donald Trump’s real estate dealings and social life.”Q: Following the incident, Donald Trump as president angered protesters with a tweet to the point that Twitter was forced to hide it. What is the reason for Trump's racist approach?

A: The press has documented a long history of racism against African-Americans in Donald Trump’s real estate dealings and social life.  He attacked the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency baselessly claiming that Obama was born in Africa.

Q: Given that the November elections, it seems that Trump feels that racist rhetoric can attract those whites who have racial tendencies. What is your assessment?

A: A large part of Trump supporters are people who lost good jobs in manufacture as a result of globalization. In the 2016 election, Trump blamed Mexicans and Chinese who were “stealing American jobs.” He depicted Mexicans as lawless and without morals. Now he accuses the Chinese of deliberately creating the coronavirus or in any case allowing it to spread to destroy the American economy. He is blaming the American African-Americans who are protesting police brutality for destroying buildings and property. Will enough people accept this to ensure his reelection?  As of now, it looks problematic; a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 64 percent of Americans sympathize with "people who are out protesting right now" compared to 27 percent who were not, while 9 percent are unsure. 

Q: One of the issues facing the United States is multiculturalism for which liberalism has not been able to find a solution. Why has the country not been able to find a way to this multiculturalism and attract immigrants, linguistic, racial, and religious minorities to the dominant American culture?

A: An over-complex question that would require a long discussion.  I will just make two observations.

From ancient times great cities were multicultural--Kassite Babylonia, Rome, Persepolis, Qosqo. Palmyra, Istanbul.  Modern cities are multicultural—Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, São Paulo, San Francisco, Singapore. 140 languages are spoken in Toronto, 200 in London, 250 in Sydney. They are stable, innovative, and prosperous. Tensions that arise between groups have to be resolved locally.

My city, Baltimore, has lost a great deal of its manufacturing industries and consequently population; from 950,000 in 1950 to 660,000 today.  There are 18,000 empty buildings in the city.  At her inauguration, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a policy to settle 20,000 families in the city in the next four years. She welcomed refugees and immigrants from Central America, Africa, the Middle East, Nepal, and set up a set of organizations with money to help them find housing and work, to learn English and computers, receive medical care.  She emphasized all that they will bring to our city: restaurants with food from many lands, new ways to think, more languages and religions, new music and festivities.

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