The Mosaic Institute
What's New

The Financial Consequences of Ignoring racism

2020/07/31title

By: Glendon College Master of Public & International Affairs Project & Research Assistant, 2020

On May 25 2020, George Floyd was killed by police in the United States in Minneapolis (BBC). His death brought to light an issue that seems to have remained unresolved for decades, police violence against African Americans and minorities. This is not the first or even the last time that such an event has occurred, on June 12 Rayshard Brook was killed at a drive through in Atlanta by the police (BBC) .

However this article isn’t about the deaths of these individuals who have once again highlighted the discriminatory nature of police forces in certain cities; it is about the financial consequences of ignoring the issues that should have been addressed years ago, of constantly failing minority groups and letting the pressure build until society explodes. After George Floyd, Minneapolis experienced a period of violence that would see at least 55 million dollars’ worth of damage (CBS Minnesota) , in Atlanta the drive through Wendy’s where Rayshard Brook was shot was burned down (BBC) .

You may not be a member of a minority group but you still use services and pay taxes, taxes that will have to be used to repair the damage and services that may at best be temporarily suspended or permanently closed at worst, and with every riot comes the risk that personal property or even housing may be lost.

This is an issue that affects all of us, not just communities at risk. A clear case for this was made by the 1992 Los Angeles riot. The riots lasted for 3 days and saw 58 dead, 2,300 injured and between $446 and $750 million in property damage (Spencer) , others place the cost at over $1 billion (Spencer) . All of this should make it clear that even if someone has no desire to address long standing issues that affect minority groups, they should still have a stake in ensuring that police brutality and systemic injustice be dealt with, lest their hard earn tax dollars be lost in repairing the damage resulting from the eruption of violence caused by these unaddressed systemic issues.

If we do not face this issue head on and without compromises, then we will simply continue the cycle, and the damage we see being done now may just be a preview of what is to come if things remain unchanged, just as the 1965 Watts riots where a preview of what as to come in Los Angles in 1992 (YouTube, National Geographic) , and the price that society will pay physically and monetarily will continue to rise.

References

  1. BBC, George Floyd: What happened in the final moments of his life, web, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52861726
  2. BBC, Rayshard Brooks: What happened before police shot him dead?, web, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53052077
  3. CBSMinnesota, Minneapolis Property Damage From George Floyd Unrest Estimated At $55M And Counting, web, https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/06/03/minneapolis-property-damage-from-george-floyd-unrest-estimated-at-55m-and-counting/#:~:text=Minneapolis%20Property%20Damage%20From%20George%20Floyd%20Unrest%20Estimated%20At%20%2455M%20And%20Counting,-June%203%2C%202020&text=MINNEAPOLIS%20(WCCO)%20%E2%80%94%20The%20city,million%20in%20destruction%20so%20far.
  4. BBC, Rayshard Brooks: What happened before police shot him dead?, web, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53052077
  5. Spencer, James H. "LOS ANGELES SINCE 1992: HOW DID THE ECONOMIC BASE OF RIOT-TORN NEIGHBORHOODS FARE AFTER THE UNREST?" Race, Gender & Class 11, no. 1 (Jan 31, 2004): 94. http://ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/218858714?accountid=15182.
  6. CNN, Los Angeles Riots Fast Facts, web, https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/us/los-angeles-riots-fast-facts/index.html
  7. YouTube, National Geographic, LA 92 (Full Documentary) | National Geographic, web, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaotkHlHJwo