George Clooney says racism is 'greatest pandemic', calls for systemic change

Los Angeles, Jun 2 (PTI) Hollywood superstar George Clooney has penned an essay in the wake of the protests over the death of George Floyd, the African-American man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

Floyd died last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes. The officer was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder.

In his essay, published by Daily Beast, Clooney called racism as the 'greatest pandemic' of the US, lamenting that there hasn't been a 'vaccine' for it even after 400 years.

'This is our pandemic. It infects all of us, and in 400 years we’ve yet to find a vaccine. It seems we’ve stopped even looking for one and we just try to treat the wound on an individual basis. And we sure haven’t done a very good job of that,' the 59-year-old actor said.

He called for 'systemic change' in the country to tackle the problem of racism.

'The anger and the frustration we see playing out once again in our streets is just a reminder of how little we’ve grown as a country from our original sin of slavery.

'The fact that we aren’t actually buying and selling other human beings anymore is not a badge of honour. We need systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system,' Clooney said.

The actor said that Floyd's death was reminiscent of the killing of Eric Garner's in 2014, since they both pleaded to the police, 'I can't breathe.' 'How many times have we seen people of colour killed by police? Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Laquan McDonald. There is little doubt that George Floyd was murdered. We watched as he took his last breath at the hands of four police officers.

'Now we see another defiant reaction to the systemic cruel treatment of a portion of our citizens like we saw in 1968, 1992, and 2014. We don’t know when these protests will subside. We hope and pray that no one else will be killed. But we also know that very little will change,' Clooney added.

The actor then took aim at US President Donald Trump, who has been criticised for his response to the countrywide protests against police brutality.

'We need policymakers and politicians that reflect basic fairness to all of their citizens equally. Not leaders that stoke hatred and violence as if the idea of shooting looters could ever be anything less than a racial dog whistle. Bull Connor was more subtle.' Clooney concluded his essay by urging Americans to vote for change in the upcoming US Presidential elections.

'So this week, as we’re wondering what it’s going to take to fix these seemingly insurmountable problems, just remember we created these issues so we can fix them. And there is only one way in this country to bring lasting change: Vote,' the actor said. PTI RB SHD SHD