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Psychologist: Riots more about repeated injustice than COVID stress

riots in streets 

by Joseph Earnest June 5, 2020


Newscast Media HOUSTON, TXAs George Floyd protests entered their tenth day, over 10,000 people have been arrested, at least 13 have died and many more have been injured including both rioters and police officers. The nationwide mayhem in the US has coincided with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, which have dealt a heavy blow to the country's economy. One might wonder whether the riots have come as a result of the quarantine fatigue.

History shows that riots are often a predictable result of quarantines; in the US, there were protests and riots in the 1900s due to the smallpox isolation and more recently, in 2009, there were prison riots in Mexico which were sparked by the swine flu outbreak.

Still, the recent wave of protests over the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year old African American, appears to be less connected to COVID-19 and its associated stress, according to Erlanger Turner, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University.

"In my opinion, the reaction is strongly connected to repeated incidences of injustice and lack of accountability for law-enforcement’s behaviour towards racial and minoritised individuals in the United States", the professor, who studies mental health among racial communities, believes.

The psychologist's strong belief is that the African Americans' frustration and anger over "the amount of oppression that continues to be experienced" by them "has added to why people are beginning to protest".

"From a psychological perspective, people often express anger by responding with aggression to release their frustration", the expert explains. "Anger is a universal emotion and often is a psychological response to disappointment or threat. People’s lives are being threatened and their natural response is anger."

The protests started in Minneapolis on 26 May 2020, the day after the 46-year old African American died during the arrest. Police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes despite Floyd complained that he couldn't breathe, as a bystander's video widely shared on social media indicated.

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Source: Sputnik News














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