In what has been a brutally difficult year, Bruce Springsteen has described the Black Lives Matter movement as a “tremendous hope” as millions attempt to fight institutionalised racism within society.
The movement, which has gained major traction since the death of George Floyd, continues to grow as repeated cases of racism rear their ugly head. Floyd, an African-American man from Minnesota, was murdered by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin when knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest. Floyd, who was handcuffed and lying face down on the road, was unresponsive for 2 minutes and 53 seconds while the officer held his knee down on his neck.
Three other arresting officers, Thomas K. Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, also held Floyd down for this period. The incident, caught both on local CCTV and by video recordings secured bystanders, showed Floyd repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” while the officer held his knee on the back of his neck. The death, along with other high profile cases of a similar tragedy, has sparked mass protests across the United States as the people demand justice.
Reflecting on the rise of the movement in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Springsteen said: “White supremacy and white privilege have gone much deeper than I thought they did. I think my feeling previously to the past three or four years was that racism and white supremacy and white privilege were veins in our extremities, rather than an aorta that cuts through the very heart of the nation, which I feel it is now. So that was eye-opening, whether I was previously stupidly innocent to that or not.”
While the fight against racism is only starting, Springsteen believes that it is possible to achieve “a society where people really see one another as full men and women, as Americans, is possible” but admitted that he does not forsee a future in which the world operates in a “post-racial” state.
“It’s a movement of tremendous hope and it’s a tremendously diverse group of young people that are out on the street,” he added. “And it’s a movement that history is demanding right now.”