Racism & Change
Over the past few weeks, we have all noticed the divergence from the coronavirus pandemic to the George Floyd racism Protest. For those of us who watched the George Floyd Murder video, I am very sure it resonated so much pain, anguish, and bitterness within us. The first thing that came to mind for me was the quest of the possibility of how such heinous act could occur in 2020.
Secondly, I was appalled that there are people out there whose consciences has been seared with evil as I kept wondering why the police officer could not have an iota of human sympathy.
As I lay on my bed reminiscing that gory video, I kept asking how the world got to this. A world where people now derive join from inflicting pain on others, a world where everyone is in a hurry for the next achievement at the expense of a human soul, a world where videos of deaths and heinous crimes are being posted daily on social media to the point that is now normal and okay to watch such videos without feeling of pain and injustice, a world driven by the cycle of greed and exploitation.
While growing up as a child in a local community environment, I was used to seeing acts of love, humanity and kindness, we were all our neighbour’s keeper. The essence of life back then was based on sharing, watching out for others, and rallying round to help one another in times of difficulties. But unfortunately such values of togetherness, oneness, communal joy and help is seemingly disappearing from today’s life’s reality as the focus has now shifted.
Sometimes seeing things like this makes me lose hope for the future, but I have learnt that while hope is futuristic, faith is in the now and I must learn to stay optimistic in the tiniest bit of hope. Faith is aligning actions that would bring the hope we desire.
One of the actions of the glimmer of faith I noticed in the last few weeks was the consistency of the protest for the killing of George Floyd. One may say but this isn’t the first time people are protesting- after all they protested during the killing of Eric Garner, Trevor Martin, Philando Castle etc and yet nothing changed, so what’s the big deal about George Floyd protest. I personally disagree with such a mindset. As a process improvement professional and one who is process driven, am a strong believer of change and that change is incremental and not dramatic or overnight. What brings about change is the consistency in a cause, belief, or an act.
For the first time and what makes George Floyds death protest different was the togetherness of all races come together to protest against injustice and societal ills with various organizations speaking out and condemning such . For the first time all races especially the white folks are beginning to believe and witness the truth about systemic and institutionalized racism which has been the cry of the black man. For the first time I have witnessed organisations pledging and donating large sums of money to tackle the fight against this global pandemic called racism, people and the media are beginning to walk away from the shadows of political correctness to engage and dialogue on racial issue. Also even countries that have engaged in slavery, imperialism, and colonization are taking a step to re-define their paths with respect to celebration and display of slave trader statues or the pulling down/ re-definition of such statues in the community. That to me is change on a greater level that I have never seen. While some folks may see some of these steps as being hypocritical, for me I see them as change in the right direction which has never happened, and if consistency is applied in championing these causes then the glimmer hope which looked very far off is a possibility.
So while I applaud organisations, institutions, and governmental bodies that are willing to take a step in the right direction, the next focus for me and other individuals is what can we do in our little sphere of influence that brings about the change we so much desire. Some of the survival modes I have developed over time in my survival against racial discrimination in the UK .
Firstly,refusing to adopt the victim mentality: I have heard lots of discussions from friends and during the protest that black lives have been socially, educationally, and poorly deprived of fairness, equality, and opportunities. While that may be true to some degree, however I personally choose not to see myself through such mindset and limitations. The problem I have with folks who always play the victim mentality is that they always have ongoing excuses for their present predicaments, limitations, or reasons behind why they cannot succeed. They blame racism, government, societal injustice, family backgrounds etc. One thing we all must owe ourselves amidst all these seemingly incapacitating limitations is the strive for excellence at all cost irrespective of racial prejudice. My everyday inspiration comes from the black men and women that have chosen to forge ahead against all odds. To me those are the real world heroes that have drawn a mix of inner strength, hard work and determination to succeed in life, and those are the kind of values we should instil in our kids, communities, and environment.
Secondly,another survival value system I have adopted in dealing with racial prejudice is the need for minorities to educate, enlighten and expose our white folks. If you carry out a statistical study, you would be amazed at the level of ignorant perception and information white folks hold about blacks or ethnic minorities. To a large extent some of them are being fed with bias information from media, some are based on the false news about immigrants coming to seek asylum, only a few are aware that a majority of ethnic minorities are actually highly educated and relocate to the UK as an economic migrant to study. It is our responsibility to educate such ignorant folks about such negative perceptions. A white friend of mine works in the banking sector, and she is married to a black guy. It was surprising to her that her colleagues asked if her husband was an asylum seeker. I have been asked by many white folks if I learnt English in the UK due to my fluency, confidence in presentation and articulation, some exhibit a form of astonishment when the realise that you are highly professionally placed, some are surprised you live in a good house in a good location. The list of possible questions is inexhaustible, but however it is up to us to seize such opportunities to educate, enlighten and pull down such negative perceptions. I get angry when black folks just smile and walk away without seizing such opportunities because negative perceptions breeds and eats deep into families, children, and society. We should eradicate ignorance.
Thirdly, the need for integrating and Parental Education: As much as it lies within us, my advice to the black community is let us learn to integrate into the society. Integration is a major part of education and exposure as it affords us the opportunity to appreciate the value of diversity and learn about other cultures. I work for a global organization and its so obvious that during lunch, black folks mingle together in seclusion, and same goes for the white or Indian folks. Sometimes I challenge my self to have a mix of nationalities during lunch time to foster work relations. Integration could also be within the community. I see the community as the most basic place where change can come from and voices being heard as it is a place where our kids tend to mingle due to shared school locations and places of activities. As much as it lies within us, it would be beneficial for us to integrate in places like this so we can be better placed to effect any change and identify loopholes or relationships which may be beneficial or adverse for our kids.
Finally, it is vital we raise our kids so they we never forget who we are, whose we are and where we are headed to. Let us never see ourselves as less than the white folks out there because we are more intelligent, educated, and resourceful than any-one thinks. This would help fuel our self -confidence and esteem and make us rise above injustice, prejudice, and other societal ills. Never see yourself as a deprived victim but one that is born to win and succeed regardless. With that in mind we can show the world that no race is more superior to the other.
Until next time, stay blessed and See you at the top.