Here are questions to ponder as we search for solutions for injustice in our society
I have never felt comfortable discussing the issues of racism outside of my family and circles of my fellow black brothers and sisters.
And here is why.
I don’t want to be seen as a victim.
I don’t think it adds any value going forward.
I don’t want to destroy current and ongoing relationships with friends and business partners that are of a different race than me.
Now, I must admit how naive I’ve been on issues like this.
As my wife and I watched the video of the unfortunate incident that led to the death of George Floyd, we cried.
It was painful to watch.
It was hard to believe what we were watching.
Our emotions were high.
And I wondered…
What drives someone to hate to a point of taking another person’s life?
What role does our society play in aiding incidents like this?
Who is to blame for this?
Who benefits from incidents like this?
And what can we do to stop this from happening again?
A lot of great articles have been written on Medium and outside of Medium on this. I will share some of these shortly.
Before I do, I will attempt to answer some of these questions that confront all of us. I will also pose additional questions for you to consider.
Are the cops to blame?
The temptation to generalize is quite high. In situations like this, it is easy to scream that all cops are murderers.
There are good cops and there are bad cops. The fact is the majority of the cops are good. There is 1% of cops that cause major concerns like this in our society.
We know that the police in many municipalities are working hard to get rid of these bad cops. We applaud their effort. And we recognize that the police have more work to do to put an end to incidents like this.
Are the protesters to blame?
It is quite easy when you’re not emotionally attached to a situation to give your opinion.
When emotions are high, people lose logic as it is hard to reason correctly.
We know that the majority of the protesters are peaceful. It is 1% of protesters that are looting and causing the destruction.
Should we excuse them for looting? Yes. Why? Because they are acting out of high emotions resulting from the incident. They’ve lost their logic to reason at the moment.
Should they be punished for looting and protesting violently? Yes.
I certainly don’t advocate violence and I don’t suggest you participate in violent protest. The majority of the protests we’ve seen are peaceful.
And the reason we protest is to put a spotlight on the injustice we continue to see from time to time. To hopefully cause a change in direction and ultimately, save Black lives.
Are the politicians to blame?
Should we blame Trump for dividing America? Should we blame Obama? Is it the Republicans? The Democrats?
It is a complex issue and it is certainly hard to point fingers. Different people will have different opinions based on alliances and other factors.
The truth is leadership plays a role in aiding racism. And I believe leadership will also play a role in combating it.
Who benefits from incidents like this?
Is it the political parties? Is the Middle East celebrating that America is so divided? Is China happy that America cannot be united? Is the media benefiting from this?
This is complex, but is it good to ponder on these. The reality is that no matter the incident, there are groups that will benefit from it.
The obvious one is the media. Bad news will always benefit the media as it drives traffic to their media outlets.
As a society, this incident may lead to a turning point for real change in our society. Change that may reduce incidents of racism. Change that may ultimately save Black lives.
Can we eliminate racism and discrimination?
Based on the history of mankind, it is unlikely we can eliminate racism and discrimination.
It is unfortunate that we will continue to live with this in our society.
We will always have Whites that hate Blacks among us.
There are Blacks that hate Whites.
There are groups of White people that will discriminate against other groups of White people based on country of origin, language, tribe, etc.
The same is true for groups of Black people that will discriminate against other groups of Balck people based on county of origin, tribe, language, etc.
We can expand this to Latinos, Chinese, Indians, etc. It never ends.
So, we will continue to see discrimination against the poor and marginalized in our society.
It is in our nature to judge. We judge and discriminate people all the time based on color, height, weight, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. This will never stop.
As individuals, we have to educate ourselves on these biases we carry all the time. We have to recognize it, accept it, pause and reconsider before we finally make a decision.
Together as a society, we can work hard to reduce the incidents of racism and discrimination.
I believe we can all agree that we’ve made progress on this compared to 50 or 100 years ago. It is better today. But we have work to do.
What can we do to protect ourselves and our community?
Obviously, raising awareness of this issue in our workplace, in our gatherings with friends of other races, and in our homes will help.
Speaking up and challenging the status quo will help.
Participating actively in our political process will certainly help. We need to vote and elect politicians that can make changes in our criminal justice systems.
Helping our communities become financially free is critical. If the marginalized groups in our society are empowered financially, incidents of racism and discrimination will likely reduce.
Creating more entrepreneurs in the marginalized groups will help. For example, if we have more and more Black businesses that are successful, no one can tell us what to do. We will not depend on groups that discriminate against us for anything.
If you run an organization, consider a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives you can run in your organization. This one suggested by Leticia Rose is a great start.
Read the following great articles for ideas and inspiration on how you can help fight racism and discrimination in our society:
- How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change By President Barck Obama
- Love Us Like You Love Our Culture by Andy’s Buckets
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice by Corinne Shutack
- Maintaining Professionalism in the age of black death is…a lot by Shenequa Golding
- Black Lives Matter: An opinion from a ten-year-old by Dražen? Dražen!
- I’m afraid to watch the video of George Floyd. Here’s why… by Tosin Akinwekomi
- How to Be a Good American by Stephanie Georgopulos
- CNN’s Omar Jimenez Could Have Been Me — Or Any of My Black Colleagues by Jada Gomez
- My Dad Warned Me About the Myth of Racial Progress. He Was Right by Drew Costley
- We won’t let this moment be a trend by Vanessa K. De Luca
- Office Allies Can’t Undo Yet Another Black Murder by The Only Black Guy In the Office
As a black man, I couldn’t help but worry that I may be the next victim as I watched the video of this incident with my wife.
I couldn’t stop worrying about the safety of my wife, my 26-year old son, my 12-year old daughter, and my 10-year old son.
I couldn’t stop worrying about all my family members, relatives, friends, colleagues, employees, and business partners that are black.
I couldn’t stop worrying about the marginalized in our society.
In spite of this, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that awareness will continue to grow.
I’m hopeful that we will see meaningful change now and in the years to come.
As difficult and challenging as it is today…
Let’s choose to love rather than to hate.
Let’s choose to forgive rather than to continue to live in unforgiveness.
Let’s choose to speak up against injustice.
Let’s choose to show compassion for the marginalized in our society.
Let’s choose to pray for the haters, that they will have a change of heart.