This is it.
This is it. Who will we become after this event in history?
In the midst of this pandemic, that has affected every corner of the earth and has reminded us that we are all in fact, connected. My daily news feed on social media is still filled up with the hate that we, as black people face. There is no way to hide behind the idea that we live in a ‘post-racial’ society. If that were true, then why when the Covid-19 really took hold, did the Asian community experience a rise in hate crimes? As if every person of Asian descent has to be held accountable. When even though it has faded into the background, we are still in the process of Brexit; a campaign mainly fuelled by the suspicion and hatred of the foreigner. In the midst of this global pandemic, the British conservative government has actually managed to pass the immigration bill that allows the United Kingdom to take ‘control of its borders’ and with a new points based system will only attract the ‘best and brightest.’ Only to those who are able to live in a certain pay grade.
We are all familiar of the memes of ‘Living while black’, interactions with ‘Karen’s’ and micro-aggressions that can take place everywhere we go. The interruptions we face just wanting to live can end with us humiliated, disrespected and even dead; the most recent being Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
Our children are watching us. They are growing up in a society where they have greater access to the wider world and this is what they are witnessing. The continued animosity of people who then who have the audacity to say that they are not racist, that they don’t have a racist bone in their body. That they are in fact, the least racist people in the world. With the help of modern technology it is no longer our word against theirs. Video evidence is our defence against people who would twist words and motives to their benefit. It has become painfully clear the devices and strategies that we have long known to be true, but now are proven.
Not only that, the institutions of education, housing, work and healthcare are still weapons that can be utilised against us, whether this is consciously or unconsciously done is conversation that can literally go round and round in circles.
However, we still face the same vitriol when we try to better our lot, when we pull together and lift each other up. Suddenly, we are the racists and our collective presence is deemed a threat. When we show a public outpouring of appreciation for ourselves and our people we are accused of hating others. Honestly, I don’t even know how that makes sense! How can building self-worth and confidence be a negative thing? How can producing images to inspire the next generation be seen as sowing seeds of hatred? How can our desire to empower each other be used as the same thing to keep us down. Whether as individuals or as a group, we face obstacles that at times that can be all encompassing. As soon as we step out of our doors we are in the battlefield. When we decide to take a stand it proves to some, how violent and out of control we are.
The truth, the undesirable, ugly truth is that to some, we are still a threat. Our bodies, our lives and our desires are for some, impermissible. It cannot be allowed to exist, let alone thrive.
And yet, just when I want to explode and want to scream, cry and fight, I look to my own children. They are watching me and I must have hope that by the time they have grown things will have improved in some way. Not all the way, just some.
This is it. I say it again, THIS. IS. IT. This is the moment from which we must look at how every person adds to the rich tapestry of our civilisation. There are many examples of history that can be drawn that act as warnings if we continue in the old order of things.
We must also pay attention to the good examples we have before us, from the past and the present. As black people we continue to pioneer in the fields of education, medicine, business, art, science, entertainment and many more. We can think of at least one person in each category whether they are famous or not that inspire us. We must not also forget the people who work tirelessly day after day in jobs that we know are necessary for our society for function. They are an inspiration too and much closer to home example of dedication and resilience need to be out in the world. Let us acknowledge the family structures that have nurtured us as well and have often been the place where we can be ourselves the most. I know that hasn’t been the case for all of us; however I know that we often create the spaces and the families that keep us going.
It is also true that we are not alone in the fight. I know that there are many who are not black that support us and use their voices in the name of justice. They call out the racism they see and cry with us. There are actually many police offers who whole-heatedly believe in serving the people. There are those in key positions that share in the struggle.
Even though I framed the initial question as ‘we,’ really I want to ask the rest of the world is what will YOU do? Because I know what we will do. We will continue to excel in all areas of life regardless if we get the media attention or not. We will continue to live and exercise our right to exist; our voices and lives if not cherished by the world at large, will be cherished by us. As collective, Black, White, Asian, First Nation and many more, WE will mourn the people we have lost due to hatred and the approved abuse that we as minorities face. Our hearts break once again and the fight continues until we are all free.