“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
A BRIEF GLIMPSE OF RACISM
A young West Indian child in London told me that Jesus could not have been white, because he lived in a hot country. A young South African child of colour told me that she wished her skin was lighter. A Black American teenager in New York told me that he was consistently stopped by police, often resulting on being late for work. He lost one job as a result. He thought his smart business suit would protect him, but instead his skin colour made him a target. An older man of colour told me that his baggage was searched every time he flew to the USA. He said he was being profiled.
DOES OUR SKIN COLOUR DEFINE US?
Yes! Should it define us? No! We live in a world that makes judgements about our race, our skin colour. People are vilified, and unfair judgements made about their characters and abilities. As a black American you are 2.5 times more likely to be shot at and killed by the police. Shoot first ask questions later when it’s too late appears to be the norm. Getting shot by police is the leading cause of death for black men in USA.
The latest incident in Minneapolis, USA, resulting in the death of George Floyd by a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, begs the questions – WHY? And WHEN IS THIS GOING TO STOP! The police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck effectively strangling him. Two other officers restrained Mr Floyd whilst a fourth officer stopped onlookers from helping. No attempt was made to revive him. A criminal and inhumane act by people who are paid to protect society. There are no words to express the unnecessary pain and anguish George Floyd’s family are experiencing.
Demonstrations and protests against the unlawful killing of George Floyd tossed many cities across the USA into a maelstrom of rioting and looting. Peaceful demonstrations were hijacked by louts who didn’t give a damn about the killing of another black man in our supposed civilized society. They are not supporters of a cause, and their actions further defiled George’s memory. A poignant and powerful verse was sent to me and I would like to share it.
Close your eyes,
Put your feet on the ground,
Breathe in, breathe out,
Unrest unfolds in ‘the land of the free,’
Racism has been triggered,
The beast has been let loose,
Rage fills our hearts and souls.
What has happened?
Where is the love, compassion, and care for one another?
Where is the respect?
We speak in tongues of distaste, hatred, and rage,
We want to be heard,
We want to be HEARD!
Can you hear me?
Many are hurting,
Many are weeping.
Let us share our experience, strength, and hope,
And listen to one another.
Hold me as I weep
So, I do not feel I am alone.
Let us cry together,
Find a solution together.
So, close your eyes,
Pause when agitated,
Breathe in, breath out,
Each passing second we have a chance to turn it all around,
Today my solution is to communicate, listen, hear, be human,
To live in love.
What is yours?
Copyright © Rose Prose
I have yet to hear someone say that all White people are criminals or stupid or any other kind of slur. Yet it appears to be acceptable to say that all Black people are rapists (a comment made to me earlier this year), or thieves or numerous other negative statements. Reverse the situation. How would White people feel if the world saw them of perpetrators of all criminal activity?
How would they feel knowing their skin colour screamed out to the world – ‘We are different. We will mug you and rob you.’ One would assume that the coronavirus pandemic has created a form of equality, after all we are all in the same boat, our lives at risk. Quite the opposite. Stereotyping has made the wearing of face masks difficult for Black and Latino people, especially Black Americans.
They are afraid people will assume they are criminals or gangsters, or a threat. There is no justification for any human to be put in this position. It’s a corrupt thought process that divides and alienates.
This is a mixture of networks and circumstances that favours white people above people of colour. Access to housing, good healthcare, good education, a well-paid job, are what we all strive for, but if you are non-white the likelihood of achieving all of these is on a much lower ratio than if you are white.
My husband grew up during the apartheid era in South Africa and is familiar with this anomaly. Where he lived, where he went to school, even what cinema, or beach he visited were decided by a White government. Apartheid may have ended, but its effects are still with us. I perceive structural racism as a form of apartheid. It’s denoting how you as a non-white person may live. Judging and rewarding, rewarding, and judging, based on your skin colour. The wearing of masks during the coronavirus pandemic cannot cover the face of racism.
The largest slums in the world are Neza-Chalco in Mexico, over 4 million people. Oranji Town in Pakistan, over 1.5 million people. Dharavi in Mumbai over I million people. Khayelitsha in Cape Town, over 400,000 people and Kibera in Nairobi, 200,000. There’s roughly over 4 million displaced people in the Bogota slums in South America. The list is endless. Approximately, 1 billion people live in slums worldwide.
“Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and Apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”
Does where you live influence your opportunities in life, be it education or getting a job? Do people judge you on where you live? My reply to those questions is based on personal experience. I sat on the board of governors in a UK high school where ‘educators’ commented that the school’s falling standards were caused by the admission of a higher number of black children and children from social housing.
I listened to a father who lived in a socially deprived area of Limerick in Ireland tell me that his children’s chances of obtaining work was minimal because of where they lived. Their address defined them. I listened to a parent in London who’s son was repeatedly stopped by the police on his way to school. They did not see the smart school uniform, they saw he was black. They did not harass his white friends who walked with him, nor searched their school bags. Complaining to the relevant bodies about this blatant racism achieved nothing but denials and a copy of their racism and bullying policies.
In London, in 2000, Bishop Sentamu was stopped by a police officer while driving home. He was ordered out of his car. When he queried why he was stopped he was told to open the boot. Revealing his clerical collar and identity, the police officer’s response was – ‘Whoops!’ He would not justify why he had stopped the Bishop. It was the 8th time in 8 years that the Anglican Bishop of Stephney had been questioned by police. He may have fled the wrath of Idi Amin to enter the snake pit of structural and institutionalized racism.
“We’ve simply been putting Band-Aids on the wounds of racism. We haven’t drilled down to the bone to get to its source.” Daryl Davis
“Far from ending, systemic racism reinvents itself to conform to what is publicly acceptable, leaving the quality of black life diminished and more permanently fixed with each passing decade.” Opal Tometi
“For to be free is not merely to cast off ones’ chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Click on Video below!
Mo Asumang: Confronting racism face-to-face – BBC News
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