Now that the #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd storms have started dissipating, it’s important that we never forget that racism is still here with us. #BlackLivesMatter is just one of the many ways in which people have been trying to speak up and raise awareness about ongoing racial disparities and injustices in the world we live in, whether implicit or explicit.
Some have argued that #BlackLivesMatter does not stand for the racism faced by all people of colour around the world. Various ethnic communities around the world face racism and prejudice everyday of their lives and some felt #BLM only stood for police brutality against African Americans in America. Indeed that is what it was started for. However the ripple effect it had on the global community and the inevitable discussions that transpired thereafter were something the world has never seen before. Statues were toppled. People from all races and backgrounds marched together in their thousand across the world to stand against racism towards black people and all other ethnic minorities. People debated the legacy of slavery and the ongoing racial inequalities that still persist to this day and age. The legacy of colonialism and its role in the current global inequalities was analysed and dissected. Racists were challenged and confronted about their behaviours and everyday we see more and more Karen’s manifesting their true colours.
However the Karen’s of this world are small fish to fry because their kind of racism is on show for all to see. It’s the ones who pretend they “don’t see colour” and then in secret express their vile disgust and hate for people of colour. I once had a white friend I used to work with and we got on like a house on fire. One day she told me about how her family had been saying some racist things about me and she told them not to say that because “Rod is alright”. As if to say I’m one of the “good” or “cool” black people so I did not deserve to be teased and ridiculed about my race. I didn’t think about it too much at the time but upon reflection later when I became more “woke” I realised that even she was a bit racist as well. The fact that she was friends with me and that I was “alright” in her eyes did not stop her from being racist or having racist opinions about other black people. Of course she would never say it to me or in my presence but the fact that she gave me a pass so to speak means that they are those she considered not good or cool enough. What would she say about them when she was alone with her family? It is well known that racism is taught and learnt. What has she been taught by her family and within her community about black people? Perhaps she was starting to unlearn some of those things but reality is it was something she had been accustomed to.
I also had another white female friend. She was very dynamic and radical in her thinking. She was pro-life, pro-choice and pro-humanity so she was definitely the least racist white person I knew. However whenever I met with her in certain spots like bars or restaurants I would find that people would give us “the look”. Like what are these two doing together. This big black guy with this slim blonde white woman. What gives? Though our friendship was so strong, this aspect of the wider community we could never escape.
Some will say that you should pay people no mind and indeed I did try but at times it’s not easy when you can tell that your presence is making people uncomfortable. And this is not too long ago. So to say that race matters are a thing of the past or that they only happen in America is a lie. A lie that if it’s perpetuated, nothing will change. Society needs to encourage more of these uncomfortable conversations. To challenge people to fight racism head on. If you are a white person and you hear even your own mother say something racist it is your duty to stop her in her tracks and educate her. That is the only way we will help fight racism. It’s a given some will remain stubborn but brick by brick we will build a wonderful society for our future generations.
The Roddy Chasewater Show.