Has it ever occurred to you that we are running to and from Racism every day, week, month and year, reliving moments of trauma when we lost our loved ones on the basis of their skin color or race; Moments when we were deliberately shunned from and verbally mistreated in places and denied certain privileges because of racial stereotypes, intolerance and what others think we represent? and moments when we escaped from the clutches of being treated like lab rats to test and analyse new vaccines?
Most times, the answer is no because we have a routine towards handling such tragedies. We mourn, conduct peaceful demonstrations and violent protests, hold awareness rallies and seminars and just as soon as the situation dies down; with time, we forget till a similar incident takes place so we can handle it the same way we handled the previous one. But, have we ever taken time to ask the right questions, understand the situation and seek reform? Martin Luther understood the situation in-depth because he addressed the right questions and through that, reform acts were achieved in that today we are even able to live semi-normal and liberal lives.
At this point, slogans like #BlackLivesMatter do not matter anymore because the oppressors are aware of the fact that black lives matter, that every life matters but, they simply do not care. Even the legendary Michael Jackson put it out straight to us in his song, “…they don’t really care about us”.
Thus, no matter how many times we are going to chant that slogan, we are going to continue losing black lives, facing racial discrimination and inhumane experiences in the United States of America and the entire world at large; and more so, such incidents are steadily and slowly spilling into our very own countries whereas we are treated unfairly in our countries. for instance, recent media reports and Facebook revealed stories about Zambians being addressed as foreigners and being shunned in Chinese owned restaurants and barbershops and talk of the how many news stories have been reported on poor working facilities and services offered to Zambians who work for some Chinese nationals. Similarly, this is not the first time we are hearing of police brutality and police caused deaths is the USA, there have been many cases like this before including the famous Central Park five, Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald, Bettie Jones, Quinton LeGrier, Harish Augustus with the recent case of George Floyd and many more undocumented incidents; and everytime a new tragedy takes place, it results into repeated trauma and pain.
Fighting racism is not only limited to slogans and violence isn’t the answer either because it tints our reputation even more. Yes, we have succeeded in telling the whole world that black lives matter but, what next? We need to start saying no to oppression in written documents which we have directly and indirectly agreed to. Physical oppression gains it’s power from some of the written rules of law that govern us and tend to derogate from our right to life and to live liberally. For example, the existence of a divided system of justice in the USA between White Americans backed by white privilege and power and black Americans who are keeping put down by racial stereotypes or the fact that African countries keep allowing investors to into their countries in the name of economic development to later get mistreated verbally, physically and emotionally because most African countries are wallowing in poverty and unemployment.
“We are not different people with different languages; we are one people with different tongues”Nelson Mandela
We need reform in some laws and regulations as this is the only way left to tackle oppression of black people. There is need to bring to life laws that protect equality in all spheres of life, be it legal, social, political and economic spheres of life. We need to come up with laws that benefit all the people of the world. We need rules and regulations that are tolerant to diversity and show that there is beauty in difference, away from our racial prejudices because all our differences are what makes the world beautiful. Without such reforms, we will continue to see oppression based on race in this world.