Erase Racism for Good — EVERYWHERE
We shouldn’t be surprised when cities like Paris (the City of Lights) has its bigotry illuminated.
Just like the U.S., Europe has tried to sweep racism under the rug, other nations seek to silence the opposition; often by just not talking about it — until now. The Brexit vote had racism & phobias running all through it. The oppression and discriminatory practices directed towards “othered” immigrants and darker-hued people isn’t new to Europe (they just rather not talk about it). Remember when Oprah was race/wealth profiled by a Swiss shopkeeper? It only got headlines because it was Oprah — it was certainly a routine situation that others who looked like Oprah have grown accustomed to, in the mostly white-hued European Union. We express shock/awe when it happens to the famous, but when similar racial profiling situations happen in the U.S., many want to suggest that something else was to blame. Silly, silly people.
This stuff is bad — and not the “good” bad, either. It’s persistent, like a bad flu season, but it lingers across seasons, with flare ups all around us. Yet, we don’t seek to mass produce vaccines to fight it. And, it’s a pandemic, to boot, but there are no concerted efforts to get rid of it, like the world did for Ebola or Zika. Sadly, organization that have cures aren’t drafted often enough to protect the villagers in communities, workplaces or schools.
We ignore the parallels of the racialized stories told in other lands, even when the stories are readily available through film and media like Les Marches de la Liberté.
Each incident should serve as a wake-up and an alarm to send experts and vaccines to the affected area. We’d better understand why the U.S. export of #BlackLivesMatters — and our previous Civil Rights movement — resonates across the globe (and, is also reviled by the emboldened bigots, here and abroad).
The world knows Mike Brown, Tamir Rice and many other U.S.-born (and U.S. killed) Black lives. But, there are similar names around the world that we don’t notice. We get snapshots and partisan perspectives on what’s going on in Israel, but don’t have a geopolitical sophistication to recognize the fact that injustice knows no border. Nationalism & patriotism can demonized and diminish the “othered”. It also serves to soften the appearance of racism, discrimination and bigotry.
Racism hasn’t gone away, people, and, we have far more work to do than many of us realize.
We should pay more attention to and be appalled by racial bigotry, but we aren’t. More importantly, we should work to make sure we find it, isolate and work to extract/expel/eradicate — like any disease we abhor. Our goal should be its extinction.
When it’s directed against the famous, they then have a greater platform than you or I, to call attention to it. The worst think is to fail to call out discrimination when we see it. And, when the evil is directed towards those who are of prominent status, like a President, First Lady or family, we should have bipartisan anger towards the perpetrators. Free speech doesn’t include hate speech. The Obama’s — as our First Family — endured far more that we would ever allow in our public schools or work places. And in France, comparable hate meted out against former French Justice Minister Taubira, who was criticized, at home, for calling out the racial injustice in the U.S. Did those critics condemn the racist acts on their soil, though?
The common commentary by hate-spewers against a Black French legislator and our Black First Lady is, sadly, similar. Until there punitive damages (e.g. fines; termination) for those who commit these acts, they won’t go away. Those who hate will continue to do so, until they pay the cost for the crime. That cost must include public rejection — every time.
How do we end this? We start with seeking to discover at what point the root causes of such hate. When does a child’s curiosity about skin color transform into disdain for colors that aren’t like her/his own? What prompts adults to think it’s OK to discriminate in words and actions? And, we must, unilaterally, repudiate those who encourage & fuel the hate. They, too, are terrorists.
We won’t move on from racism until we remove racism and the bigots who perpetrate it. We won’t become “post-racial” until we consistently condemn present racism, including overturning policies that support it. We won’t end it until we end condoning it. We won’t silence it until we LOUDLY condemn it.
There are a number of organizations and individuals who have solid tools that are remedies to mitigate racism & reduce racism’s harm. But, all remedies require the patients to follow the prescription. If you don’t use it — as prescribed — you won’t get well.
It takes a village and all the villagers to erase hate in their community. When you don’t keep the community cured, stray viruses will infect others. The healing doesn’t stop, neither should the desire to be healed.