I thought I was globally aware. I believed that I was educated in the matter of racism, and I thought I knew the worse of racial division in our world. Until George Floyd. Then it seemed like an avalanche of news came towards me, uncovering countless issues in regards to race and cultural divide.
As human beings, we fear what we do not know. Fear of the dark, fear of change, fear of deceit and broken trust; these fears all stem from our fear of the ultimate unknown. Known as xenophobia (zen-eh-fo-be-a, zenəˈfōbēə), this fear can differ between being unconscious and conscious. Even values that may be justified and righteous in your eyes could deeply stem through xenophobia. These values may, at times, be something that an individual is unaware of. But research shows, that xenophobia can be controlled. With the right mindset, attitude and commitment to change, this fear can be overcome.
What is the difference between “us” and “them”? A connotation of belonging, versus being an outsider. Discrimination exists everywhere, and with time it only seems that our use of “us” has faded into “them” for too long. What differentiates a young black man, from an old white women? To me, I would argue that this is the wrong question to ask. Instead, we can find the similarities; they are a part of the larger-than-life human race.
In this world however, xenophobia isn’t the only facet driving racial divide but also sheer belief. Family values are the most common, which are passed on through generations in order to preserve ‘tradition’ and ‘value history’. But sadly, many of the values being passed on contain deeply-rooted ties to xenophobia and discourages the acceptance of individuals who are not white. No matter how deeply rooted your family values may have existed, no amount of time passed validates your stance. Traditions of culture passed down for hundreds of years does not mean they are written in stone, and certainly doesn’t mean they cannot be ridden of. Recognize your privilege. Make your voice heard.
This journey can be classified as a war. A war based on differences, targeting those without privilege. The death of George Floyd did more than just ignite the Black Lives Matter movement, but sprang up global conversation on ways to imbed equity, accountability and restorative justice into our communities. Even though change has come from this death, we are seeing this ‘trend’ slip away. To this effect, my sister and I are planning a BLM March in our community on June 27th – marking a month of Floyd’s death – with the hope of showing society that this movement will never be over. The struggle continues, and as long as it exists we will be there to fight for change. Every small step, together.