Jireh Blessing A. | July 29, 2020
For the past weeks, I have desired to post about this very crucial matter, but I just couldn’t get myself to. Because just like every other black person, I was not only hurting but I was angry. So angry that I understood that I was not in the right state of mind to write, more so about it. So, after the steam had cooled off, I took some time to educate myself about all the different parts of the story that had eventually led us to this point. I read about racism, slavery, watched movies and documentaries on police brutality and the prison industrial complex, understood the Jim Crow era and the KKK because I wanted to make sure that when I sat down to write, I would not just speak from pain and anger, but from knowledge and understanding of this very issue at hand today. And when I felt I was ready, I sat down to write. So, here I am.
Having grown up in Uganda, Africa all my life, I had never really been aware of what racism was. I heard about it here and there and we were most probably taught about it as a thing of the past when slavery had just happened, and it was merely a topic of history. However, what I did not know was that 150 years after slavery, racism was as real then as it is now. It had never really been a part of my life growing up because even when we saw white people in my country, we always were so excited, full of love and curiosity about their difference from us. We were ready to embrace and teach them about us and our culture with open arms and wide smiles. But vice versa, it is sometimes quite the opposite.
Every single time I watched and heard about these racially motivated killings or that the police yet again shot another black man. The only question that came to my mind was “WHY?!?”. I could not stop asking why, because I just failed to understand it. Was there something the black people did to deserve this kind of hate wherever they go, did we do something wrong to these people? My little naive heart which had always been taught to love and appreciate others suddenly started to get paralysed by this negative emotion we receive almost every day simply based on our ‘skin colour’. It started to learn hate.
The pain I felt in my chest as I watched these people get mercilessly beaten, recklessly shot and just unreasonably hated got me numb as I understood that that could have been my father, that could have been my brother, my sister or my cousin. That could have been ME. When you understand something like that, it changes your whole perspective. However, after sitting down and thinking, and learning and educating myself, I understood that hate would not be enough. Fighting them, arguing and even debating with them wasn’t going to work. I personally think that the system that taught them to hate has to be the very same system that teaches them to love. Like Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another. One must be taught to hate and if they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.” I can’t say I have come down to the solution that we are all seeking to find because even I, every day I still struggle. But I have learnt that all these questions we ask about racism and all that concerns it, only WE need to answer them if we desire to make a change within ourselves most importantly. So, I encourage you to educate yourself, be open to learning, allow your mindset to adjust and correct yourself where you’ve been wrong. Let the change you want to see start with yourself, then slowly go on to your family, then to your community and then maybe, one day, to the world.
Remember “ALL LIVES MATTER WHEN BLACK LIVES MATTER”.
Excerpts from my blog at http://therollercoastersoflife.wordpress.com
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