Being anti-racist on Monday, May 25th, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds a Black man was murdered by a policeman, who cut off his breathing with a knee to his neck, while a group of horrified bystanders recorded the murder and tried to intervene. Once the cell phone video went viral, a global revolution against police brutality and in support of Black Lives Matter was born.
A confluence of events (COVID, record unemployment, kids being out of school and many more unnamed 2020 issues) have allowed White people to focus on what Black people have been aware of for our entire existence in America, our lives and our existence in America are fundamentally different than White lives. So, what should you have learned by now?
- Systematic Racism is a real thing.
From birth to death, Black people experience systematic racism which negatively impacts our health, safety, wealth, employment and education in comparison to White people in the United States. “We do know that health inequities at their very core are due to racism… Being anti-racist There’s no doubt about that,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.
A U.S. study was done by Poverty Action Lab, from 2000-2002 in Chicago and Boston and took 5,000 resumes for 1,300 jobs. The study determined that that job resumes with traditionally white-sounding names received 50% more callbacks than those with traditionally Black names as compared to white individuals. Additionally, black individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed, and earn nearly 25 percent less than White individuals when they are employed.
- Police treat Black People much worse than White People.
Being anti-racist George Floyd was another name on a list of Black people who did not live to make it out of police custody due to a minor infraction. It should be clear to you by now, that when the police are called on for incidents involving Black people, the actions of police will be much different than if it was a White person. According to the New York City, ACLU, 88% of police stops in 2018 involved Black and Latinx people, while 10% involved white people. (Of those stops, 70% were completely innocent.)
- Your K-12 History classes were trash.
Being anti-racist The history classes that most Americans grew up learning from their K-12 education neglect to properly intertwine Black and Indigenous history which is essential to understand how we’ve arrived in our current moment. The education system instead defaults to White history, as the norm, and as if that was the entire story of how the United States came to be what it is today. Without the Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery, one can’t properly understand how the United States grew to be a superpower. The Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth explain the current divisions of why the South and the North still have divides to this day. Reconstruction and Jim Crow explain how the backlash to the first Black president led to such a rise in hate crimes. The Civil Rights Movement was the blueprint for the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Lastly, the drug war explains the rise in for-profit prisons and felon disenfranchisement.
What can you do?
As a mom, wife, daughter, friend and professional, you have a duty to help not only yourself, but those who you are around to grow. As a mom, ask yourself, have you challenged your child’s school to make sure that their curriculums are inclusive of Black history and Black authors? As a daughter, have you challenged your parents, aunts, uncles and/or cousins who may say racist things? As a friend, is your closest friend group, diverse? Lastly, as a professional, what do your colleagues look like, do you hire a diverse team? If not, why?
Please know that this journey is a marathon and not a sprint. Continue to do the hard work and our nation will finally live up to its greatest ideals, equality for all.