Systematic racism is the biggest issue facing the country and the world. It has recently been highlighted by the George Floyd movement. But, African Americans and other people of color have lived with the impact for generations. From stolen and enslaved people, stolen property, stolen intellectual property, and cultural misappropriation. It has taken a world-wide pandemic, a shutdown and a short video of George Floyd’s death to ignite and bring the issues to the forefront. Technology has allowed the issues to unify the mindset of a diverse group of people from around the world. A call for change, a call for improving policing, access to capital, and access to equitable justice.
In 120 days, the world changed. It took the perfect storm to focus the attention on racial inequalities and injustice. I did not say a good storm; people dying from COVID-19, without access to enough food, a lack of access to medical care, and the negative economic impact, are all bad. But the reality is the economic inequity is the underlying foundation for racism. A lack of access to medicine, access to opportunities, access to education, all of this is enforced by systems that discriminate because of race.
The activist have made some very valid points. The protesting is based upon the fundamental rights spelled out in the constitution. But the constitution has not been equally applied to or protected African Americans and other people of color. And, for clarification; the looters and thieves should be punished but not peaceful protesters. African Americans and other people of color must be treated with the same respect as human beings and American citizens as every other member of our society.
The people fighting change are like the dinosaurs, they will become extinct. The spotlight is shining bright, many in positions of power will not survive and that is a good thing. Companies and governments will have an opportunity to address their culture and address the negative impact of systemic, institutionalized racism. The adage “the only thing guaranteed is change” is so appropriate in the new wave of change. Those that do not understand that the world is a diverse and different place are like ostriches’ putting their heads in the sand.
So, where do we go from here? Technology will continue to be a window into every action and inaction. What are you going to do? The decision is yours and will determine how we move forward from here.
Reginald Grant, MS Ed.
Business Strategist, former NFL player and retired English teacher
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