People what is going on? This is an extremely sensitive topic/issue. But we need to talk about it and seek to find a lasting solution. Change begins with dialogue (or conversation).
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”Albert Einstein
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Various demonstrations because of the umpteenth killing of a young unarmed black man, George Floyd, by an ex-police officer, have been ongoing from Minneapolis to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, San Jose, Los Angeles. Which city is next? Some of these demonstrations were peaceful, but most were rowdy. Even the ones that began peacefully, eventually took another turn. These demonstrations are so disturbing yet, though apropos. What we are witnessing is a combination of an avalanche of frustrations and opportunists seizing the moment.
Things fall apart and the center cannot hold ... sheer anarchy is loosed upon the land! - Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian novelist
People, there is a root cause. We have a systemic problem that needs an urgent systemic solution. Pruning a tree when done right, encourages new growth, greener leaves, stronger branches, and healthier twigs and trunks. Simultaneously, to kill a tree, like any systemic issue, we need to deal with it at its roots. Government (departments such as the legal system and law enforcement agencies) keep treating the symptoms rather than the cause. We need to deal with the root cause.
Systemic: Bias, Problem, Solution?
Systemic is anything relating to the entire system rather than a part of it. Undoubtedly, we have systemic problems in America that have shown bias in its solutions or lack of solutions. As such, as Simplicable, states, there is both a systemic bias and systemic problem and offers the following definitions:
“Systemic Bias: a society, culture, or large system that exhibits bias. This essentially means that a large system produces sub-optimal decisions that are analogous to a person …
Systemic Problem: a problem that infects an entire society, culture, or system.”
Therefore, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. As I said this, I found another site, https://thenextsystem.org/about-next-system-project, that agreed with me. This site has noteworthy information relevant to our current topic and issue. What we need is a systemic solution to systemic problems and biases in America. A systemic solution, therefore, is a solution that resolves root causes.
This blog is not about how we go about resolving all the issues.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of South Africa
Let us talk about the way the demonstrations were conducted in certain cities. I speak against injustice of any kind. Looting and vandalism is also an injustice. Looting and vandalism is not the answer and it also has to be condemned else we would be speaking from both sides of our mouth. Neither the killings of anyone, be they black, white, brown, purple, or red nor the vagrant looting of stores and burning of cars or stores nor anyone claiming supremacy over another nor the police driving into the mob is acceptable! People, two wrongs not a right make!! All sides claim to be fighting for their lives and right. If we continue this way, whose life is going to remain? All the acts must be condemned in no unjustifiable manner.
Demonstrations can be peacefully done. It has been done several times in the past; see [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_resistance]. We all are still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. The recent violent demonstrations surely take us back a few more years.
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Is there another way?
Let us look to a brighter future. Ask any sprinter, anyone running a race does not look back – they lose time and never win the race by so doing. We all need to stop looking back in time except to analyze what happened and use it as a catalyst for the future. Yes, it is easier said than done. I know. But, let us take a cue from China/the Chinese economic turnaround. Though China is not currently our best political ally at the moment [https://www.state.gov/u-s-china-bilateral-relations-the-lessons-of-history/], the country underwent systemic changes that transformed “complex number of reforms in China’s fiscal, financial, enterprise, governance and legal systems and the ability for the government to be able to flexibly respond to the unintended consequences of these changes. This transformation has been accompanied by high levels of industrialization and urbanization, a process that has influenced every aspect of China’s society, culture, and economy.” [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_China_(1949%E2%80%93present) ]
That said, China, like any other economy, can still be said to be unfulfilled in other areas.
Two wrongs not a right make
True, many of us have been subjected to several wrongs. So, have I. Many of us have had our loved ones untimely snatched from us; so have I. I have been let go of my job due to what was apparent racism – it hurts that it was done and that I felt helpless to fight back. But I did not burn down the building, neither did I drove back to the place to run down anyone. So please do not yell at me or ask for my head on a platter. I honestly can relate to both sides of the equation.
Frustration stems in when one witnesses the incessant injustices, racism, inhumane brutalities and killings of anyone. African Americans generally have been dealt a harder blow. And it is perceived that the men have been particularly targeted. From Rodney King to George Floyd, it appears that the brutalities and killings of African American men have been unnecessarily on the rise. However, except I conduct the research, I cannot use the data being presented as conclusive because data, research, and conclusions can be subjective. Each data (or survey results) can be manipulated to present whatever message the researcher wants to communicate to its readers/users. Having said that, here’s couple of charts that I found.
The truth is that law enforcement officers are killed almost daily as well in their line of duty. Sadly, because of the animosity and recent tensions, these deaths go unnoticed and no one seems to care; except the affected’s family. Check the FBI https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/leoka and The Peace Officer Safety Institute https://leoka.org/ for current data.
Is revolution the answer?
Some think that we probably need a revolution. Maybe we do. I do not know neither am I advocating for it. But do we all understand what revolution is? According to Merriam Webster online dictionary, Revolution is:
- 2a: a sudden, radical, or complete change
- b: a fundamental change in a political organization especially: the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
- c: activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
- d: a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something: a change of paradigm
- e: a changeover in use or preference …
(Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Revolution. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/revolution)
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Revolution is a change, but it does not necessarily have to be bloody or rambunctious. The revolution that we need is a drastic change from the manner that things are done. This can be done by a 360-degree change in our policies; legal, law enforcement, medical, education, etc. I am not talking about the type of change that was done with diversity reforms (another topic for another day), but one sincere change that must have consequences for non-conformance.
Where are the good men and women?
Finally, Abraham Lincoln once said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This quote has been echoed by others such that no one really knows its original owner.
Those who do nothing while witnessing injustice and wrong-doing do worse than those who commit acts of injustice. The privileged have a responsibility to do what they know is right. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Martin Luther King
Good men (and, of course, women) everywhere need to rise to speak the truth. But good men (and women) should not merely jump on the bandwagon, but strive to seek to truly find a solution to the problem. And good people should not be paying others to confuse the land. It is akin to folks being paid to carry placards as long as we have activists. During the years of my active job search, I had called some “paid-same-day” ads that happened to be that our job would be to carry placards about issues. So, I know that this does happen.
For every demonstration, there is always someone championing it either overtly or covertly.
The truth is that those who are instigating the chaos are not affected by it. Like we always say, “people in high places” are powerful, wealthy, and influential. They have friends everywhere who they can call upon to either support or carry out their bidding. In addition, these people have high security that prevents the rioting masses from getting to them.
To the people in high places, secretly instigating all these, please stop. If you think no one knows who you are or know that you are doing it, do not be deceived because God, the Creator of the universe, is not mocked and sees what is done in secret.
Let’s not continue to hurt ourselves
This is an extremely sensitive issue to write or talk about. But talk, we should, and talk we shall.
No one wants to be at the receiving end of injustice. Anyone who has been on that side knows what it feels like and it’s surely not good. By the same token, anyone who has never experienced injustice certainly does not know what it feels like.
The brutalities, violent demonstrations, and looting is not the way to honor the dead neither will it bring the dead back. I say this as apologetically and softly as I can. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a son on this journey to freedom. May their spirit live forever and pave the way for true freedom for all.
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Every good man (and woman) please stand against the injustice, racism, brutality, and senseless killings of black men, minorities, and people generally. It is sad that after over sixty years of Martin Luther King’s “Walk for Freedom” speech, we are here still trying to walk the freedom!
Coincidentally or ironically, depending on the way you view it, MLK’s speech occurred in May in 1956! [https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/walk-freedom]. Any surprise – go figure!
We can still make MLK (and Rosa Parks) proud, not by giving in to political maneuverings that disrupts our economy, which in turn affects all of us, but by choosing to do demonstrations peacefully.