Disclaimer: This essay was written and was first published on Wattpad in 2020 from my “A Black Opinion” blog. Therefore, it will not acknowledge the current state of the world. Regardless, this essay has an important message that could be a logical step forward for the world to make the changes needed to address the issue of racism. The same issue that has stained our world for far too long.
What I am about to say may sound obvious, but racism is not a trend, it’s an issue.
It’s a systematic issue that has existed for centuries and should not be treated as a trend where, by the end of the monthly news cycle, the media stops talking about it.
In the middle of that cycle, you can bet that people from the neighbor down the street to the celebrities and corporations will be chiming in with their stance on the issue. They will be providing their support, offering money to charities, changing their political and social association etc.
That’s all well and good, but what happens after that month is over?
What happens when the media stops showcasing the issue?
Or at least that is what normally happens when a black man gets killed by the police. Everyone starts talking about it until nobody does. There will be a few people who will remain fighting for it, but eventually people will get tired with it because in today’s modern era, the average person’s attention span is three minutes or less.
This has been a flaw of the media for a long time and is something I wish could change. However, it has been so ingrained into society’s mindset that it is not feasible. Everyone wants to download that file in three seconds. They don’t want to wait in that long line at MacDonald when they can order from the app or kiosk. The fact is, society just wants life to be easier, and eventually the future will be a scene from the film Wall-E.
While we can’t fix the trajectory of how our planetary society is going, we can fix our attitude towards social issues and stop treating it as a trend. We need to continue the conversation well past the news cycle. We can’t just support the issue while the topic is hot and once it goes cold, we forget about it and go on our day. The truth is that racism is an issue; it is not a simplistic problem.
A problem would mean it can be fixed easily. Just send some money and it’s gone.
For example, there is a farmer who is trying to complete his harvest, however he has broken his back and can not complete the work. As a result, he hires strong boys to do the work for him.
As you can see, a problem has an easy solution.
Issues on the other hand are multifaceted. This means that there are several unsolved micro issues that contribute to the main issue.
For example, in Canada we have a huge poverty issue in Indigenous communities. The reason most first nations are poor is that of bad education. The government has a program for new teachers who want experience to teach elementary in the Northern territories for two years. While the pay is nice, living in the arctic is harsh and many quit. As a result, many students’ high school education there is not very good.
Coupled with the fact that many of their families/ clans and tribes need them at home, students often quit high school to get a job to support their impoverished families. Even if they do complete high school, getting into a college and or university in Canada is expensive (except for the province of Quebec). Some of them like the University of Toronto are approximately six thousand dollars in tuition, not to mention the fact that they would have to pay for residence that can be another couple of thousands if not more. Without having the ability to have a good education, the Indigenous youth end up looking for jobs that require a certain skill or knowledge that they do not possess. As a result, they will find themselves struggling to get by and succumb to the vicious cycle of poverty.
But the education, lack of good-paying jobs, and the nature of their poverty is nothing compared to the existing laws that have suppressed them for years. All of these issues factor in why they are still in poverty.
As you can see, this is what an issue looks like. It is a tight ball of yarn that has been tangled up over the years that is so difficult to separate each issue without affecting the others. This is the same thing with racism. The reason racism is an issue that is so hard to get rid of is because of micro issues that have not been solved either. Black people are still being profiled, a lot of them do not have good education and end up on the street joining gangs because they don’t have the same opportunities as whites.
If we treat racism as an issue, we must be supporting it every day. Not just donating our money to the cause on a surface level, but also fixing it on a systematic level. We need to be coming out to vote for more black leaders or leaders who will support the cause. We need our members of the legislative and judicial branch to pass laws that support the black community, not to disadvantage them. Our government needs to provide more job opportunities for blacks and create an educational plan for them to succeed. Even corporations that are in the entertainment industry, you have the responsibility to tell stories that not only highlight black issues but also showcase blacks being successful.
If we truly believe that the black community and its issues are important, or any issue for that matter. We can’t just say #BlackLivesMatter, we need to show our support. Not once, not twice, but every single day of our lives.