If you care about me as a Black person, just like your ‘Black Lives Matter’ social media solidarity statements, then respect me as a human being just like yourself.
You are supporting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (#BLM) protest and you are using your platform to highlight the society’s continuous maltreatment of Black people and calling people out to do better.
Now, let us take the conversation a step further beyond the protest – How do you need to behave towards me daily so we can live together as one.
George Floyd’s racial killing is not just an American problem, but the world’s problem.
What practical changes need to take place so Black Lives can be elevated for the better and Black people’s pain can no longer be used as a fashionable trend or a marketing prop to cause shock and outrage.
It is not enough to post solidarity statements, it is not enough to join the worldwide protest, and it is not enough to think this is the right time to start promoting or giving Black people access.
Ask yourself – What do I need to do for the changes to start inwardly?
I have decided to summarise my thoughts under – educating yourself and being a good leader – as I feel this could be the starting point of being better:
History has not been kind to my Black race and you know it. Debating racism should not be a topic of discussion and it is not open to anyone’s interpretation.
Racism is what it is!
Either face the truth to move forward or deny the truth and miss out on the beauty of the human race.
That also includes facing the truth about yourself and holding yourself accountable for your actions.
Don’t wait for a racial incident to take place before deciding to educate yourself about Black people and their experiences.
We are humans with emotions just like you.
Make a conscious choice to willingly open your mind, to willingly have non-racially charged conversations and be willing to care in understanding the people you share the planet with.
The first step, however, is tapping into your humanity and deconstructing the stereotypes you hold about Black people and other people of colour.
This will not happen overnight, but the more you think about what you think about – the more you’ll begin to see the gradual changes.
Whether you are a business owner, a leader in your community or part of management – you have a responsibility to listen, have empathy and create an inclusive culture for both the Black, White and People of Colour.
Only a true leader will recognise there is more opportunity in a need being fulfilled because it benefits the whole organisation and creates a more productive workforce.
Remember that people will follow you when your actions match what you preach.
Black people’s success and Black leadership should not be seen as a threat. There is so much we can learn and achieve together as one human race.
If you feel this is something to worry about – ask yourself why?
The truth, most of the time, is deeply rooted in the stereotypes that you hold about Black people.
Once again, you either face the truth or miss out in the beauty of the human race, which comes in different shades.
If you care about me as a Black person…
Learn to accept that George Floyd’s death, which kickstarted both the ongoing nationwide and worldwide protest and another re-declaration of why Black Lives truly matters, is a signal that the world is tired of racism and tired of those using it to cause division.
No one knows what is yet to come and how that will look like – but the old ‘normalised’ way of behaving towards other races is no more.
Written By: Queen Ilebode, founder, I Am New Generation Magazine
Images Copyright – a Katz (Main image) and Matteo Roma (middle images) /Shutterstock.com