Hi! I had the lovely opportunity of being invited to speak at the WPIMUN 2020 summit (virtually of course) on the topic of racism. I would like to share with you my speech, if just to give some hope to a few people. Enjoy!
As the world faces a global pandemic, we are also dealing with the intricacies of social and civil injustices. Today I would like to address one of the fore-front egregious issues – racism.
21st Century Racism
The recent death of George Floyd has woken up a long and often silenced discussion amongst the black and white community. Namely that – is everyone deserving of equal treatment? The absolute answer to that is a resounding Yes. Yes, everyone of every color, ethnicity and background deserves equal and fair treatment free of discrimination and segration. Yes a young black man should not be afraid to envision the same bright future that a young white man dreams of today. Gone are the days when coloreds were considered debase, and stuck in holes as punishment for their disobedience to their Masters. Gone are the days when young women knotted their hair to hide information from their Masters (mass’ers) in hopes of communicating songs of freedom to their brothers and sisters. Gone are the days when white folk unleashed rabid dogs onto black populations to tear them apart and the KKK was alive and kicking.
But as we denounce those inhumane treatments of fellow human beings, we should also have the courage to speak about the severity of damage these practices have had on the black community and what it will take to really heal the world and end systemic racism once and for all. We should talk about the mental toll that a generation of suppression has inflicted on colored lives and the ever-present fear that lurks behind every black and brown person in America every time they walk out of their house. We should talk about the entertainment industry and how it glorifies and encourages black violence with violent endings of black characters, which continues to perpetuate the actions of young black men on the streets. We should speak about how Stop and Frisk impacts up to 80 percent of the African and Latino community. We should speak about the justice and prisons system that continues to fund the incarceration of black men without giving them a fair hearing.
It seems okay for a white man to own a gun, licensed or not, but a black man has no business carrying a gun around even if it is legally registered. Movies with white men shooting and robbing banks get all the applause, rave reviews and accolades, but a black movie with black violence to just the same extent is deplorable and only fit for zero ratings.
This is not to say that the black community is blameless. African Americans need to start having tough conversations about how we raise our children, how we teach them social etiquette and the need to lead with love. We need to not only point the finger at others, but also take a look at ourselves and ask ourselves why we still encourage presumptive stereotypes. We should talk about why it is safer to be polite and cooperative with the law and police when the cops pull us over, as opposed to being defensive and/or aggressive. Think of how many lives we could save if we choose to lead our lives with love.
We also need to address and uproot the root causes of systemic racism that hide behind big words like demographics and livelihoods. A systemic change should involve economic reform, political reform and social reform. To acknowledge that giving hope to an oppressed community means making sure people of color are not discriminated against in the financial industry and automatically assumed to have poor credit scores. To acknowledge that white privilege does not mean others are less intelligent but rather that your privilege carries with it a sense of responsibility to debunk the beliefs and miseducation of communities that propagate racial practices. Social reform means that people of color have equal access to education and health benefits and are not denied the chance to take up a lease in an upscale neighborhood even when they can afford it.
And while the injustices of racism may take more than a day to overcome, the pledge to love our neighbors as we do ourselves is a call to humanity that surmounts and supersedes racial preferences. So today as we celebrate the World Peace International Model United Nations, let us celebrate with the love for humanity at the forefront. In the words of India Arie “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.”