An Essay by Amit Anand: #AllLivesMatter or Just #BlackLivesMatter Right Now? Plus Books and Resources to Combat and Counter Racism
Social Media is all flared up at this moment in time discussing the recent death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor plus countless other racist incidents against African Americans across the USA - all this while the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging and spreading its tentacles. Indeed an unfortunate time in the history of humanity. I believed that if anything this pandemic would do ..the least would have to be drawing us closer as human beings but what we are witnessing the world over is just the opposite.
Intolerance is reigning supreme. As if the worst in people in authority and power is coming out.
Needless to say, we all have work cut out for us in 2020. If anything this year is teaching us is that we have to work both in a professional and personal capacity because Silence is Complicity. Silence is Acceptance. We all must stand united and commit to raising ongoing awareness of racism and moral apathy- overt and covert that we are seeing in a very profound way in our world today.
I am not trying to sound philosophical here. I am not patronizing either. I add my anger, and fear of this ongoing strife we are collectively and constantly reading about and seeing happening. The idea that a human's value is less because of their race or their social and economic positioning is not just demeaning but also ruthless.
A black man is equal to a white man no matter any other qualifiers. We are humans and we all deserve to be treated with decency and respect.
We all must change by taking personal responsibility to step up, step in, speak up, record, document, share and take every single step necessary no matter what that action may be to move the needle against systematic racism and injustice, again, no matter where in the world it is happening at the moment.
When a black man is jogging gets hunted down and killed. When a black man while arrested is choked to death while he was saying, "I can't breathe." When a black woman is shot inside her own home. These are things that are happening to the black community. No one should live in fear like this.
The murder of George Floyd is a catalyst for real change despite his criminal past. A call out for action.
Besides racism which is the key issue, we must also focus on the race differences of the victim and accused as well as focus on the badge of superiority worn by those abusing their position of power and authority. We need to make sure that there are severe consequences for those who fail to perform their jobs with honor. The problem stems from the highest echelons of governance, down to municipal justice systems and seriously tainted police/law enforcement forces and especially corrupt policemen, politicians, not to mention racist individuals added to that mix where the situation is catapulting to civil unrest.
People in positions of power must be held to high standards commensurate with the power they wield. The same principle requires politicians who behave like retards to be held accountable as well. Failure to hold power accountable results in political and societal instability which we are witnessing obviously.
We are past hashtag activism.
Pushing the agenda that the hashtag is to disparage other races. Yes, we know, "all lives matter," and we are all God's children, but people of color have been marginalized for centuries. If you can't simply recognize that black lives matter, you are a part of the problem.
White people DO NOT have the same experiences moving through the world as BIPOC (black, indigenous , people of color) do. This is why "all lives matter" is such a demeaning and disheartening argument. Sure, all lives matter, but white people aren't getting murdered by cops on a daily basis or are being reported to police for just living their life like everyone else. It really drives home the glaring disparities in our world today.
The question is how do people address these situations time and again when the root of the issue is such entrenched, institutionalized racism in the US and the world? It is done with the inherent bias that different is scary. It is unacceptable.
The same fear of brown and black that is causing POC (people of color) to be sidelined or stepped over exists in many organizations and teams. I hope those in our networks are striving to see these systems not as separate but explicitly linked and are moved to ask questions and take action given the gravity of the situation.
I have no words except stop patronizing shop owners who are quick to call 911 when a black man enters their establishment or even a public space they feel is their personal space because they think or assume he is automatically going to commit a crime, this is the accelerant to the madness. In times like this, we must stand firm and together unwavering and demand justice and not acceptance.
We have supported racist structures for centuries directly or passively. Systemic racism needs to end for our communities of color- who need our help more than ever now. In my mind, there is a dichotomy between the daily life I currently lead and continuing the path I'm on to give more to our communities that need to be strengthened by one another. Taking action that is not just "window dressing".
That is why I have a blog dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and equality. I write from my heart because I have been seen from a lens of exclusion and segregation too. I have been made to feel like an outsider by the system I am setting out to change through writing, reporting, art and activism. And that's why as a Person of Color I am being vocal about racism and any categorization + Labeling I have been made to believe as normal way of accepting my existence in the wake of structural oppression.
"Black lives matters" means we care about the imbalance of justice. "Black lives matters mean we demand change, safety, and equality. "Black live matters" doesn't mean less prioritization for white-privileged folks.
Justice is going to take more than people venting on social media or protesting when a video such as the murder of George Floyd surfaces. We need to channel our energy into year-round advocacy. Police brutality in the west towards black people and people of color is evident. Until we address the vetting, training, accountability, and oversight of ALL law enforcement departments we will continue to perpetuate this problem. Police reforms are essential now.
I'm not one to continue to rinse and repeat this cycle of rage and acceptance every time another person is killed. Black rage is not enough. White rage is not enough. POC rage is not enough. This problem is bigger than bigotry and it's going to take us coming together as one whole where no one has hegemony over the other.
Black lives have always mattered. Black lives will always matter.
Books and Resources to Combat and Counter Racism
If you understand what I am trying to say in this post and you want to change the narrative on racism as much as I do, then these books and resources to counter racism are great reference points:
I'd also suggest Gracism: The Art of Inclusion, Book by David A. Anderson for practical ways to be inclusive of those in minority.
Ta- Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and me" is an instructive inspiring beautiful book.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. If you are looking for anything related to mass incarceration and systemic racism in the justice system I highly recommend this book. Bryan Stevenson started the Equal Justice Initiative which is an organization that has great resources.
Me and White Supremacy - The Workbook by Layla Saad.
Join this Group:
White People Doing Something. People of all races are in this group. It has a lot of resources and people taking action, committed and accountable to one another -
How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time (Baratunde Thurston TED2019)
Resources for children to learn about race and culture. More interesting insights are being made available in my LinkedIn Group. You may join directly at: