This is not the blog post I intended to write. But as I started researching workplace culture and American culture, the recent uprisings over the death of George Floyd kept weighing heavy on me. As a middle-aged black person, I would have thought that things would be better than they are now in this country. We’ve come so far, yet we’ve really not in many ways. And we won’t if more of us aren’t willing to come to terms with ourselves.
Racism and ignorance have become as American as football and apple pie. They are the tenets that this country were built on, as the rightful inhabitants of this land were systematically brutalized and relegated to desolate reservations. It is a hateful past that continues to be past down from generation to generation, as children are raised to know that they are inherently better than others because of superficial reasons. And while the American way is to ignore problems and hope they go away, the fact that people are still systematically denied basic freedoms, including the right to live, and that people are still needing to take to the streets to demand change, shows that one way or another, we will have to address this issue.
As I watch politicians, celebrities, athletes and others expose their racism and ignorance publicly, only to quickly issue apologies and make promises to “listen more and talk less,” it demonstrates how much work is still needed to be done in the minds of many. I encourage all to accept the apologies and forgive the ignorance, even if the quick change of heart is only to maintain their status quo. However, it does not change the fact that they are part of the problem.
The time will come where people of all walks will work together to make America and American culture the true beacon of inclusion and freedom that she can be. Realistically, we are a long way off from that. Change is not easy, and in the case of racism and ignorance, the work will be long, hard, and painful. But it is work that must be done. I pray that the recent deaths of black people at the hands of those who should have been protecting them will not be in vain, and America will do the work necessary to heal her past and move forward to true greatness.