By Ettie Rutherford
Last year was one of the most challenging that the world has ever seen, so we all thought we had seen it all, experienced it all, and felt it all, when we were confronted with the debacle, which occurred at the US Capitol building, on January 6.
For a few days, even the coronavirus was not the main topic of the day.
For me — as a Black woman, who has studied, discussed, and given workshops on the degradation of racism — the revelation of how race dictates our lives, was uppermost in my mind.
The picture of rioters in the USA, and how they were treated, explained what Blacks have been saying for centuries: race dictates every aspect of people’s lives.
If former US President, Barak Obama, had urged Black people to engage themselves the way Donald Trump’s supporters did, the police would have shot so many, there would have been a need to employ garbage trucks to remove the bodies from the scene.
I also shudder to think of what would have happened to President Obama. Not even the White House would have been enough to protect him, his children, or his wife, who had been referred to as “an ape in high-heels”.
Yet here we are, five people deceased, a policeman dragged and beaten, and still most people are afraid to mention how race played a part in the way the riot was handled.
Again I ask: where do we go from here? To my Black brothers and sisters I say:
- We need to be realistic, and acknowledge that we cannot fight racism without understanding the relationship and differences between racism, “White privilege”, stereotyping, harassment, diversity, equity, anti-racists, and non-racists.
- We need to not merely re-act to racial incidents, but rather, respond as tax-payers, who have specific demands, based on a profound knowledge of how racism works and how it must be fought.
- We need to realize how important it is for us to work together, and learn from each other, in order to develop concrete plans, and evaluate our progress.
- To my White brothers and sisters, I say: silence is not golden. Remember that racism is not a Black problem. Blacks have no control over a practice, which they did not put into practice.
A Holocaust survivor once said, that it was not only Hitler’s hatred toward the Jews that sent so many to the gas chambers, but it was also the silence of their friends.
Now everyone can understand the slogan, “Black Lives Matter”. The police finds it much easier to shoot unarmed Black men, rather than to disperse White rioters.
Blacks do not want White men and women to be shot by members of the police force. We merely want the same respect that was shown towards the lives of White rioters in the USA, to be shown to our Black men and women, especially when they are unarmed.
Award-winning Ettie Rutherford, B.Ed, Dip.Ed, M.Ed, is an educator, life coach, consultant and author of “Why Perch Like A Chick When You Can Soar Like An Eagle?”. An accomplished public speaker, Ettie is the Founder and CEO of Women Are Worthy, which provides step-by-step strategies for women to achieve their goals, with a minimum amount of stress. She can be reached at email@example.com