To my black brothers and sisters out there, I want to take this opportunity to share something.
These last few weeks have been some of the most emotionally taxing and disheartening times of my life. Staying positive and productive has been one hell of a challenge.
I have been physically and mentally incapable of mustering energy and focus. It has been robbed by a hurricane that rages to end racism, oppression, and institutionalized impunity. A storm that has rightfully taken the world’s attention hostage.
I don’t think it’s necessary to regurgitate the events that have taken place recently in the U.S. If you aren’t aware yet, I recommend you inform yourself. Use some of the many news sources available that don’t feature an angry person yelling inflammatory rhetoric and divisiveness. It is your responsibility to be informed on major social issues.
Public unrest has been fueled by the exasperation and anger of a population that has lived and seen enough. Be it oppression, discrimination, or institutionalized impunity all over the country.
This anger has rekindled a movement fighting for the acknowledgment of persistent systemic discrimination, their pain, and a call of action to the general public.
You have likely seen the protests that have rapidly spread throughout the U.S. and all over the world. At the time of writing, most developed countries have had some sort of demonstration in solidarity with the cause or have issued a statement about it.
The fact that these despicable acts are still prevalent in the U.S. and worldwide is a significant cause of concern for vulnerable minorities. Despite what most would have believed a few weeks ago, these murders are common —way too common— but most have escaped the public eye and the attention of the media.
However, now that everyone has a camera in their pockets, it’s being brought to the public’s attention how these pervasive and often brutal attacks disproportionately target minorities and people of color. The veil of equal treatment under the law has been lifted.
Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Terence Crutcher, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Botham Jean, Freddie Gray, Bettie Jones, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Dominique White, Laquan McDonald, Miguel Espinal, Roy Nelson, Jamal Clark, Peterson Brown, Lamontez Jones, Wayne Wheeler, Junior Prosper, India Kager, Tyree Crawford, Christian Taylor, Troy Robinson, and many other brothers and sisters have been robbed from this earth by a system that is failing us, an institution that refuses to be accountable and people whose agendas have priority over any social problem the country is facing.
If you’re interested in learning more, read about The Atlanta Massacre of 1906 and The Tulsa race massacre. These are actual events that happened and must not be forgotten.
All Cards on the Table
Now, I have something I want to share with you.
It might not be much of a surprise to some of you, but to be honest, I didn’t feel very comfortable sharing many details about my roots. I just didn’t feel like it had anything to do with what we are trying to achieve and the value we want to provide to our readers and listeners.
However, I have come to realize that this is not the whole story. I was ashamed and afraid to put myself out there. Moreover, we could risk people not listening to us due to bias.
I am a Dominican Republic national and have been living in Tokyo for the last 4 years. Wendy and I are currently in our process of getting married and immigrate to her home country, the United States. The same country where atrocities like this were barely newsworthy.
Nevertheless, I didn’t understand I could be the target of these heinous acts and hatred.
I have lived most of my adult life with one imperative always in mind. I want to be the best version of myself. This desire has been fueled mainly by an inherent understanding of my potential to make myself better.
Most importantly, the belief that the game field is fair for all. As long as I worked hard and kept my vision, I can get up there with the greats. There is nothing to fear. I just needed to work.
It is not that I wasn’t aware of the existence of racism or haven’t experienced it yet —I have. Nevertheless, I still felt safe because I could not fathom people were harboring that much hatred and ignorance towards me.
I have seen my own people having bias and prejudice towards each other. However, I have never seen malicious intent or targeted acts of discrimination, despite constantly feeling capable of correcting and educating anyone who would have a misconception or racist views towards us.
Sense of Security
I have now come to realize that this view of the world is not only naive but dangerous. And the realization did not come gracefully. It crept up on me like the most vicious snake and brought me down to my knees.
Life in America feels very different for some parts of the population compared to others. The sense of security and opportunity that I described earlier is a real thing that lives inside most privileged white folks in a developed country like the U.S.
Yet, for most of us, minorities, immigrants, African Americans, we live with a heavy load on our backs and constant tension in our nerves. We live with a prophecy that might come true.
Stand Up and Commit Agains Racism and Discrimination
Yet, here I stand. A man who has lived through a storm of emotions and has drowned in sorrow, anger, and confusion. Admitting my ignorance, complicity, and lethargy. Trying my best to make something positive out of this and grow.
I want you to know that I commit to never again be complicit. To address any aggression of any level and engage in the conversation. I commit to educate myself as much as I can to understand your pain. To find the best way possible to produce change.
I will be by your side every step of the way. Fighting to change and reform the system that has allowed this issue to persist. A system that was intentionally built to prosecute, oppress, and disenfranchise minorities. A broken amalgamation of ill-intended reforms and unnecessary overhauls that eats vulnerable people and destroys families and lives.
I commit to never again be complacent and ignorant to the struggles of others.
We need people who are still on the fence about this issue to ask questions. To be open to learn the reality of the problems we all face and raise our voices to our leaders.
Distancing yourself from the problem is not acceptable anymore. Proclaiming not being racist is not enough. We need to actively educate ourselves and each other. It’s not enough to disagree with oppressive and racist ideas.
This moment can’t be just another event in the endless storm of news and politics. We have to make this the moment our kids will read in the history books and ask us how we changed the world.
Racism Essays and More
I feel that at this point, anything that needed to be said has been said multiple times by many people who understand how appalling it is that we are still facing racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.
I would recommend you to read the following articles and statements if you haven’t yet. Look for movies and documentaries that talk about the issue.
- Ben & Jerry: Dismantle White Supremacy
- Barak Obama: How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change
- Neil Degrasse Tyson: Reflections on the Color of my Skin
Take care of yourself out there, and remember that you’re not alone, and we love you.
Cover photo by James Eades on Unsplash