Editor’s note: Socrates Ochieng shares his views on why it is time for the US government and society to address the systemic racial issues for the prosperity of American society and the world.
One amazing thing about the American people is their ability to step up to the challenge when duty calls. In recent days, the world has witnessed the great spirit of American people in the streets calling for justice for George Floyd and an end to systemic racism.
The protests which were predominantly black at the start have since seen all the races and people of all faiths join the march with the singular aim of getting justice for Floyd and putting to an end to endemic racism that has to a degree destroyed the great soul of the American society.
Even when things return to normal, one of the highlights of the protests will be the video of the 75-year-old man who was hospitalised after being pushed by police officers during a protest march in Buffalo, New York.
The elderly white man took to the streets to protest the treatment of the late Floyd and other racial injustices. And given his age, we have every reason to believe he has seen it all in terms of how racial discrimination affects a society.
I can sense good tidings ahead; that the American government and society will take a bold step to kill the monster that has destroyed careers and worst, ripped off self-esteem of young African Americans to believe there are limits to what they’re capable of becoming.
The erroneous thinking that dreaming big mostly leads to disappointment.
But it won’t be easy for the entitled white supremacists and who control the levers of the system to cede ground and accept the African Americans and other minorities as worthy and equal countrymen.
Until recently, In movies, the blacks were portrayed as unnecessarily aggressive and more vulgar than the average white man.
But while movies tell part of the story of institutionalised racism, it is important to understand the aggression of black population in the US can be attributed to years of being trampled upon and being told there is a limit to what one can achieve.
In Kenya and most parts of Africa, it is common to hear children who do well in primary education say they want to be neurosurgeons in their later years.
This influence is largely occasioned by Gifted Hands, a master-piece written by Dr Benjamin Carson.
But while one cannot stop and marvel at Dr Carson’s academic transformation thanks to his strict mother, there is the other story of endemic racism in American society.
The issue is best illustrated when some of the patients refuse to be operated on by Dr Carson on the account of him being black.
But some of Carson’s colleagues are wonderful human beings as they would tell off such patients; that they would rather look for help elsewhere if they did not want to be operated by Carson.
While a good number of Americans have shown a desire for improved inter-racial relations that will make the black population and racial minorities in America get a sense of belonging, it is good to note that the quest for change will not be a walk in the park.
In fact, it is good for those fighting for racial equality to know that they have just started out on a journey to chase a dream – and there’s no telling how far they’ll run ” to arrive there.”
By the same token, it is important to invoke the wisdom of the indefatigable Frederick Doughlas captured in one of his best-known quotes:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
The journey has just started. Aluta continua!
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