A friend of mind called me the other day to ask my advice. After telling me the issues he was facing, I made some suggestions.
He rejected all of my suggestions.
As is always the nature of our discussions, we went through three hours of arguments and counter arguments.
At the end he told me, ‘you know what Romeo, I just want your support not your advice’.
Based upon that statement, I knew my friend was not seeking a solution to his problem, he simply wanted to vent.
Since the horrific murder of George Floyd, demonstrations have taken place globally. Now that those demonstrations have fizzled out, what is the way forward?
Most black people consider the demonstrations a success because of the token gestures promised by authorities.
Statues are being removed, union flags brought down in the US and corporations promise reform of employment practices.
Many of those measures are step in the right direction but they do not address the structural issues underlying race relations in the US or UK.
And no amount of demonstrations can address those structural issues.
What is required are deep rooted reform for which there is no political will.
The current status quo benefits a certain sector of society that is unwilling to voluntarily give up its perks to right historical wrongs.
The only actions that would enable the type of change needed to root out institutional racism is some in the black community willingly giving up their own perks for the greater good of the community.
We cannot expect white folks to willingly give up their privileges for the benefit of black folks while we keep our privileges.
The road to racial equality is going to be messy.
It will demand sacrifices on both sides.
If black people expect white people to give up their privileges for us, we need to be prepared to give up some of our privileges ourselves.
In these series of articles, I will be outlining the privileges black folks need to be willing to sacrifice if they expect the same from white folks.
Like my friend, a lot of my black brothers and sisters will not like the suggestions I will be making because they demand sacrifices.
We have been conditioned to solve complex problems with simple solutions.
But there are no simple solutions to the fight for racial equality.
Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat was not simple.
Mohammed Ali refusal to go to Vietnam was not simple.
Martin Luther making the ultimate sacrifice with his life for racial justice was not simple
Nelson Mandela twenty-seven years in prison was not simple.
The suggestions I am going to make are not going to be simple.
But we have a choice of two simples:
We continue demonstrating and hoping someone is going to give us racial equality or we make the difficult decisions now for a simple life tomorrow.
When my friend calls me to complain these days, I just listen. I know he doesn’t want a solution, he just wants me to listen.
Let’s see which choice my black brothers and sisters will make.
Go to part two of this article for the actions I believe will bring about true racial equality.