June 11, 2020

Racism is the global pandemic

Why is the fight against racism so hard for some to comprehend?

Because what happens to minorities across the globe does not affect the majority, not even in the slightest. If white people were affected by racism the same way people of colour are, racism would only be read about in the history books.

Racism is and always has been a virus, it has been a construct of our societies since the beginning of time, and it should never have lasted this long. The difference between racism and Covid-19 is you can choose to have it, and you can choose to give it. However, the vaccine is quite simple; don't be racist, be kind, save lives.

We shut down our borders to save lives, we shut down the world to save lives, we promoted saving lives from Covid-19 on every existing news media outlet. We need that same energy to end racism.

NAACP's mission statement states, "The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons."

This statement is my utopia, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why people would not want this. It's so simple - yet evidently so far fetched.

We might think that the injustices happening to black Americans are far removed from the realities here in New Zealand, but it happens here too.

Just a touch of melanin will see that you are racially profiled in any given situation here in New Zealand.

For decades Māori have fought for equal rights in New Zealand. We fought for our lives, our lands, our language, our babies, our traditions, simply to be on the same level as our oppressors. That is why our fight goes hand in hand with the Black Lives Matter movement, and this is why action is crucial.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

To be silent is to be complacent. We need to speak up to end this pandemic.

The current systems as they stand are failing people of colour across the board. It comes with no surprise as these systems were built on racist ideologies. So my ideas on ending racism start with dismantling the colonial organisations that are in control. It's not easy, I know, but on an individual level, if we begin to call out all acts of racism, it's a start.

Too many lives have been lost to this pandemic called racism. What is happening in America right now is unequivocally paramount. It's about time we take a stand together and eradicate racism the same way we're fighting against Covid-19.

All lives won't matter until Black Lives Matter.