America is now a divided country. There are large cracks in society that are being fueled by hatred. Old wounds have been reopened by a careless leader, who seems to be creating conflict within minority groups. These minority groups have faced years, decades, centuries of persecution by the establishment and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better as the generations pass.
With the advancement of technology and the use of social media platforms this type of hatred these minority groups experience can be easily viewed by all of society in its disgusting reality. It is not that the levels of racism has changed, it is that a greater number of society can see first hand what these minority groups experience on a daily basis.
Growing up as a man of color and gay there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t been made to feel that I am different or less deserving by an Angelo society. I grew up in Australia and moved to the America a number of years ago after marrying my husband. New York City for me was an accepting and amazing place where the color of your skin or sexual preference didn’t matter and still doesn’t, but that isn’t the case of other part of America.
America, has always been a land of opportunity and if you have a dream you can make it come true. In some instances I do believe that is very much the case, but to chase that dream or opportunity and make it a reality is very different for some and not fair and equal.
If these opportunities were fair and equal then every aspect of American society would be represented at all levels of corporations, institutions and government offices. All types of people would be visible and it wouldn’t be limited to a number of people who are born with the right connections and preference that seem to be elevated to positions of power and influence.
It wasn’t until I started school that I was made aware that I was different, my parents loved me and at no point did I feel anything other than love from them. Early on one thing that I do remember is just before I started school my father took me aside and explained to me that as a young child he experienced bigotry and hatred directed at him because of the color of his skin and that I might experience it to, but ignore it and tell an adult if it does happen.
It did happen, a lot, but early on we were taught racism was wrong by our teachers.
But it doesn’t seem that everyone in society has that belief that racism, misogyny and homophobia are wrong. It seems there is still a vocal group of individuals that feel it is there right to point out your differences and use it to their advantage.
The awful situation that happened in Minneapolis with George Floyd has once again demonstrated the institutional bias that is directed towards people of color. Not only was there numerous instances of police brutality but a general lack of care given to someone who was crying out in pain.
The situation in Minnesota unfortunately is not the first time this type of behavior has happened, but with advances in technology the image of George Floyd being restrained has been seen around America and the outcry has been unanimous.
But how do we institute change??
Protests and riots are happening around the country and it is understandable. People are fed up, communities need to grieve and the level of frustration and anger needs to ease. But this invigorated energy also needs to be directed to making a change and the only way to make change is my educating others and making your voice heard.
We have heard time and again that we need to register to vote and encourage our friends and family who share the same beliefs to get out and vote. At this time in the world it couldn’t be more important to help make this change for the better happen.
Ask questions of your Political Leaders, Mayors, Police Chiefs, anyone that holds power in the community, question what they are doing to improve race relations. Write letters to leading organizations and corporations asking their stance of the racial unrest and what they are doing to make positive changes. The more voices these institutions hear the more likely they are going to listen and do something for the better.
If we want an all inclusive and accepting America it is all about education and making your voice heard for the good. Tolerance, acceptance and love is what we all want for the future.
Follow Matt D’Silva on Twitter @MattDSilva
Another Australian living in New York seeing what experiences it will bring. Don’t get me wrong, this has been a dream… about 16 years in the making!