Since the tragic death of George Floyd and many others, my anger and disappointment has grown based on how they were murdered, the racism our fellow African Americans to include those of diversity face and the destruction the riots have left behind. As I watch the news, scroll through social media, and speak to friends, I feel my anger grow when I realize my limits in what to do about it. However, there is a way to turn this anger into something that can benefit my fellow Americans, my country, and my community.
As an American of Mexican decent I have faced being stereotyped, excluded, and discriminated against in the military, my civilian career and in my everyday life. However, it is minor compared to the experiences our fellow African Americans have endured at it continues to be blatant and disrespectful. As the recent events have rattled both the American conscience and world’s perspective on race; there may be a chance for everlasting change through peaceful means but, what can be done to prevent the anger from becoming overwhelming.
I faced racism for the first time as a teenager living in Central Europe where going to a restaurant, a store or simply walking down the street brought a double take, avoidance from the locals or insulting whispers. Thinking it was a part of the culture a friend of mine told my family and I we were mistaken as Middle Eastern. Curious by the comment it led me to researching why locals treated their Middle Eastern neighbors with such negativity. Knowing that this was not my country, once my Dad received his military orders, I was relieved of heading home thinking I would not have to face that again. How naive was I as racism hit me after being home of San Antonio a few months later.
Joining the military, going to college and starting my career I saw racism firsthand to include being the target of it. Not to be deterred, I implemented what I learned as a teen which was simply to ignore it and focus my efforts in working harder and more efficiently. Now with the recent events, it has churned my anger where I have decided to use it positively.
I choose to use my anger by:
- Educating myself about the facts on a variety of topics but, to be scrupulous on where I am getting them
- Engaging in positive & productive conversations on all sides of the topic. However, I will not be remiss in the importance of treating and being treated with dignity and respect
- Patronage and participate with companies and organizations that support the inclusion, respect, and engagement of all people
- Calling “it” for what it is. Racism exists everywhere you turn and when you see it, call it out.
- Participating in meaningful calls to action which is practicing the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution allowing for the right to “peaceably” assemble to “petition the Government for redress of grievances.”
- Lastly, to engage in the 12th Amendment in submitting my vote at every opportunity from local municipal positions to that of the office of the Presidency.
I love this county very much as it has provided me and many others multiple opportunities to seek out one’s happiness to their fullest content. However, there are struggles and I believe we have arrived at a juncture where meaningful change can occur without our anger overcoming us.
As I come to a close, I would like to leave you with this quote from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where he says, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” So, lets choose to redirect our anger positively as we engage in change for a brighter tomorrow.