I have a very unique perspective on racial injustice. I grew up in a very diverse setting. I was raised in West Berkeley, in a time where there was a LOT of racial tension. We were basically the only white family in the neighborhood. In fact, I had neighbors involved with the Black Panther Party. I witnessed a pretty upsetting hate crime against my mother and saw my mother taking care of the neighborhood children the next day, as if nothing had happened. At 5 years old she told me that this was a bigger problem that needed resolving. My mother refused to let racism against her stop her from making a difference. My mother did low-income daycare for children of many different backgrounds. Some kids were from the hills, some kids were local. Some children had special needs (handicapped, learning disabilities, etc.) and it was being around this most diverse group of children that shaped my childhood. I never once thought of anything other than being a child and having fun with my friends. I was not taught that way.
On top of that, I grew up in a feminist household, being raised in an LGBTQ+ family, my mother was adamant about educating me to know and respecting other people’s beliefs. Just being raised in a diverse culture, made it so I could see goodness in people and relate to them on a human level. My mother has been a teacher for over 30 years in the roughest parts of Oakland California, has been called names, has been spit on, and because she is a teacher for severely handicapped children and children with special needs, she gets barely any recognition. The reason why she does teach in these neighborhoods is because these children deserve hope. My mother has given clothing to children because the family lived in a car and couldn’t afford to buy any clothing. I have seen parents crying to my mother because their child can be the first in their family to go to college. What is my point? the first step is a commitment to being a decent human being. Recognition is nice, it’s very important, but it is not needed in order to make a change. There are people making a difference now that you and I will never know about. It’s the right thing to do.
Later in life, dramatic changes in my mother’s life caused us to have to move to a different area, in a more “safe” part of town. To go from a diverse city like Berkeley to this other city was like night and day. I had never been around people that looked like me that were so hateful and racist. I saw people of color accepting this ignorant behavior because this ignorant child was rich. I did not care for it at all and often got in trouble and in fights for questioning or standing against this behavior.
Racism is learned behavior. Racism is taught. So what can we do?
Here are a few settings that I’ve observed in my lifetime.
If you are an influencer or have friends that are “influencers” or socialites, and you hear them saying something that is ignorant, regardless if they meant it or not, it is up to you to speak your voice. It can be done in private when they’re done talking, it could be a polite interjection in a conversation to say you don’t agree.
It doesn’t matter if that person you are working with, networking with or just doing business with, holds the key to your success, financial freedom, or a connection that can change your life, there is a more authentic success for you being built.
For me, authenticity is #1. For us to be true to ourselves and KNOW beyond what we see what our destiny is can change the world. The people that impacted me the most, did so by being themselves. People will bend over backward for people who have connections, success, money, etc. We need to have the security within ourselves to know nobody else determines our destiny.
Bring your children around children of other backgrounds. Have your family go to places where there are other cultures and teach them. It’s awesome as a child to see other parts of the world. Teach your child their culture and your family history, so that they may appreciate others’.
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it”
– Maya Angelou
What I have found is powerful when having these conversations is speaking from a factual, non-emotion based conversation. Why? Emotions are important, yes? Well, when people don’t agree with us, they don’t understand our feelings, so when we say things like “in my experience, there are good and bad people everywhere“. There are statistics on how much more likely a person of color is to get pulled over.
If your parents say something ignorant you must stand your ground. It doesn’t matter what they’ve seen, it doesn’t matter what they learned. Most people that are racist are deeply insecure, self-loathing, and incredibly hard on themselves. I have someone dear in my life who has parents that don’t share her views and while she keeps her distance in these kinds of conversations, she will speak up and not just accept their comments.
We must stop just canceling people. We must have difficult conversations with people so they understand. I wrote a piece recently called “The Power of Uncomfortable Conversations”, because this is something very near and dear to my heart. I have lived in amazing neighborhoods, I have lived in the projects, I have friends that are wealthy and friends that are considered poor; loved ones from all different walks of life. I am an artist. I see goodness in people and I see hate and anger in people. I see how people accept so much until one person speaks up. People know they are wrong, but it’s up to the fearless person to speak up.
What will it take to make a change? Now while I said we must stop canceling people, we DEFINITELY must stop supporting them and other brands that are inhumane, racist, or detrimental to us as an evolving society.
Okay, so you REALLY want to make a change? Here’s how I started. A couple of years ago, I started looking at companies who basically did not care about humanity and made decisions about who I wanted to support based on that. I’m not going to get too deep into this, but after the riots happened, many companies changed their beliefs and actually spoke up on injustice. When certain CEOs were racist or dismissive toward racial injustice, certain brands discontinued their partnership with them. When companies don’t listen to your words, they will listen to your pockets. Regardless of how people feel, they want to stay in business. At a base level, when we stop supporting people who don’t care about basic human rights, they will have to adjust or get left behind. Who and what we support speaks volumes.
Lastly, the best option is education. I’m not talking about opening a history book or learning algebra. I’m saying we are feeling anxiety, anger and many emotions regarding our current state. So how are a few ways to reduce anxiety? Breathing techniques like Wim Hoff Breathing, there are supplements, natural things like Maca, Ashwagandha, Shilajit that come from the earth that have been used for centuries in times of stress.
You can reformat your whole social media so the only people you follow are sharing information with you on how to live a more balanced life. The more photos and videos you like in this world, the more the algorithm will show you. Then, in the same way that you might share that dramatic fight or Hollywood gossip with your friend, you can share something that really adds value to their life. You can introduce them to people like Gary V.
This is not going to be a short-lived protest that fizzles out. The world has now changed and continues to do so. It’s up to us with the golden hearts, the people who so often allow people to walk over us, to silence us because we’ve been hurt. We must speak up, even if we are trembling. Even if we fear we are going to lose it all. Now is a time for faith. For connectivity. We must unite. This is not a race war, this is good vs. evil. The black community, the African Community, “People Of Color” have been treated as second rate citizens. They are expected to “shut up and dribble”, or to commit a crime, or to be angry. People hold their purses, they roll up their windows, they roll their eyes. It is now time to listen like it was you speaking. Like you acknowledge that your ancestors might have done exactly what you are so upset that “illegals do”. We must call our hypocrisy. We must be aware of what and who we are supporting, what shows and media outlets we support, and what message are we teaching to the children of this world. Less fear, more truth, more hope.
I find that music brings change to the hardest of times. Today I was listening to oldies and realizing how beautiful music was, more so the message. There was more of a focus on LOVE. I feel that love has been silenced and is slowly making a comeback.
During this time I was able to produce and record and mix a song called “No Justice, No Peace“, that reflects not only how beautiful my childhood was, but also that we must stand up and be a voice for the voiceless.
I hope you stay inspired. I hope that you stay in contact with me. You are not alone. You are loved and appreciated.
What do you think of this song? Let me know!
Lastly, as a fellow conspiracy theorist, there are a lot of conspiracies about what’s going on and what the real motive is. It doesn’t matter if someone has an agenda. It doesn’t matter if this is hypothetically all some plan to destroy the world. What matters is black lives. What matters is what WE do. People of color must have equality. We must change the dynamic in our culture. In a world where so many people love black culture, black music and take that culture to make money, to make music, to make videos, we must acknowledge there has been an injustice, and that there should be the same opportunities and the same treatment that white people receive.
You can roll your eyes, you can deny it, you can tell me statistics, studies, and show me proof of other people who have overcome hardships, but the fact of the matter is this world is changing for the better, good ALWAYS wins, and the same people who were ignorant when racism was accepted in mainstream America have adapted just fine now that we are being more civilized. Remember, no matter where you come from, once upon a time “your people” had injustice to.
Do the right thing. Peace
Leave a comment and share this post. Until next time.