Racism takes many forms and has many faces. Most often it tends to demonize the “other”, to ‘generalize’ that a person of a specific race, ethnicity, or religion is part of a group of people who have negative tendencies or characteristics, rather than seeing each person as an individual. If we become conscious of our thoughts of bias against an entire group or verbalize them, the tendency then is to justify those beliefs to ourselves and to others. Rather than seeing others as individuals, we group ‘those people’ as different than ourselves, that they are not worthy, and/or are inherently dangerous, which, at its root, is fear.
Real Change? “For the first time, we may be at a crossroads to consider what it will take for real change in the United States.” Re-imagining our law enforcement and criminal justice systems is a critical start and a necessity in the short-term. Examining equity and the assumptions of our healthcare, education, and other systemic institutions are medium and long term goals that must also be addressed.
Transformation begins with the individual. In-grained deep-seated stereotypes and bias demand an honest look at ourselves. Do we have the desire to see clearly and willing to change our opinions and beliefs? Do we even think we might be looking at others and society at large through a distorted lens? Real change takes honesty, time, sustained effort, vulnerability, a willingness to listen to others, rather than a platform to only expound on our own opinions, our own beliefs.
HOW? “To say we must gather and meet and communicate is an obvious truth. But what are the tools that will be used to guide the communication, the remedies that will heal? As scientists search for better treatments and a vaccine for combating COVID19, we still need billions of dollars to find the treatment and vaccine that will heal the wounds of hundreds of years of prejudice, hate, and fear and to prevent further outbreaks of the deadly disease of bigotry, these character flaws and ignorance that morally plague our nation(s)”. J.E. Rash, Founder & President; Legacy website statement ‘An Affirmation for Peace and Justice’