Black Lives Matters
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Black Lives Matters

yes!, in every facet of our society! Not just with police brutality

Black Lives Matters

The week leading to George Floyd's death set the perfect storm for the movement we are seeing now. But the racist roots in america run much deeper than that. Corona (COVID 19) for the first time in history clearly outlined the disparities that black america face on a daily basis. Yes many of us are home working with our children that was the common ground. However black people were dying disproportionately than any other racial group....why is that? Not to mention, america was paying attention; we are all not busy running errands living our day to day lives. We are home, for the most part, consuming.

This meant that when Amy Cooper used her white privilege to weaponize Chris Cooper's blackness, we as a society were watching. And this was hot off the heals of Ahmaud Arbery being gunned down in the streets simply for stopping at a construction site and jogging while black. So when the video of George Floyd surface, it was hard to look away. Hard to deny that racism exist. Hard to ignore the casual demeanor of Derek Chauvin as he took the life of this man. How many of us have gotten cash change back from a store and checked to see if that note was legitimate? I don't! But to think that if I received a false note from someone, that my life could be at risk if I were to have an encounter with police is unthinkable.

But here is the thing, should we pretend that covert racial injustice and systemic racism doesn't extend to the business world (work), the education system (school) and the way that black people live (housing) and beyond?. The reason police brutality is so visible is because police brutality results disproportionately in the deaths of black lives. But as we saw, COVID 19 also had a disproportionate effect on black lives. But it doesn't stop there...If we take into account quality of life, being passed over for promotions and job offers, or not having the same opportunities, or being treated differently by colleagues or subjected to microaggression at work, which occurs to most black people on a daily basis, results disproportionately in mental health issues and even in some cases results in mental breakdowns. Whats worst is that these covert signals in the work place have many taking advantage of the black man plight. Think of Amy Cooper, she understood that calling the police and stating that a black man was threatening her life would mean loss for that black man in some way. It's the same at work. People pile on, they see injustices and they turn a blind eye. Better yet, they use it to their advantage. If the leaders have their foot on her/his neck (their black counterpart), they are less likely to notice me if I am not doing my job. Better yet, if I make like nothing is happening, and i don't see the injustice, or what is happening is not actually an injustice, I will get promoted because I am on of them and can hold up their system of operation.

This happens at schools too! The rates of anxiety, depression, and behavior disorders among black children doubled over the course of several decades, with prevalence rates among black Americans topping those of whites, found a recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology. Previous research examining racial differences in rates of psychiatric disorders have typically found that black Americans show lower rates than whites, despite experiencing higher rates of social adversity and stressors. Why do you think this is? I am sure that under reporting is part of it. Additionally why is it OK that blacks have to have greater social adversity and stressors?. But here is the thing when Black kids are accosted by police, they are more likely to be physically harmed and taught from a early age to invalidate their feelings and experiences. If they act up in class they are from a very early age, kicked out of class and face greater penalties than their white counterparts. Teacher's have greater patience and make greater accommodations for their white counterparts displaying the exact same behaviors. Because here's the thing, when they look at those kids they see themselves reflected. They see a cute kid as they should but not so when they see a black kid and that's sad. Is it any wonder that there are lasting effects. And when they reach the workplace, what is there to look forward to? daily microaggression and a system that is stacked against them.

Now to where black people live. We live in poverty stricken neighborhoods, more often than not. Ones where walking on the side walk could lead to being arrested or harmed by police, simply for walking while black. Being shot dead in the street for jogging while black or associated with the wrong gang which you are not a part of. The dangers are real. These then have public health consequences. The lack f opportunity at work, and lack of historical wealth within their families, means we often live paycheck to paycheck. It means, we we can't walk on the side walk, so we don't exercise on the streets, it means we can't afford quality organic foods which lead to the co morbidity that lead to the disproportionate deaths witnessed during COVID 19. I am glad that a spotlight has been put on police brutality but.....Trevor Noah stated it best, some people are outraged by the rioting and violence. I do not condone violence. But if you are living these injustices and you have signed up to the societal agreement to do right but yet society is not doing right by you what is the incentive? You are bullied at work daily, your fat and overweight because your food is crappy because it's all you can afford, your kids are treated badly at school, then on top of that you can die in the street at the hands of police or "concerned citizen". Would you sign that agreement? There is a old African proverb, a child not embraced by the village, will burn it down to feel its warmth. As Forrest Gump stated; that's all i have to say about that.

So what's the solution? It's nice to see #blackouttuesday and #blacklivesmatter posted everywhere but we need to systematically tackle the unconscious bias, white privilege and systemic racism that lead to these unfair outcomes

Businesses need to ask themselves and I am by no means an expert, just some things to consider? We need actions not just social hashtags....

  • How do you promote/affect racial equality for your employees, customers, suppliers?
  • What is the makeup of your leadership teams? Are they diverse and representative?
  • What are your policies around hiring? Are there unconscious biases in place that disadvantage certain people? How can those biases be removed?
  • Do you have an environment where people can feel comfortable enough to report or call-out discrimination without feeling ostracized afterwards?
  • Do you support your employees when they face challenges? Do black employees have the same measures put in place for protection as their white counterparts


  • Is there representations among your teachers?
  • Are the same measures taken for kids that misbehave or have difficulties, or face challenges across racial lines?
  • What are your policies around the two above?

On an individual level:

  • Show your black friends, family members and colleagues that you care. Reach out. I have had an outpouring of love, people have reached out to show that they care and that is how it should be.
  • Educate yourself - Do your own research on matters of racism, injustice, unconscious bias. Some books to consider The half has never been told (Edward Baptist), The wars of Reconstructions (Douglas R. Egerton) and new Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)
  • Call-out discrimination - If you see or perceive discrimination against a colleague, friend, neighbor etc, don't stay silent. Silent outrage will NEVER change anything.

I'm not an expert but as a Black British girl living the American dream but the African American experience, I've picked up a few things.

Let's continue to spread awareness, educate yourselves, make room for us at the table. And when the media moves onto another topic, make a conscious effort to continue the fight for racial equality.

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