Dr. Alwin Spence
Kudos to the many TV and radio stations for the publicity they gave to Black History Month. Thanks to the many churches, organizations and individuals who have actively participated in Black History Month.
It seems that the events of 2020 struck home, highlighted by the public execution of George Floyd, whose demise at the hands of the police was seen all over the world. This event alone has raised a level of consciousness not only among black people, as it should, but equally among white people.
This is even more important when we see a particularly sharp increase in the activities of those who adhere to white supremacy. This comes without shame or apology. What is most alarming is the openness of the activities of these people, and the politicians who refuse to denounce it.
Thus, the acknowledgement of Black History Month and its observance with all the positive activities must not die on February 28th, but continue to educate and change the behaviour of those who have been misguided towards a racist discriminatory and inhumane perspective. While we patiently wait for the slow and positive change of the majority population, let us take time out to nurture our own growth and understanding.
It seems that many of our Black youth are unable to delay gratification and accept what is lower and immediate. There are no sweeter words I could hear than when I interview graduate and high school students for a scholarship to pursue higher education.
I pop the question, “What is your goal?” And he or she states, “I want to go on to CEGEP, then to University, then to Graduate work, possibly get a PhD and then to teach at the University level.” This student is looking 9 – 10 years ahead. Well worth waiting for!
But the bottom line is not a PhD, it is doing the best you can in whatever field you may choose. Be the best mechanic, nurse, administrator, doctor, lawyer, businessperson or any other professional.
Go for the top in any field where power is accessible and leads the way to change for the Black community.
When one has education power, and economic mobility, one is better able to challenge discrimination and racism. So one must strategize to acquire that power. This entitles one to sit at the same table with anyone else.
Power gives confidence in the self and this collective power enhances a whole community.
To be realistic, Black people should not spend their energy trying to change the prejudicial feelings of white people…. they have to make that change and do that work themselves!
Our positive behaviour, educational and economic power will speak for itself and eventually cause others to question their presumptions and behaviours.
Today as I write, the jury is being selected for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who had his knee on the neck of George Floyd for over eight minutes, until Floyd’s breath was snuffed out, dead and gone.
This was in plain day light in full view of bystanders, and has since been viewed by millions of people worldwide. The evidence is clear and should be an easy case.
But the results of similar “cop-killings of Black people” cases do not ensure a fair trial ending in conviction and imprisonment.
This may not be any different. Presently, a defence team must be planning every possible way of setting Derek Chauvin free, or maybe working towards a light slap on the wrist, which is way out of proportion to this heinous crime.
This may prove to be yet more evidence of systemic racism. Blacks must not fool themselves. Four years of Republic rule under Donald Trump in the USA seems to demonstrate without a doubt that society is not even apologetic of its immense racist population.
If Black people are not seen as equal human beings, or even as human beings, then killing them is not a crime.
When the lion can shoot back at the human, the human does not have power over it.
When Black people will have educational and economic power, white racists will be forced to respect them.
Let us hope for the George Floyd case that justice will be done. Justice for Black people is more than overdue.
This is a historical moment for positive change.