It has been extremely distressing watching the footage of the blatant racism exhibited by various USA police, not least George Floyd’s gut wrenching murder. I would like to think this is a specific American issue but as we sadly know, racism exists in our own backyard and that is where we need to start to address it.
You could argue racism is a very complex and imbedded issue, and it is!
Martin Luther King had the answer. He was able to cut to the core of how to bring about change. This man’s integrity and the difference he made to humanity stands out in history. He was intelligent and was able to touch people’s consciousness by his simple and clear dealing with the truth. A stinging but powerful statement was his commentary around “the appalling silence of good people.”
To be clear he actually said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
That’s it! Simple as that! “Silence is complicity!” We all have to take responsibility. It’s time for us all to stand our ground and do what we know is right whether it be on racism, workplace harassment, domestic abuse etc
We are all fragile beings that need and deserve respect, support and kindness. It has been so refreshing having some of our leaders here in Aotearoa modelling the mantra of this. Our PM, Jacinda Adhern spoke on the world stage at the United Nations Assembly where she called for a new world order ---one that puts ‘kindness ahead of isolationism, rejection and racism.’
Schools and families have the obligation to explicitly educate our young people with these central issues of human responsibility, but most of all, to ‘walk the talk’ as modelling is the most powerful weapon against the insidious nature of racism and harassment of any kind.
The issue of racism is complex and deeply rooted but rather than feeling helpless as an individual, we can all make a difference. We all have to be brave and speak out when we see and hear what we know to be wrong, as ‘silence is complicity’!