A memorial stands at what is now known as George Perry Floyd Square on May 25, 2022, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
It’s almost the anniversary of George Floyd’s racist murder, an event that awoke the sleeping activist within me again. The activist that I had retired after actively fighting the apartheid regime in South Africa for most of my early adult life.
The activist that had been sleeping as myself and my wife were building a better life in the “land of the free” after being moved there by the company I worked for. A land away from the poverty and injustice that I grew up in.
I justified my lack of activism on having so much else to do, a job to do well, a life to live, a family to see to.
I even went as far as to actively ignore and avoid racist people, of which there were many in our affluent social circle. A social circle that had happily accepted a black family with a “welcome, you made it”, white handshake.
Why? I can only but take a guess at the reason for this acceptance.
However, I’m sure that for some it was because even though we were black, we we did not sound black, we did not speak in the stereotypical african american accent, we are both tri-lingual, and not born in the USA.
I make this assumption as we have often got the “oh, we love your accent” or “you are so articulate”.
The former is brown nosing, and the latter is just racist when said to a black person, like what did you expect me to sound like, an orangutan?.
By the way, what I’m mansplaining above is called classism, just another form of assholery without the color issue.
In hindsight, I now know why I was so unhappy for the past 10 years living in the “land of the free”. A place that can only be described as a dream form where my life had started, in the slums of public housing in apartheid South Africa.
This rags to riches story is a truism for the many of the immigrants that now call the USA home. In fact, ALL Americans (with the exception of native americans, are descended from immigrants, but that fact is like “fake news” to those born and bred in the USA (talk about orangutans).
But I digress, my lack of activism was because I was conforming to my environment, and this is never a good thing. Conforming usually means sacrificing your core beliefs, it means acting, saying and agreeing with things you know are wrong.
It means being politically correct all the time because if you place one foot outside the conformity, you are most likely to get fired, and because you have a job to protect, you are no longer allowed or willing to think for yourself or stand up for what is right.
You start losing your identity and stop caring about the racism in the world and forget to rightfully push back on the racists in it, you conform to just survive in this created dystopia.
You start wearing clothes that are socially acceptable to your conforming society, straightening your hair, your kids hair. You start subconsciously programming your beautiful brown children to think that they are less than their white friends - which they are not!.
I tell my kids this everyday that they are descendants of Kings and Queens because they are, that they are equal to all people and subservient to no one. Why, because if I don’t tell them this, society will tell them a very different story and we will be right back to where we started.
I was in this conforming paradigm for a long long time, and if any of the above seems familiar to you, you are stuck in the same paradigm, a world within a world, Michele and I use to call it the Silicon valley bubble.
I would ask you to take a long hard look in the mirror, because you are better than you think or know, and more valuable than your conforming social set has led you to believe.
Today, you should no longer need to conform, because this is what Nelson Mandela, Bantu Stephen Biko, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Harriet Tubman, Rosie Parks, Martin Luther King, Helen Keller fought for, and what George Floyd and many others like him died for and continue to die for.
We so-called brown and black people and the plethora of other names the white man has have forced on us and our subconscious, it stops with us. It stops with you and me, brown and black leaders in our communities, in businesses, in the companies we work for, it’s time to awaken the activist and be aware of a sickness that has proven to literally steal your last breath again and again.
If not for you, then for the generation of activists that has gone before you and died for you, and for the next generation of beautiful black, brown yellow, and white children that can live in a much better world.
I believe this world or utopia is possible, and will keep fighting for it until the day I am no longer able to.
The question is, do you and will you? #dreamcastproject @Dream Cast Project