An international lesson called the BLM movement and why it should matter 13,022 kms away.
What a month the world is having.
What a year actually.
All those memes about ‘Welcome to Jumanji level 4/5/6‘ aside, it really is a turning out to be an oddly mysterious existence.
When we should’ve been social distancing, a bad cop managed to sit on George Floyd’s neck and murder him.
A bad cheque was an excuse to kill someone.
When most humans were forced to address and rethink priorities, it’s sickening that racial venom won against humanity in the time of a pandemic.
Predictably, we saw police who held protestors and prayed and cried, and we saw police that mowed through peaceful demonstrators.
We saw a president encourage domination and we saw another one take a knee and protest.
We saw people taking to the streets to join hands in solidarity and we saw looters.
More in numbers, however, were the ones who kept Silent.
Such is the time we’re living in. The world can scare a good, sturdy person in the best of times, which this is not.
And the least we can do is educate ourselves. At the very least.
I’ll tell you why.
Right now many Indians are also writing about how we need to look inwards into our own society and to our own underlying racism. And many are ok with acknowledging that we have a problem, but “we’re nowhere as bad as America”.
Race is but one card.
The problem is not What our problem is. The problem is Us.
It starts under wraps: Clients asking for only fair supermodels for their fashion show. Grandmoms scrubbing lil girl’s faces with malai because they’re dark-skinned.
A rich man’s son gets a seat at a college because he bought it with a higher donation.
Then it progresses to these. The elephant stories from Kerala.
The cow stories from Himachal.
The Dalit boy shot and killed for worshipping with “upper class”.
It's not just a disintegration of society. It’s a disintegration of humanity.
I read a post of an 18-year-old African American boy Cameron Welch who posted about all the rules his mum instilled in him as soon as he was able to go out. Since he was 11.
For brevity, I’ll only list a few.
“Don’t put your hands in your pocket“ “Don’t wear a hoodie”
”If a cop pulls you over, just comply”
”Take a receipt for anything you buy, even if it’s a pack of chewing gum”.
My son is 16 years old. None of the above is anything I would teach him, nor will I allow him to be treated this way!
Still not our problem right? I mean this kid is from Houston.
I was cutting tomatoes last week for lentil.
I sliced through this really nice juicy tomato and I was just thinking to myself about how nice this batch of tomatoes was, unlike the ones from the previous week.
Not 5 seconds later, I’m slicing into the second half, and it’s completely unusable! Like housing several hungry caterpillars kind, unusable.
The only thought that struck me as I reached for another fruit was that this is exactly how our world is right now! So nice and so rotten, co-existing to carry on.
That‘s not the surprising part. As long as the earth has existed, I’m sure there’s always been and always will be, good and the bad.
What concerned me was this: Had I let that tomato sit for a few more days, the whole fruit would’ve been unusable.
That’s us. The rotten, dirty bits we do nothing about? They're coming for us!
Black Lives Matter is not being played out in my immediate yard. But what I keep silent about, will one day catch up to me.
The isolated events I mentioned above are firstly not that isolated.
There are a huge number of Dalits, Christians, Muslims, females, Hijras, who could show you physical or emotional scars.
And secondly, it shouldn't have to take a George Floyd sized event to shake up society.
The fact that we tell our girls to be careful because ”boys will be boys”, is one of the many proofs that we’re rotting and turning a blind eye.
And no! Creating a ‘George Floyd challenge’ for entertainment isn’t our ability to overcome and turn something bad into something cute.
It‘s proof that we’re a desensitized, unfeeling, callous bunch of skins that can stoop so low.
What you tolerate, you agree to.
What you agree to, will catch up to you.
Support what is right.
Social blindness is not a virtue.
We can’t expect to be world citizens and also act like what happens in another country doesn’t matter to us.
This is not a call to wage every war with an equal language of hate. That is how vigilantes are born.
This is a call to be a human being.
To stand up and stop our role in the name-calling, in the racism, in the jokes about a 'people group', in the covert shaming, in the desecration and misuse of nature for financial gain...
A call to report domestic violence, to pay proper wages to our domestic help, to work ethically without cutting corners, to stop bullying, to hold ourselves and our immediate circle of influence, responsible.
It's a nudge to get involved in the various social NGOs and volunteer. Every bit helps.
The worst you have to lose is your time.
Here are some links to get you started.
Educate yourself about human rights, climate change, social responsibility, animal welfare...
It‘s time to re-learn being Human.