COVID-19 has forced everyone into a new normal. Face masks, social distancing, remote working, etc. Similarly, the curtain that has covered systemic racism has been thrown wide open and has forced everyone to think and consider about behaving in a new normal. This new normal has some simple rules to live by:
- Be considerate to your fellow humans.
- Be kind and open-minded.
- Challenge your own beliefs.
There is no way any of us have “it” figured out. And like Plato’s prisoners in the “Allegory of the Cave”, we need to rethink what our reality is. Think critically about yourself and those around you.
Why am I posting about this on a blog about software my company crafts? We are a group of people working together making software for other people to help make wine for… people. It is about people. Being inclusive is necessary and is just baked into our company’s DNA. When something like these injustices are blasted in our face, I feel like the least I can do is speak out.
There are people on this planet that are treated less than others. In the USA, Black people bear this burden the most. For that simple fact, we must call this out in a very obvious way, Black Lives Matter. There is no need to argue if this statement is inclusive enough. If you’re making that argument, revisit the aforementioned rules (especially #3). If we truly are a united set of states, then we are to be united as a collective group of people with equal rights. I’ve heard this a few times over the last couple weeks and it is true: we are not living up to the ideals that this country was based on…namely: we are all equal.
This movement that we’re in needs to make a big step in the direction of equality and keep the foot on the pedal of progress. No regression, no going backwards. We cannot evolve as a species if we are to keep putting people down because of their differences.
It is unfortunate that George Floyd had to be murdered and captured on video for more people in this country (and world) to see and wake up to this kind of injustice. Now that we are awake, now what? We must take action. I, personally, have been spending a lot of time self-analyzing and realizing my own privileges that I take for granted that I somehow have because I’m not black. Do you think I need to worry about my son losing his life solely because of his skin color during a traffic stop? No, I have never even considered having to have “the talk” with him. My parents never had that conversation with me. The didn’t need to. Yet, Black parents do have to worry about that and do have that conversation. For those White parents reading this now, let that sink in.
I am taking other actions as well: funding different charities, becoming more educated on our history and challenging myself to break out of my comfort zone and speak out when people disrespect someone because of their differences. Most importantly, I will teach my son the four simple rules laid out above.
I’m sure I will make mistakes on this journey, but I will keep trying and keep reminding myself: No one is more or less because of their skin. It is ridiculous and unacceptable to think otherwise.
“How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?”
― Plato, The Allegory of the Cave