What Are You Willing To Sacrifice? My Attempt For Social Change

Conversation flowed, circling around one main idea: We Want Change.

Last night I went to a meeting where about roughly 30-40 gathered who want change. Mainly black people but there were others, mixed like me, Asian and some White…

But we don’t know what to change, where to start and what to do…

There’s nothing wrong with this. The hardest part is figuring out what the problem is, what the real, real problem… As the solution is always simple.

There are 3 components to a problem:

1)    The root problem

2)    The solution

3)    The implementing the action plan towards the solution

1 and 3 are hard but 2 is easy…

We talked about lack of resources as being the problem and lack of awareness and lack of role models as being other problems.

When it came to resources, it wasn’t the funds the problem, it was the lack of people and lack of community involvement. Why is that?

            Is it because we don’t care?

            Is it because we don’t see the problem?

Where does this lack of motivation come from?

Personally, I think it stems from people thinking their efforts won’t make a difference. People who know their efforts make a difference, make the time, make the effort and find a way.

I will find time for the things that will serve purpose – we all have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week but some people just use their time more wisely – why is that?

They believe their actions make a difference. We are all busy but we don’t all make a difference.

So the problem isn’t lack of resources…

We have to identify the root problem… what is the root problem? Well, let’s start by what brought us together in the first place…

            The tipping point was an innocent black man getting shot and killed by a white police officer.

That’s a problem. So there’s an obvious problem: The divide.

The divide of ‘us and them’ -> White vs. Black

We talked about many solutions, after school programs for the kids, supporting black businesses and entrepreneurship, wearing a ribbon…

Will all these help?

Yes, they will. Education is the best combatant – educating black kids to stay in school and get good jobs and give back to society will help. Getting kids out of the ghetto and into university will help.

But…

We already have the communities, we already have the role models and big brothers and sisters. The lack of association between the mentors and mentees… This lack of association is discouraging to the mentors. What we need to do is:

 Give them purpose. We need to give them hope. Hope their time and effort makes a difference…

This is one solution but raises another question:

Does it solve the problem of what brought us together last night?!

It’s one possibility and will definitely have a positive effect, but this will take years and decades to adapt.

What about right NOW? What about the divide?

The divide still remains; the divide is now getting bigger.

A more educated black society and a more educated white society that do NOT interact with one another doesn’t break down this wall.

A white cop who has a negative perception of black people will not ask what you do for a living or how much money you make before putting you in cuffs.

Perception is everything. If you want to have an immediate affect we need to break down the wall and change the perception of people.

Someone suggested at the next meeting to bring a cop to the meeting and talk to us…

Immediately people felt uncomfortable and shot down the idea, ‘I don’t feel comfortable bringing a cop into a black safe zone’ was a comment the lady next to me said.

Well that’s part of the problem as well, you don’t feel safe with a white cop around. She expressed herself but the sentiment seemed the same across the board. That’s part of the problem.

Part of the problem is yes black poverty, well there’s white poverty as well but they’re not in the same situation... why is that?

Because society, because cops, because ‘everyone else’ views them as a different poverty then a black kid in the same position.

That’s the problem

There’s a relationship issue as well, not just a black community issue. I can relate it to a real relationship…

The man has an issue with the woman working… He thinks she should be home taking care of the kids… This is the problem.

So she tries to overcompensate by cooking amazing meals, having the kids put in the best daycare, wearing only the sexiest outfits, her hair, nails, and makeup are always done right.

All these things are GREAT and the man realizes this and appreciates this but it doesn’t solve the problem he has with her working. There will always be that divide, that issue, that problem and it will manifest in different areas of the relationship until it is addressed.

It’s the same with the issue we face today, we can start an entrepreneurship program, or an afterschool program, or a mentorship program and make the black kids feel more comfortable among blacks but it will not change the perception they have when faced with other cultures.

It will not change the view of whites to blacks with no interaction of whites WITH blacks.The solution to the problem is not just overcompensation – it’s also tackling the issue head on.

Until I can drive down Ste. Catherine street, see a cop and not impulsively turn down the music, take the lean out of my chair and take off my hat there will be a problem. Money doesn’t change that.

Until I no longer see interracial couples as interracial couples and just people in love there will be a problem. Status doesn’t change that.

Until I no longer notice the colour of your skin and texture of your hair and I see the beauty of your smile and the life in your eyes there will be a problem.

Until I no longer see myself at a disadvantage because of my ethnicity there will be a problem.

Until they no longer feel the need to instinctively pull a gun on a black kid when they would have never done so on a white kid, there will be problem.

Until they see us as equal, there will be a problem.

A solution is to break the stereotypes, not by continually segregating ourselves based on race, but by based on ability and common interest.

A solution is to bring together communities of all types so we no longer feel ‘uncomfortable’ about being around certain individuals.

A solution is to face the deep-seeded fear you have about why you are treated different, break down the judgement through education and bring everyone together.

The black kids, the white kids, the Spanish kids, the mixed kids and educate everyone on where

I come from what I live and where I want to go and when I’m done, it’s your turn and everyone gets a turn and now I know how everyone feels and what we want and where we want to go.

US vs THEM has to become US & US… which is just US period.

Fundamental change will not come from doing what’s been done before with a different twist and hope for an extremely different result. Change will come radical thoughts and a different course of action.

We must continue with the afterschool programs and the mentors and unification as change comes from self BUT

A fundamental shift in our approach also has to be attempted in order to make a bigger impact.

What does this mean in terms of actionable outcomes? I’m not exactly sure... But at the very least we know the problem or part of the problem…

I know what I do and I know what does work for myself and ‘my community’

I own a gym and I transform hundreds of lives… You walk into my gym you will see every race and every religion and everyone gets along amazingly.

It’s not a black gym or a white gym or a Jewish gym – it’s more of a ‘I’m going to change my life’ kind of gym and that has no color, no height, no weight, no culture barriers to entry

WHY?

Because our common interest of wanting to change our live exceeds the color of my skin and head of hair I possess.

These are semantics that are overlooked in order to work together to change my life and yours at the same time.

When parents bring their kids to the gym; the black kids play the same games as the Spanish kids and the white kids

WHY?

Because mommy and daddy are working out and trying to bring positive change their life and we get to see the Revline trainer’s

Nelson NOT The Asian trainer

Brittany NOT The White trainer

Corey NOT The Trinidadian trainer

They just see trainers

The one thing I do know; as many black (and even non-black) citizens that showed up last night wanting a change and wanting to break down the barriers, there are white cops and white citizens that want to do the same.

How about we start by finding them and uniting all of us and take it from there? Let’s find common interest in breaking down barriers, not changing one’s mind but finding people who want change of all races and ethnicities and giving all of us an equal platform.

Is this the solution? Maybe, maybe not but it’s A solution worth exploring.