By Santura Pegram
Periodically, the philosophical side of me has often wondered how everyday life must’ve been for most people over one hundred, two hundred or even the years prior to that for those here in the U.S. and for countless others throughout the world. Sadly, what has also found its way into such thoughts is how life has certainly been within the last 50-years, specifically for people of color, who all too often have been (and continue to be) unwisely underestimated, undervalued and taken for granted in far too many instances.
Interestingly, race relations is an age-old controversial topic most people who possess prejudicial thoughts prefer to avoid at all costs, especially those who have and continue to believe their life has prospered from exerting it over other less influential ethnic groups/individuals. It has remained the #1 reason (and one that has revealed our ‘shallowness’ as human beings) to keep people divided…followed closely by politics. The fact is race relations remains a topic which needs to be addressed openly and honestly if we ever expect to arrive at logical points of mutual understanding and agreement – personally and professionally.
While there are many examples where distinct groups of people – none more impacted than Native Americans and Blacks – who have undeniably been…and continue to be…”slighted” in receiving their full basic human-civil rights, no other topic is as relevant to achieving those primary expectations besides economic empowerment (through business). Unfortunately, the disappointing and destructive cancer of the mind and heart known as racism has managed to do its worst damage in this arena with a resurgence of plantation-oriented spokesmen like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Ralph Northam, Brian Kemp and an army of other short-sighted, yet equally like-minded figures who truly think/feel the same as such embarrassing public characters, although who instead prefer to maintain a sense of quasi-anonymity by methodically operating under the radar and out of view of public opinion through their haughty positions in corporate America, law enforcement-prosecutor’s offices-court systems, academia, and other sectors. Such figures have cleverly traded in their white hoods, sheets and a rope for expensive designer suits, uniforms with a badge and a gun or black robes and a gavel.
However, what most such people fail to comprehend is how their disregard for other people merely because they have a different skin complexion, speak a different dialect, embrace a different culture or religion has continued to be nothing more than a trivial, unnecessary hindrance to both sides – White and Black – in numerous ways. It ceases to amaze me how people can muster up the ability to drive across town on most Sundays of each month to attend church services (where they’re often accompanied by several others of the same complexion of course) as they’re praising a God they claim to believe in so much and long to abide by his saintly written words. Yet, five minutes after church service is dismissed they’re right back to thinking diabolical by exhibiting everything that goes against what God would expect of them. Worse yet, on any given day of any week only God knows how many unbelievable opportunities such discriminatory thinkers have blown (and even prohibited) due to their unwillingness to discuss potential possibilities with other people simply because they allow(ed) “color” (and I’m not talking about green) to get in the way. How foolish! Any forward-thinking person cannot help but cringe every time they think of how many unforeseen opportunities have been missed as a result of someone cutting off their nose to spite their face over such pessimism.
In that same context, I’ve never known of a human being of any color who adamantly refused to accept an organ transplant or blood transfusion from someone of another ethnic background if they or their loved one(s) faced a life or death situation in a hospital. If so, I’d have to admit such an individual would deserve for no one to attempt to save them from the fatal consequences of their ignorance because we all bleed red.
Whichever way you choose to view it, one cannot help but question how many unnecessary deaths could have been prevented – those due to malicious lynching’s, petty arguments in public, and those due to legalized processes involving court system’s utilizing the death penalty against those whose case wreaked of questionable, little or no legitimate proof? How many potential diseases or global health conditions could(‘ve) been cured by now if scientists and experts of every color were welcomed to be involved in vital conversations? How many lives could(‘ve) been transformed by now if people of every color and socioeconomic background were invited to have a decision-making seat at tables of discussion as it pertains to business, community empowerment, and more?
According to both the U.S. Census Bureau and The Brookings Institute (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/14/the-us-will-become-minority-white-in-2045-census-projects/), population projections confirm White Americans within the U.S. will become the new ‘minority’ population by 2045 – whether they like it or not. That’s a fast approaching twenty-five years from now. Facing such reality, more White Americans should be thinking “what can they do…NOW…to establish meaningful relationships with those who are destined to be in the majority soon to assure or improve the likelihood that people of color (Black Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans) will: (#1) embrace a society that includes non-Blacks & non-Hispanics/Latinos and, (#2) be receptive and compassionate towards a White-dominated society that has enjoyed an undeniable history of abuse and neglect against such people of color for over 500 years?”
Since economic empowerment is the foundation for survival of every ethnic group of people, such a monumental question can be answered if greed-natured White corporate and political leaders of today, and power-thirsty law enforcement figures who control police departments-prosecutor’s offices and courtrooms across the country promptly begin to make immediate changes to include non-Whites at every level of business, employment vacancies, and other economic-related opportunities. In 2020, “leveling the playing field” by taking a pivotal role in helping to empower socioeconomically disadvantaged and marginalized people is the new coolest trend, because people can accomplish a lot more together than apart. Not continuing to indulge in detrimental, Redneck-thinking ideologies that are cancerous to everyone. Otherwise, conditions will surely not feel so comfortable when the gradual tide begins to shift and those who once were in the majority unexpectedly find themselves and their brethren in real role reversal situations.
The reality of it is the world is big enough for people of every unique culture, age, gender and diverse interest to live in harmoniously – together. Being that we are in the 21st. century now, I’m just trying to figure out why so many people haven’t realized that yet and seemingly prefer to remain stuck in ignorant ways of the past as opposed to embracing what untapped possibilities lie ahead by exploring what could actually be mutually-lucrative opportunities to work, grow and coexist together?
* Santura Pegram is a rising freelance writer and business professional. A former aide-protégé to the “Political Matriarch of the State of Florida” – the Honorable M. Athalie Range – Santura writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international trade to politics.