Some time ago (depending on when you read this), I came across a viral
tweet, claiming to highlight yet-another-incidence-of-pointless-racism.
As would almost anyone, I quickly shared it to my followers, but,
something didn't feel right to me.
I thank God for that check-in-the-spirit.
Something wasn't right indeed.
These three (was it three?) wise
men were lying. Bravo! Cue massive eye-roll.
You'd think a simple backlash would suffice, right? Just call them out
on their nonsense, let the world know it's a false alarm, and move on,
Yeah right. This is the real world. There are people who
make it their business
to spread propaganda
along the lines of "racism isn't real", "black people are making it up",
and "blacks are the real racists!"
So it should come as no surprise, then, that just few days later, when
I was searching Youtube for something to listen to while I work, I came
across a number of videos by the usual subjects (I won't name them,
they need no further promotion), referencing "The Chipotle Incident"
with titles along the lines of
'Racist' Incident Exposed As False!"
"No big deal!"
, I hear you saying. Except these people have a
following, and a massive following at that. Individually, many of them
have follower counts in the hundreds of thousands. Some in the millions.
Combined, that's a lot of people.
Now, I'm not "worried" per se, in my part of the world, I have it pretty
easy. I mean, after all, I live in a majority black country. I can go
(almost) anywhere in my country and not have the slightest thought or
fear of racism. Plus, in my worldview as a Christian, I know that some
day, everything will "be just fine"
, because "God will sort it out"
And you know what? I could leave it right there. I know there are many
people who would prefer that I do. But I won't.
The reality is that incidents like these are not happening in isolation.
Like a nuclear reactor melting down in the middle of the pacific
(remember that?), every incident has a fallout of much greater
consequence. This is true whether it goes viral or not. Every time you
lie on someone to escape a situation of your own making, it has a
fallout of proportions you cannot begin to imagine. Your single act of
wrong can stay with someone else for life. It certainly stays with you,
unless you seek redemption.
How much more then, when the such an incident is played out on the
What started as a few sillyphants trying to get away
with a 'dine and dash' evolved into a battlefield, and what happened
somewhere in a single Chipotle in somewhere in the US, has reached all
the way to me - thousands of miles away on a tiny island. Imagine that
scope. Now think what that does when it reaches the eyes, ears and minds
of people who've never seen/interacted with black people in real life.
Worse yet, think what that does in the minds of people who have, but
were on the fence about their racism and just looking for an excuse to
dive in. Congratulations, professor. You've just given them all the
reason they need to go ahead and be full on racist.
Oh and one more thing... for anyone still wondering why I should
care when I'm not even American
Thanks to the power of the internet, television, etc, propaganda
intended for an American or maybe European/Australian/Canadian/New Zealander(?)
audience is heard loud and clear right here in my lovely slice of
paradise. Yes, that's right. Even here in beautiful, beautiful Barbados,
there are people soaking up the nonsense of Faux News and the like.
Imagine the conversations I've had with people who refuse to accept
reality and admit that they've been swallowing and believing in lies.
Yes, the seed has been planted, and with the soil of a colonial "past"
to grow in, it's quietly reaching for the sun. I've already seen the
signs of agitation, and it's disconcerting.
Do I think we'll ever have to deal with the level of open hatred that's
been sweeping the world in recent years? Maybe not. But it would be nice
if I didn't even have to consider it a possibility.
But even if that day never comes, I have family in the "land of the
free". I have family who were a part of the "Windrush Generation" in
Britain. I have family in Canada and other parts of the world were we
aren't the majority, and where the mold of hatred is spreading. So for
me, this is about more than being a watchman on the wall and calling
out for the approaching wolf. People close to me could be bitten too.
Anyway, let me end my rant. This soapbox is hard to stand on.