Pandemics, race riots, and a collapsed economy… it's 2020 and the global village that we call earth is in a pretty bad state!
Humanity really seems to have de-railed itself in so many ways this time.
I thought a lot about whether or not I should write a blog post sharing my honest views on these subject matters because as an uneducated, white privileged male expat based in Hong Kong I feel like I’m toeing the line of being branded a racist or a people pleaser with an idiotic opinion (you might think I’m both!?).
Hong Kong has been the centre of mass anti-government and pro-democracy protests for the last year and from my observations, regardless of what they believe, most people will only say what they think is politically acceptable. Historically politics and religion are two subjects that many agree to disagree on.
I presume that many might disagree with what I say here, because I'm a privileged white guy.
So, why do I bring it up? I'm not looking to upset anyone, only I think everyone should be honest and at times like these to voice their opinions, no matter the colour of their skin. If we don’t speak THE TRUTH (or how we see it) then we are also a part of the problem, only by coming together and in communicating can we begin to attempt to solve these problems.
In Blogging on the subject matters I maybe exposing my own ignorant beliefs and biases, only I think putting my cards on the table on such controversial matters is a step in the right direction, no matter whom I may offend.
If anything I say is bias or racist, then maybe unconsciously it is? It’s also an opportunity for me to become better educated. Where I grew up in the South Wales valleys, racism and prejudice is normal, and of course such norms cannot be justified.
My whole life I have laughed at and shared inappropriate jokes of all kinds, homophobic, racist and sexist jokes, because I see the humour in such ignorant beliefs. I have never actually felt like I’m a racist, I don’t wake up thinking about how much I hate black people or jewish, although in a sporting context I am prejudice against the English!
On refection of the current situation, prejudice or racism is no joke, it’s an injustice and causes harm to society. Me not sharing such jokes will be a sign of progress and only in honest reflection can we all begin to attempt to re-structure the chaos and disorder that’s going on all over the world right now.
I recently had a conversation with my 14 years old son who lives in the UK, and asked him how he perceives what is going on, regarding the BLM protests, and does the situation effect him? How is it being perceived amongst his peers?
He told me that it’s all strange and crazy, and he doesn’t really understand it at all (much like the rest of the world!)
He spoke of being horrified by the video footage of the killing of George Floyd by the police and in the UK it’s currently “trending” to be black or to be a supporter of the BLM protests. He also described as a ‘trend’ amongst teens to change your WhatsApp profile to a black screen, in order to show your support for the BLM movement, and if you don’t then you run the risk of being labelled a racist. It must be so strange and confusing to be a teenager at this time.
Moving forward, for better or worse here are my updated thoughts on the BLM movement the race riots and Police misconduct. Providing that you read on, you have time to sharpen your knife or consider my perspective in this post. (I did do some research before writing).
I believe there is a distortion in the media and their portrayal of the situation, especially in the use of social media. All media nowadays is being served as to fuel the fire and amplify all the problems we are facing!
RACE RIOTS, RACISM & THE POLICE
What’s happening in the US with the race riots is scary, more shocking is the unrest and riots as a response. The video and death of George Floyd was terrible and his death is a tragedy, the video is horrific.
Racism is real and there is no doubt that it effects millions of people world wide, the problem is that racism is not just a socially created problem like many people claim. If it was only a social construct, then we could have a social answer to solving these problems.
Yes, the world has a history of racism, it's institutionalised and that's a fact and for sure there are social and economic changes that need to be made to offer equal education and opportunity to all races and genders for that matter.
It’s true that historically black people were trafficked as slaves, and as a result the modern day inequality has been locked into racist people and policies. The evil and injustices of the past cannot be changed, but we can begin to make changes in the present.
Regarding the BLM movement and the killing of George Floyd here are some statistics, because facts don’t lie:
Statistics show that MORE WHITE MEN ARE KILLED BY THE POLICE THAN BLACK PEOPLE.
That doesn’t mean to say that racism does not exist because clearly it does across all ethnicities.
President Trump referred to COVID-19 as the 'China virus’ Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide.
The result was worldwide racism aimed at Chinese people globally.
Truthfully we don’t have to look too hard to see problems of inequality, despair and racism in any of our communities and it’s not only against blacks.
Undoubtably, changes need to be made within the authorities from the top down in regards to the law, racism, police misconduct and reform.
George Floyd, a black man was wrongfully murdered by the police and those responsible should be held accountable and he died because of police negligence, killed by police that have insufficient training. From the perspective of a former professional martial artist that worked as a doorman for almost a decade, I can tell you that most police officers worldwide do not know what they are doing, because they don't have the training. Even more problematic is that in the US they also carry guns!
I have a family member that works in the UK police force and I genuinely have safety concerns on the job because their lack of training.
It’s easy to see how the media blamed this death on racism, when it’s most probably not. BLM human rights movement and the African American community who campaign against systematic racism towards black people have taken this opportunity to be heard. We don’t have to look too hard to see problems of inequality, despair and racism in any of our communities and it’s not only against blacks. Undoubtably, changes need to be made within the authorities from the top down in regards to the law, racism, police misconduct and reform.
Whatever your skin colour we all share over 99% of our genetic material with one another, and there is more a variation between individuals than ethnic groups. However, the social concept of race still shapes our human experiences, and influences our beliefs and behaviours towards one another. On a large scale both ethnic and racial constructs effect everything from education, healthcare to job opportunities.
Even here in Hong Kong racist laws exist, a typical example of which is the HK immigration laws that state that if an expat resident in Hong Kong is employed and does business here for 7 years or more then he or she is eligible for permanent residency. This does not apply to people who work as helpers who are from the Philippines, Indonesia or similar countries, they are are not entitled to apply for permanent HKID.
Racism and prejudice is a part of being human and it appears everywhere. We channel it in sport, in the workplace and where we can as a whole, we typically have a us vs them mentality.
None of us choose the colour of our skin, as much as we don’t choose what year we were born, or our parents or what society or culture we are born into. I don’t consider myself to be racist and I do believe in equal opportunity, only I'm not sure how much understanding everyone has about the BLM movement as much any other protest or movement that takes place be it about Race, Equality, LGBT or Pro-Democracy.
Every protest or movement has different terms for the same fundamental view, people want change. In the case of BLM movement we can look to change laws that suppress people based on ethnicity, and this could be considered moral progress and understanding to human rights.
Maybe I’m privileged, I do care about other people. I come from a working class background myself and I know what it’s like to be desperate, poor and uneducated.
The problem with any protest is when the people protesting lose sight of what they are protesting for, and they become violent. You cannot justify destroying property, robbing or attacking the police or damaging war memorials.
I cannot see a solution to any of the problems mentioned, other than a need for change.
A change in the way the media reports, represents and shares information.
A change in the laws and policies that oppress.
A reform of the police force, for certain some military and martial arts training (for their safety more than the public!).
Racism cannot be justified, neither can ignorance. I believe in respecting moral ethics and cultural values, and whatever your skin colour you have to respect the laws of the land you live in.
I understand the BLM movement against racial injustice, yet I do not agree with the destruction of historical monuments and looting. They are supposed to be protesting for a better future not waging a war against the past. Are we also going to pull down the Pyramids in Egypt because they were built by slaves? We have to draw the line somewhere.
What no one wants, is a breakdown of law an order because of protestors vandalising historical monuments.
It makes sense to protest against racist policies created by our ancestors and to vote to make changes. We also have to remember that it’s also thanks to our ancestors polices that we have the good in society that we have today.
In the UK we now have white men, ex-military, far right and organised football hooligans coming out in numbers claiming to prevent and protect any vandalism against statues and war memorials in response to vandalism by BLM protestors.
These protestors are also getting involved with violent clashes with the police.
Because of the media, there is a risk of there being a race war.
My point of view could have gone off in many directions if I included more abstract criteria.
The struggle is real right now in so many ways and we cannot or should not blame the past when trying to fix the present, the best response to all this is to look to reform where we can. To rebuild trust, unity and respect. The problem is no one wants to say anything uncomfortable like “all lives matter” because that is also seen as racist.
People have to come together regardless of race and vote. People should vote for change based on the values and principles that we all agree upon to create fairness and equal opportunity moving forward and build on the progress of the past, now is our opportunity to restore law and order and create a better future for everyone.
Whatever the colour of your skin ALL LIVES MATTER EQUALLY and we need law and order to make it that way.
Credit for blog title and quote "ALL LIVES MATTER EQUALLY" goes to Eloise Bolitho and her friends.
Thanks to Oscar Reed for the song suggestion: https://youtu.be/43gm3CJePn0