On my 25th of 2020, it seemed as though the world stopped for one moment. The death of George Floyd sent shockwaves throughout not only the United States of America but the world as a whole. Floyd’s death would lead to riots throughout the nations, with people, politicians, and business leaders demanding action. Well, here we are, a year later, and nothing has changed. Racism still exists, African Americans still see no actual progress, and we keep falling for the same symbolism.
I remember when the mass protests and riots started. You kept hearing people say that it feels different this time. This will be the moment that changes the course of history for Black people. Meanwhile, I choose to live in a world of common sense and reality. From the moment the video of George Floyd’s death, I knew nothing would change. We have seen this time and time again. An unjust act on African Americans occurs, Black people, following the marching orders of unqualified leaders, take to the streets, and then, the hype dies down. The cycle always continues.
There are a couple of reasons why it felt different. With the mass shutdowns throughout the country, not many people were working, nor did they have any distractions. Therefore, more people participated in the protest. With the economy struggling, more people decided to take advantage of the riots and proceed to loot. The looting and violence were never about George Floyd. It was about bored and angry people who saw the perfect opportunity to take advantage of. Without Coivid-19, there would not have been such a giant magnifying glass on Floyd’s death.
So let’s fast forward now. In the wake of George Floyd, politicians and corporations alike demanded action. They spoon-fed us generic statements and told us now is the time to change the African American community. But as always, it was nothing more than symbolic messaging. The go-to move for all of these corporations has been to hiring Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs), hoping that this could break down some of the racial barriers in corporate America. However, this has not been working. In fact, the turnover rate for these diversity positions is also high. Essentially, these businesses are paying people six figures to serve as a tool to claim they’re trying. We see it time and time again lately. There are very few real solutions. For every initiative that includes giving Black People capital, another hundred are about giving us the same song and dance. We do not need to know how diverse your business is. We need to learn financial literacy and asset diversification.
That brings me to the Biden administration. Biden and other Black leaders allowed Donald Trump to be the fall guy for racism throughout the election cycle. They made it seemed as though racism was at its height when Trump was in office, and once Biden gets in, all will be saved. The most sickening part is that Black people fell for it hook line and sinker. Once again, we have allowed the Democratic party to retain our vote with nothing in return. I am not talking about a stimulus check. I’m talking about actual legislation for African Americans. There hasn’t even been a police reform bill passed as promised. Truth be told, I’m a little glad that people are looking foolish right now. I can only hope people now realize no one is coming to save us. Racism and police brutality are two things that get passed around from president to president. Nothing gets done. Let’s not forget Travon Martin and Malcolm Brown happened during the Obama administration.
We must never forget, representation is not liberation. I don’t care how diverse the room is. It won’t matter if the will to do what’s right is absent. Over the past year, we have gotten black screens, political nominations, “pledges” to decrease the racial wealth gap, and other forms of symbolism. For a shift to take place, two things must happen. First, these businesses and the government have got to stop trying to out woke each other and bring forth practical solutions. Secondly, African Americans must stop accepting any small token as a significant contribution. I don’t know who needs to hear this but, A Black superman will not lead to Black wealth.
I can only hope that Black people start utilizing their power and organize with a plan to the table. I can only hope we stop allowing small gestures to have so much influence over us. But for now, we’ll keep going to pointless marches, keep voting blindly, and we’ll keep looking elsewhere for our savior instead of looking in the mirror.