Brexit and the BET Awards: When the Real and Magic Fight Back

a year ago

The world buzzing with talk of xenophobia and racism, whether it's Brexit or actor Jesse Williams' speech at the BET Awards. But it's also is a great time for taking back control when it comes to your life and your power to not just to survive, but to thrive.

Image: By Applause2.0 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Just last week, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. In the days that followed, the nation has experienced an extreme uprise is racist incidents and hate crimes. Racism and xenophobia are not new in Great Britain. They have existed for as long as the country itself. What is scary and new is that before the #Brexit vote, those who were racist and xenophobic often did not feel free to spew their hatred out in public spaces. However, in just the few days since the vote was taken, the country has experienced an extreme rise in hate crimes. Brits of Muslim, Polish and Chinese descent are being surrounded by people telling them that the nation has voted and they must leave. Reports of violence, threats and hate speech are on the rise. It is incredible to read how quickly what we in the U.S. thought of as stiff and proper British people have become hate filled and openly xenophobic.

At the same time, some in the United States continue to complain that Donald Trump rose to prominence in the Republican party on the back of racism and xenophobia. There is some hope in the United States because many people are determined and are taking back control of what is right in America and are fighting back. Once upon a time, racist attacks, protests and activities would happen without blacks being able to fight and stand up for themselves. those days are gone. Blacks in America are determined in the efforts at taking back control of their lives and the great American dream. They want to see the dream of the late Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King about equality and equity become a reality in the United States.

At the same time, all is not hopeless. Actor and activist Jesse Williams received 2016 BET Humanitarian Award and the words of his acceptance speech filled many people with a desire to take back control of their lives from racist xenophobes. Six statements in his acceptance speech were particularly calls for people to take action now and work towards ending unfair treatment and racism against blacks in America.

The 6 Best Quotes From Jesse Williams' BET Speech

"A system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do."

It has often been said that all that is necessary for evil to win is for good men to do nothing. This statement is as relevant today as it was when it was first uttered. There have been injustices committed in the world since the world began. The thing that has always stopped the injustice and made things right is that people stopped sitting back and letting the evil happen. Changes happened when people began taking back control and standing up for what was right. In the United States, if we stand up against people and systems who seek to divide us, keep us poor and destroy us, these people and systems will not prevail.

"I don't want to hear any more about how far we've come when paid public servants can pull a drive by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then go home to make a sandwich."

When police do not value the lives of citizens, all citizens they hurt all of us. A nation is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable of its citizens. When children can be killed, manhandled, thrown to the grown, abused and even killed by the police who are supposed to protect and serve them, the system is broken and things need to be changed. Instead of looking for excuses and reasons why it is okay for police to kill our children, we must train our police to look for reasons and ways to keep our children alive.

"The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander, that is not our job."

People who are killed, abused and brutalized have a job. That job is to stay alive so they can live to fight another day. It is not their job to comfort and aid people watching them be abused and brutalized. If you are a bystander and see people of color being abused by police and others in power, you must do something. You cannot sit and wait for the brutalized to come comfort you and make you feel better about the brutalization. Instead of waiting for that to happen, step up and help.

"If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression."
Often people watch those who fight against racism and complain about their protests. I have heard people complain that those who fight against racism are too loud, too violent, too pushy or too impatient. If you are a person who makes those complaints, ask yourself if you have been equally upset about racism and the brutalization of blacks in the United States. If you have not complained about racism, your complaints about those fighting against racism ring hollow, shallow and not worth listening to.

"If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then don't make suggestions to those who do, sit down."

One of the great things about the United States is that people have freedom of speech. At the same time, it is important to remember that freedom of speech is not without cost. So while those who are uninterested in equal rights in America have a right to talk about it all they want, they should shut up. Those who don't care about equal rights for blacks don't need to tell those who do what to do or how to act. Instead, they should go sit down and leave the discussion for those who have an interest, those who care.

"Just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real."

The world is full of people who love black culture - the food, the music, the fashion. There is nothing wrong with that. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind the fact that black culture is a real thing, it is not a costume or a toy to be pulled out, played with and disrespected at will. Black people are magic and we are real. We are human beings. We are people and our humanity and worth cannot be denied.

I have always believed that you must stand up and fight for your beliefs. A woman who stands for nothing, will fall for anything. This means that if equality and equity among all people is something you believe in, you must prove it by taking back control of what is right and wrong. You must stand up and say you will not support racism. You must stand up and say you will not support policies and procedures that deny equal opportunity and equity to all people. It is not easy to stand up and fight for what is right. It is not easy to stand against friends, neighbors and family members who believe that equality and equity should not be guaranteed to all citizens. But you must do it.

Today is the best day for taking back control from people who seek to divide and conquer those who fight for what is right. Today is the best day for taking back control from racists and xenophobes who want to oppress people simply because of their race. Racism is wrong, period. If you are a person who believes in doing the right thing then you must realize this is not a fight for everyone else. The fight against racism and xenophobia is everyone's fight. It is your fight.

Watch Jesse Williams' Speech on BET
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