I have thought long and deep about how I feel and what I would say to our community about current events—most notably the tragic death of George Floyd.
To begin with, I am angered, saddened, and frustrated. I feel this way every time a person is treated differently because of the color of their skin; because I know that when instances of blatant racism make the light of day, countless similar events do not.
As a black man, I have personally experienced prejudice for the color of my skin throughout my life. And truthfully, I am not sure which aspect of racism has bothered me more…
The blatant and frequent occurrence during my childhood of being called a nigger more times than I can count, or the numerous times in my teen and adult life that I have been engaged by police, and even handcuffed and detained because I fit the description of “African American Male.”
Or, the subtler racism that comes from strangers, acquaintances, and even well-meaning friends who say things like: “You don't act black,” “You're not really that black” or, “You are so well-spoken!” As if to suggest that I possess some fortunate traits and characteristics that lessen my blackness. As if the darker color of my skin is a disorder.
Unless you have personally experienced being treated differently solely for the color of your skin, you don't know. So while you can have empathy, while you can connect with your heart with the best of intentions to try and understand, to think to yourself in any way that you actually get it, you would be fooling yourself.
Right now, you likely identify with one of the following groups…
You are black, and you are suffering, angered, frustrated, and grieving as I am.
You are not black, and you are outraged, caring, and empathetic to anyone being treated poorly.
You are not black, but you are indifferent. It doesn't directly impact you, and so you are not sure what to think, or how much thought you even want to give it.
You, for reasons of adopted or chosen belief systems, feel that black people are lesser people. You may or may not even know why you feel this way. You may not say it openly, you may not act upon it in any way, but you have internal thoughts like… I don't want my son or daughter to marry a black person.
You fear black people. You don't want to harm them directly, but don't trust them and generally think that they are different and place a lower value on their life (e.g., Amy Cooper).
At the far end of the spectrum…
You hate anyone of color, and would gladly see the world rid of all of them.
The next time you are in a crowded mall of people, look around. I assure you that there is a good chance that all of the groups that I just mentioned are represented.
It is not a fun conversation to have, but it is the reality. We should begin to speak about it openly if we have any desire for change.
It's a challenging conversation because it involves belief systems. Most beliefs are adopted, and we may not be conscious of where we got them or why we have them.
For society to arrive at a new way of thinking and being, we must have an open and honest dialog about where we are and how we got here if we are to grow beyond the illusion of difference.
It should be pretty clear that I stand for equality, and therefore WE as a company at Social Media Pro stand for equality.
It is time for change. We are in support of that change, and that support is reflected in the way that we run our business.
Your invitation to be a part of our community is based on the condition that you stand in support of, and value equality for all people, as we do.
Jesse Jameson, CEO
Co-Founder Social Media Pro®