As a human being, it is difficult to see how George Floyd (a Black American man, a victim of racism) was killed by a white officer in Minneapolis, USA.
This opinion is simply based on Being Human. I acknowledge that racism exists in America. As a black Canadian, racism exists here in Canada too. If you ask people of color or other minorities, they will tell you tonnes of examples of racist incidents they have experienced. Racism comes in many forms, including verbal and nonverbal actions; some are obvious; others are subtle. Racism occurs when there is unfair treatment of a person or persons based on their skin color. Racism mostly comes in the form of micro-aggressions, such as assumptions of criminality, suspicion, and lack of intelligence of the victim, all of which I suspect happened in George Floyd’s event.
Now what? We have made progress in admitting that racism exists against black people in this world. Still, color-blind approaches are not working anymore. Pain experienced among black people is enormous historically and continues to suffer. This is a human rights issue. It is a pandemic too. If racism is not addressed in more powerful ways, it will continue to kill people. Living free of racism is a social determinant of health needed to be achieved in our society today.
Solutions: The current systems are not working for black people today. Structural racism needs to be addressed. Let’s not just arrest culprits of racism, but we should focus on changing the whole system. Individualistic approaches are not working anymore. To start with, I believe we must increase the representation of racial minorities in leadership positions in all sectors, especially in the public sector. For example, in Canada, the Employment Equity Program is not working, and thus it should be examined for its effectiveness to whether it is yielding its intended goals.
Additionally, we must change how police patrol and arrest people. Body cameras must be implemented by all police and turned on every time an arrest is done and should be stored as a public property. In case complaints are made on how the person was arrested, body camera videos should be examined. No person should be treated as above the law.
Do not worry or feel sad all the time. Be happy. The benefit of happiness is good health. The outcome of sadness and/or worries is poor wellbeing. Other people cannot give you real happiness. Do not rely on them entirely as a source of happiness. True happiness comes from within you—it is already in you.
If you are happy with yourself, others are likely to trust you. Also, when you are happy with other people, they would want to spend more time with you; and they would want you to succeed in life, as well.
Anyway, why would you want to be unhappy with others?
Most people do not want to be surrounded by people who are unhappy all the time. Some people call this unhappiness a “bad/negative energy.” That is because being unhappy has a negative outcome; but being happy has a positive result on the person and others.
If a bad experience happens in your life, make an effort to learn something from the experience and choose to be happy. Train your mind to focus on the positive aspects of things by simply telling yourself, for example:
“I choose to be happy; I refuse to be sad; I have the power to change my feelings.”
My condolences, prayers and thoughts go to all people suffering (indirectly and/or directly) from the losses of people in Canada and beyond. It is unfortunate what is happening in our world today. We will come together in these tragedies. We pray to get out of these tragedies, through kindness, compassion and soft healing, we find essence of life.
We find light in the darkness
We find essence of life in the ocean
We find essence of life in the universe
We find essence of life in the wildness
We find essence of life in the mountains
We find essence of life in the underground
My heart cries for life and sends positive energy to everyone affected by the losses of wonderful and beautiful people with full of life.
We can call some thing(s) the unfortunate or tragedy. Sometimes, these unfortunates bring people closer to humanity, in comforting one another and helping others going through hard times. For example, when I talked to my colleague who survived cancer, I sensed a deep sense of humanity in her, as well as love and kindness in her words and approach about life. “Life is too short. Stop whining and look at the positive side. I used to think negative most of the times. I have moved on. I cannot allow one minute of my life to be miserable or wasted. I do what I can every time, and I don’t worry about what I didn’t do or finish,” she said.
What legacy do you want to leave on earth? This is a helpful question to ask yourself when you wonder about your purpose in life. Some people’s legacy is to care for children and make sure they have a better life. Others’ purpose is to take care of the environment so that it is more livable and environmentally friendly. As long as you are contributing to the betterment of humanity, you have a good legacy. When you feel lost in life, help others. Sometimes we find ourselves in others—through interaction and realization of others’ needs and wants.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in this world, and we come and go in life. Thus, you want to leave a good footprint on earth. You don’t have to be a famous or popular person or a celebrity to make a contribution to the world. Any of those social statuses can help in making things happen, but any other person should not wait until you have such a status to make a better change in your life. An ordinary person can make a genuine contribution to humanity in simple ways as well.
When you share things you have with other people, you become true to humanity. When you extend your talents and gifts to others, you make the world better than before. Helping others by giving things to those who don’t have is being true to the essence of humanity. Give what you can to the poor, marginalized and you would be blessed with the gifts of giving: satisfaction and love. Human life cannot be measured by money. We can use our money to extend true humanity, instead of limiting it.
It is important to think out of the box. We humans have many talents. Our job is to realize those talents and put them to action. Regular routine is a great thing to have, however, sometimes a set routine may hamper one’s thinking from endless possibilities out there. If you can have some time to think about such possibilities: what you are good at; what talents/gifts you have; you are on the right track to exercise your full humanity. First, the key is to have that realization.
Love is a cushion that prevents us from breaking down in life. There are many hardships in life. We all go through them, and having received love (from loved ones: parents, spouses and/or children) enables us to deal and face challenges without desertion. Some people may think of hardships us obstacles only, but hardships can teach us more things than “very-good times,” and it is unrealistic to have all very-well experiences.
Love yourself first before you love others. This message is similar to a common-flight crew’s instruction: “putting an oxygen mask before putting it on others,” even if, “the others” happened to be your loved one, your child, for instance. Once you are able to love yourself, you would be able to love other people. The good news is that we all have an ability to love. We all came from nature, our mothers’ wombs, which have an abundance of warmth, love, caring and protection. Nature is loving, powerful and has infinity of liveliness.
Having said that, when you love others, do not expect them to love you back. Instead, you should be optimistic about your life, and extend positive energy to others. When other people sense a positive energy and attitude from you; they would possibly reflect back positive energy to you. When you expect things from people, you limit positive energy towards you. Positive energy does not need instructions to come to you. It is already there (in the world); all you need is to be open, flexible and be positive/and permissible and ready to accept the world as is.
Life is too short. Let’s imagine that you are going to live 100 years on earth; that means if you are 40 years old, you are left with 60 years—only if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and also lucky. Those 60 years may sound like they are a lot, but if you think deeper about it, those years would fly like a bird, before you know it. The point is: Life is too short to focus on the bad. Focus on the good.
Tobias Mwandala, MSW, RSW
Tobias believes that every human being has worth, value, and dignity. No person has more or less value than another. Tobias' personal and educational experiences in social work and psychology have strengthened his values in diversity and equality for all.