I decided I can no longer stay silent.
I have to say something about the HATE I am seeing as my wife and I try to raise a young daughter who we want to make sure she knows that racism is wrong.
Judging someone by the colour of their skin is wrong.
As a black father and husband, I have faced racism as a student, as an athlete, as a customer, and as someone looking for a job.
But I want to use those experiences… as an example of how empty that hate can be, and how hurtful it is.
I call it empty hate because there is no reason for it. Judging someone by the colour of their skin is empty because it causes people to feel empty like their worth is somehow less than someone who is white.
I know I am not alone feeling something needs to be done. If you look at the melting pot of races gathering to protest racism, you can see the time is now to keep up the fight for the right reasons and fight for equality.
In 2008, before he was elected the first Black President of the United States of America, Barack Obama said “We may not look the same and may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction.”
There is no immediate solution, but to me the solution starts within all of us moving in the direction of demanding equality.
We all must agree that racism is wrong.
You know, I didn’t know much about my ancestors’ slavery story until May 2019. My wife, Erica, and I visited the Cape Coast Slave Castle in Ghana where my ancestors were held and tortured for more than 400 years. If you were strong enough to survive the torture, you got shipped to America to work for a white slave master.
In the same 2008 speech, Barack Obama said he “believes deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together. Unless we perfect our union by understanding that we have different stories, but we hold common hopes.”
Hope is a great word, but it needs to be turned into peaceful action. It gave me goosebumps to see the peaceful protestors joining together for the common purpose of equality for everyone.
I am with those peaceful protestors. To them, I say keep protesting, keep the conversation going, but don’t hate. Don’t become the oppressor and don’t let this divide us. I urge everyone to #PRAY for each other, care for each other, and have open and honest conversations. We must always strive to be better.
We must also remember that no one is any less valuable of a person, simply for the colour of their skin. We all have so much to give, we all have so much to offer.
It’s more valuable when we all support each other, regardless of race. You may never know what it feels like to be black, white, Latino or Asian, but you know the difference between right and wrong.
The solution starts with us and that’s why I am speaking out.
In unity there is strength.
If we don’t call out racism, we are allowing it to continue. When we hear or see intolerance, discrimination and racism we need to call it out.
I will call it out because we need to do better. Our next-generation needs to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Written by Ghana’s First skeleton Olympian, Akwasi Frimpong on June 7, 2020.