Racial justice is not achieved overnight, we must resist seeing issues as trends and commit to long term work and self-education to build movements if we want to succeed, says Jash Shah
Race isn’t a cause of racism, ignorance is. Trends don’t dismantle ignorance, movements do.
The reason racial injustice is still prevalent in societies today is because the roots of racism run deep. They run as far back as the slave trade and colonisation. And many are ignorant to this fact.
Deep roots have led to ignorance being systemically embedded. This is the reason why many of our institutions that exist to serve and to protect us tend towards racist actions. An example of this is the police brutality seen in America.
Fighting for racial justice
That being said, this ignorance can be fought. It is fought with education, starting in schools, so that young people grow up to challenge systems. It is fought by raising awareness, campaigning and advocating for change. It is fought by movements of committed people.
Why does the problem of injustice persist?
The sad truth is problems like racism persist because of the way we deal with injustice in today’s society.
Let me take a moment to remind you of injustices that are still going on; lack of political freedom in Hong-Kong, the occupation and subjugation of Palestine, the violent impacts of Climate change, the refugee crisis, extreme poverty, humanitarian disaster in Syria and many more. However, injustices that are not #trending tend to lose our focus.
When will we realise moving from one injustice to another will not give us any justice? Instead we need to keep the conversation and action going and only stop when the problem has been solved.
Talking about the injustices of racism cannot afford to become just another trend.
Why are Trends are bad for us?
Trends only offer a short-term solution, without making any structural change. If you don’t agree look at some of the problems I listed above. These problems still exist. Where are the Instagram posts, conversations, donations, petitions? The trend goes, but the problem stays.
Instead when the media coverage goes, we must continue the fight. The trend may die out, but the problem will persist.
When an issue is trending, it diverts vital resources from other equally pressing global issues, and causes imbalances. For example right now donations are flooding into America, which is fantastic. But Minnesota freedom fund had to stop accepting donations. Whilst millions of refugees that don’t have access to food, water or sanitation struggle for resources? Just because the refugee problem stopped trending, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
My point is we must not forget about the long-term fight and all the other problems in the world. We need to stop bandwagoning from injustice to injustice, instead focus on long-term holistic strategies that focus on the systemic changes that are needed for a better world. If history has anything to teach us real justice comes from movements not trends.
How to build racial justice
Keep educating yourself and others. Continue raising awareness about injustices, especially those that are no longer in the main-stream media.
Campaign in any way possible to hold leaders accountable to ensure change happens, and don’t let up the pressure.
Commit to long-term action.
Many people will be wondering, how can we possibly fight all the injustice. The answer is simple; there are over 7 billion of us. Even if a fraction of us dedicate ourselves to one cause, the power of those voices will not be muted.
I welcome the current fight against racism but in the light of this we must not forget about all the other problems in the world and we must give each the attention it deserves. Additionally, we cannot let this fight or any other fight against injustice become a trend. Instead, we must turn each into a movement.
And remember movements are powered by mankind’s greatest weapon against injustice; education.
My name is Jash Shah; I am currently a student at the University of Southampton studying politics, Philosophy and Economics. I have volunteered for Restless Development in Nepal with the ICS program in addition I engage in campaign initiatives with Youth-stop Aids. Given my academic background and previous experiences I hope to work more in the development sector in-order too make a positive impact towards a sustainable equitable future.