As I write this, all over the world people are protesting police brutality towards black people. There’s been protests in several countries and the media has been flooded with posts about #blacklivesmatter and images of the protests visible all over the world. I’m a black woman, native of Curaçao, a beautiful island in the Caribbean. But for the past few years I’ve been living in the Netherlands and unfortunately, I’ve also been on the receiving end of racism and micro-aggressions from white people. Trying to explain how it feels left me exhausted and frustrated. My feelings were constantly seen as overreacting. Racist expressions and micro-aggressions were labelled as jokes by those unwilling to admit the truth. I was seen as unable to understand their ‘jokes’. According to some, I was too serious and needed to loosen up.
Just like me, many black people and people of color all over the world have been enduring racism for as long as they can remember. But now, it seems like there might be a glimpse of hope. A hopeful future where our rights will be respected, and we are no longer treated like second class citizens. That we are no longer discriminated against. Off course transition won’t happen overnight. It’s a process. A process that’s been going on for a long time, but we can only hope that the events of the past few weeks and days might just speed up the process.
As the fight against police brutality towards black people continues, as we continue to assert that black lives matter and as we continue to adjust to the pandemic and prepare for a “new normal” following the COVID-19 crisis, let love for one another be our guiding force. Times like this underline how important it is for us to learn once and for all about the importance of extending our ability to love beyond our family and friends. We’ve been conditioned to only care about those that are close to us or those that we share similarities with. But that doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it never has. We need to learn to love the many. Because loving the few only leads to pain and destruction.
Let us work on our hearts. Let love for our fellow human beings become the new normal. I say human beings, because we shouldn’t limit our love to only those with whom we share the same skin color, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality or citizenship. Look at the history of mankind and we’ll see that these divisions have never worked in our favor. On the contrary, these labels have been the seeds of several wars, injustices, and bloodshed. Loving only those that share the same label as you has only created a world that is far from united. A world consisting out of oppressors and those oppressed. We’ve waited long enough. The time for change is now!