COMMENTARY: The Life-Long Pandemic…Racism – By Ettie Rutherford

  By Ettie Rutherford – Contributing Columnist

Over the last few months people, the world over, have been seriously affected by the ravages of the coronavirus and its mind-boggling detriment to the lives of everyone, regardless of culture, age, education, or financial status.

Coincidentally, along with the effects of the virus, the world has also been forced to face the truth about the Black community’s lived experiences with racism

While we, in the Black community, are thankful to see people of all races acknowledging our life-long dilemma, it behoves us to remind everyone that, for   centuries, we have been struggling under the burdens of racism — a system that has eternally claimed Black lives, a virus for which apparently there is no vaccine.

From the beginning, the world has been fully aware of the degradation of racism and that thousands of us died on the slave ships, died in cotton fields, died on coffee and sugar plantations. The list goes on. The killing of Blacks has been rampant worldwide, long before policemen started to murder our unarmed sons.

So, I believe it is time for people of conscience to admit and take action, regarding the devastating reality of racism on our lives. I also must repeat that racism is not a Black problem. We did not initiate racism and we do not perpetrate racism.

In the meantime, as long as my three law-abiding sons and two grandsons still have to get anxious, when stopped by the police, or when the acquisition of guns are made easy for our young men to kill each other, I will continue to regard racism as the Black community’s ongoing virus that destroys Black lives — not only physically, but also socially, emotionally and spiritually.

As someone, who has written anti-racist programs for more than one educational institution, I know that we can bring about positive change, in small increments, if we stop covering the seriousness of racism by establishing diversity and equity policies, which do not focus on racism.

As the saying goes: “If you don’t name it, you can’t fix it”, because any educational institution or business establishment can boast that they have diversity, as is shown by the make-up of their staff of different colors and nationalities. However, that DOES NOT show that they have a policy for dealing with rampant racist practices among their staff.

Until there is evidence of radical changes to combat racism, as it continues to be the destruction of Blacks, I must, without hesitation or apology, join my Brothers and Sisters in reminding everyone that BLACK LIVES MATTER!

In Sisterhood!

Award-winning Ettie Rutherford, B.Ed, Dip.Ed, M.Ed, is an educator, life coach, consultant and author of “Why Perch Like A Chick When You Can Soar Like An Eagle?”. An accomplished public speaker, Ettie is the Founder and CEO of Women Are Worthy, which provides step-by-step strategies for women to achieve their goals, with a minimum amount of stress. 

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  • kamtanblog  On 10/18/2020 at 1:33 am

    Absolutely disagree !
    racism and prejudices has existed even
    before the biblical age. Humans have
    evolved from apes to humanoids as per
    Darwin’s evolutionist theory.
    Think it’s time to move forward to
    the “learning” age. Go Google age !

    With due respect to author the above
    article/opinion I do not share.
    Long on words
    Short on solutions
    In my opinion !

    Forever the optimist


  • Frederick Collins  On 10/18/2020 at 7:04 pm

    Educating ourselves on racism is vital – for the victims especially. For example, many people do not know that contempt for black people was legislated into effect in the colonial US. And that this was based on a formula the British had used in Ireland with the purpose of social control. Prior to that, the record shows, slavery was a more or less universal thing. There were white indentured laborers in the US whose women preferred to get married to black African slaves just before that law. Dr. Battalora’s work as well as Theodore Allen’s landmark work “Invention of the white race” sets it all out. It is important because when we think of affirmative action black people come to mind. Well, these works show that the real affirmative action was for white people. It persists up to this day. It is called white privilege. I would suggest that this video is a good place to start.

  • Jo  On 10/19/2020 at 5:04 pm

    While I don’t agree with Kamtan’s dismissive attitude, the fact is that various groups of people have been victimized at various times in various places. Countries and cultures set up exploitative practices against those at the bottom of their social hierarchy. However, it’s the backward racist conduct prevalent in the US that creates the megaphone concerning anti-Black racism. Previously, it was South African apartheid that garnered condemnation. The vicious nature of racist behaviour in the US is appalling. It’s equally true that Black people can practice their own form of racist responses as they see fit. A bi-racial person like Obama would not have received sanction had he not decided to set himself up as “Black”..something that was not required in a multi-racial country like Guyana. Even at the beginning of his run for office, there was a sense of resentment against him..because he was “not black enough”. Afro Guyanese and Indo Guyanese indulge in racist behaviour and thoughts. All of these situations are supported by leaders who use divisive weapons to gain power. In Hungary..any person who isn’t Hungarian is not welcome. So, while we can agree that “all lives matter”, we surely can make room for support for those who are suffering in extreme situations (cf. the Rohinga) of racist behaviour that we wouldn’t want for ourselves. And Kamtan, where are your solutions? Off the cuff disrespectful comments don’t exactly enlighten anyone.

    • kamtanblog  On 10/19/2020 at 5:18 pm

      Politicians have to debate/discuss/decide
      on introduction of anti racists laws which
      should be rigorously enforced by poo poo
      and courts. Fine and imprison a few for both
      racial and anti-social abusive behaviour.
      No ifs or buts ! Way forward

  • Tata  On 10/25/2020 at 12:34 am

    Racism is truly a worldwide “pandemic” and as you rightfully stated, “if you don’t name it, then you can’t fix it.” Sadly, some 60 years ago, American Civil Rights Activist and writer, James Baldwin, “In A Letter to My Nephew”, outlined some of the same concerns for the future of Blacks and Whites and himself living in a racist America. Again, in his “Fire Next Time”, Baldwin, a preacher himself, outlined a life of resisting oppression; even making the case that religion was the root cause of racial bigotry in America.

    Sadly, religion is the staple of the American society and a HUGE racist apparatus that forged an unequal society for centuries.

    For a people who have given so much to this world, with their blood sweat and tears, to be treated this way is incomprehensible. Our children must be re-educated because all they’ve been taught is nothing about themselves and the rich history of their ancestral roots.

    • kamtanblog  On 10/25/2020 at 1:41 am

      Racism not unlike religion feeds off “fear”
      a human weakness. Religious beliefs impregnates the mindset of their followers
      with nonsense about a heaven or hell ?
      Purgotory now abolished as another middle option\compromise. Religion tries to address
      the difference between good and evil by introduction of the punish/reward idea.
      Heaven v hell aka fear.
      Most people are born good but later develop
      satanic ideas/ideals influenced later by their
      religious/political/economic beliefs.
      Confucius says believe in yourself first and
      foremost and the rest will follow naturally.
      Nature is god …good bad and ugly !

      My two cents
      Off my pulpit aka soapbox


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