Since the killing of George Floyd, I have been deeply concerned with inequality which manifests in form of racism perpetuated by police brutality. I followed the US anti-racism protests and even watched George Floyd’s final burial service where Reverend Al Sharpton gave a veiled attack on President Trump calling him Wickedness in High Places (Ephesians 6:12 KJV). I never cared much because it happened far away in Minneapolis and I am in Kenya. I failed to acknowledge that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. My attention has been drawn to it by recent police killings in Kenya and lately in Lessos where a cobbler was shot dead for not wearing a face-mask. The locals in Kenya responded like in Minneapolis and burnt the police station.
These two similar injustices have little or nothing to do with police. From these events, I came to an intense realization that the greatest battle that Gen Y (those born between 1980-1994 or 2000) has to fight is white supremacy which is veiled as racism or inequality. It is the wickedness in high places.
Although most people think of racism as prejudice and discrimination based on skin colour, racism is more than that. Racism is basically white supremacy which is an entrenched system of inequality that is institutionalized and legalized. It is legalized economic exploitation that that masks under the guise of discrimination based on colour, country or tribe. Robin Diangelo, author of White Fragility, a book on racism noted that white supremacy as a political system is never acknowledged or studied. All other political systems be they capitalism or socialism are identified and studied extensively but white supremacy is never studied. White supremacy goes hand in hand with an ideology called individualism. Individualism holds that individuals succeed because of personal effort, talent and abilities. Individualism assumes that people are illiterate, poor, sick or in prison because of personal choices. Individualism fails to acknowledge the role of privilege, connections, family background and their influence on the individual choices. White supremacy is a deliberate social, political-economic system that advantages those considered as “white” and their supporters. “Whiteness” has got nothing to do with colour. For instance, in 1922 the Supreme Court of United States claimed that Japanese could not be classified as White because they were scientifically categorized as Mongoloid. Let’s examine how white supremacy manifests:
1. 1% of the world’s citizen hold 50% of world’s wealth, 99% of us share the rest 50% https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/14/richest-1-percent-now-own-half-the-worlds-wealth.html#:~:text=News%20Videos-,The%20wealthiest%201%20percent%20of%20the%20world’s%20population%20now%20owns,to%20the%20Credit%20Suisse%20report
2. 100% of the world’s richest people are white: https://www.forbes.com/stories/ten-richest-people-in-the-world-2020/
3. Top 10 most valuable companies are from United States: https://fortune.com/fortune500/
4. 90% of board members of these companies are white. See for example the board of Walmart https://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/leadership
5. 86% of world’s top universities are from predominantly white countries. You can check here: https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/choosing-university/worlds-top-100-universities
See more about inequality here: https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality/
To deal with inequality and economic injustice there must be a deliberate effort to hold people in power to account for inequality. We have to do it the way they did in countries like Singapore and South Korea: Deliberate personal boycott of non-essential imports and support local industries. Boycott of products from local industries/companies that perpetuate inequality. Never buy from a multinational if you can buy locally. By doing this you create local employment and minimise inequality.