Conquer evil with good

Letters to the Editor

Conquer evil with good

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

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Dear Editor,

The unfortunate police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, may be a major dent for any hope of peaceful interracial coexistence among us, and has understandably given traction to the violent impromptu responses of many on the global scale.

This reaction to George Floyd's killing supersedes mere murder and aggravates the very core of racial scar tissues that dates back to the civil rights movements and even prior. A killing that questions one's social status in a predominantly white society or community will, no doubt, excite this collective uprising of black supporters, even on an international level, since it is a revolt against a tense and tentative integration of blacks within white societies — those who are generally suspicious of blacks anyway.

Emotionally burdensome, as such incidents may be, it could become the opportunity to fortify in the minds of the already twisted that blacks are just a violent, coarse, and destructive group of people.

This pigeon-holed view of us was recently expressed by a girl saying to me recently here in New York, “You know, I always thought all Jamaicans were bad and aggressive people?”

It's like praising a Rolls-Royce, or completely scorning or deriding it, not on the basis of engineering or performance quality, but because the colour is either black or white. It's an ingrained, benighted fixture that has gained access through several generations and into the present crop of abusers, and may in a twisted way gain fuel to keep on burning, the more buildings we burn in reaction to George Floyd's killing and racism.

But just as you are unable to force someone to love you, however backward they may be, you cannot force a racial bond of brotherhood, however good and enlightening that may be.

So, agitating for racial equality doesn't have to mean seeking someone else's approval of my colour — only an acknowledgement and allowance of equal rights and justice amongst us. But, if a society chooses to demean me on the basis of being dark-skinned, I will lose no sleep trying to disabuse their minds of such stupidity — as long as I give it no reinforcement by my unwarranted violent responses. Therefore, the way to counter racism is not to fight fire with fire, but let good and elevated self-worth be the answer.

Homer Sylvester

Mount Vernon, New York, USA

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