“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28
The second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence states as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
We are all born free and equal, but the inequitable opportunity environment, in which we are nurtured and grow, inhibits the achievement of the full socioeconomic potential for the disadvantaged.
History is replete with examples of the violation of these civil rights because of the colour of our skin. Civil rights leaders and advocates are demanding an end to systemic racism, which consists of pervasive structures and systems that create and maintain racial inequality for people of colour. It is indeed now a global pandemic which manifests itself in education, public health, policing, startup business and public housing. Systemic racism must be viewed as an emergency requiring urgent and comprehensive care.
Education – In Singapore, the philosophy underlying the educational policy is “People are our greatest asset, we must develop them to the fullest”. Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural country with a mix of ethnic Chinese, Malays and South Asians living together in harmony. There is no discrimination in the educational opportunity environment. They set out to assemble the best resources in the world to develop their country and then to develop an educational system which focused on certification to match workforce supply and demand. The rest is history. What can we learn from this?
Health care – If our people are not healthy then this compromises the rapid development of the country. We need to provide equal opportunity health care services to reduce infant mortality, provide the best nutritional advice and stellar management of pandemics when they appear. This must include doctors’ and nurses’ services, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth and mental health services. How can we reduce the inequities in the access to health care? What is our emergency strategy?
Police practices – Our police officers have a mandate to uphold law and order, keep us safe, reduce the fear of crime and improve the overall quality of life of all citizens. We are currently protesting against many incidents of police brutality meted out to people of colour who seem to caught in a white supremacy legacy net. Can this be reversed by specialized training? What is our emergency strategy?
Startup businesses – Entrepreneurship is a sector with great potential for developing the economy. All citizens are inherently capable of creating ideas and converting these concepts into commercial realities. People of colour are also capable of this but do not have access to guidance and appropriate funding. Black businesses matter. Let us move towards implementing innovative solutions, like the Shepherding Model, to bring life to the entrepreneurial sector as a contributor to economic growth.
One of the basic needs of a human being is comfortable housing. How do we address the emergency of providing public housing for the vulnerable, including black low-income families, the elderly and disabled persons, so that they too will be able to contribute fully to the development of our societies?
We must continue to peacefully protest to erode these inequities. When these structures and systems are dismantled, what a wonderful world this would be!
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com/basil-springer-column/ and on www.facebook.com/basilgf).