May 25, 2024

Op-Ed: Journalist Simon Ateba voices frustration over the exploitation of race for political gain and emphasizes the need for economic transformation to uplift marginalized communities

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba

Forgive me, like most people in the United States, I am against any form of racism and discrimination based on race, gender, or anything else. I am not an exception; most people share this belief. Most people don’t care who manufactures the computer or phone they are currently using as they read this. When most people are sick, they just want the best doctor and the best medication that can cure them.

However, I find it disturbing that race is often exploited for political gain. The argument goes as follows: some people, primarily conservatives, are labeled as racists while the other side is portrayed as the virtuous ones. By doing this, the 1 percent who control all the resources and oppress the majority of the people are able to divide and rule.

In reality, the individuals who profit from wars, pandemics, and crises are a tiny minority, while the rest of us, regardless of race—be it black, white, or brown—suffer the consequences. Instead of holding the true culprits accountable, we start blaming different races, political parties, states, and communities. In reality, those who hold power over the majority of us are the same individuals.

As a black person, I simply want to do my job and receive the necessary support and resources to do so. I have positive relationships with some people, irrespective of their race, and I may not get along with others. This is a natural part of life, and it’s okay.

What I am expressing is my frustration with the hypocrisy we witness: we advocate for freedom when it comes to issues like abortion, but the moment individuals express their desire to choose whether or not to be vaccinated, we dismiss their freedom.

While millions of police officers carry out their duties responsibly every day, the actions of one bad cop who behaves improperly and kills someone lead us to wrongly believe that all police officers are the same. This is untrue. Do we excuse wrongful behavior? Absolutely not. Do we need reforms? Yes, unquestionably. Do we pay attention to the hundreds of people killed every day by their neighbors? Of course not.

From my experience, the best way to uplift the poor is through economic transformation. By the time the police are called, it is already too late. Like most black people I just want to have the resources needed to live a decent life. But when one percent of people hijack everything and we fail to recognize the deceit, we begin to chase shadows. May God assist us.

This opinion article by Simon Ateba was first published on his Twitter handle here.

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