Despite what any politicians or spin-doctors might say, racism is still unfortunately alive and well all over the world. Although it happens everyday, (sometimes more blatantly than others) many people brush off the topic because of how controversial it is. According to the United Nations General Assembly President Sam Kutesa, there is still racism for people of African descent everywhere in the world, no matter the country, region, nor continent.
As a Caucasian male, I personally have never faced any of this racism head on. So, I went to my friend Kofi Armah to get some more insight on the situation. Although Armah was born in the United States, he lived in Ghana from when he was a toddler until high school. Armah thinks the racism stems from a bad predisposition that we are taught from an early age. “When they (non-African people) meet Africans, it’s automatic that you’re from a poor home or you’re coming from a war torn place, so it’s assumed that you’re violent, hungry, or poor.” said Armah.
Last week on December 10th, the world started it International Decade of People of African Descent. Kutesa, who is a native of Uganda, dubbed the decade “a historic achievement”. Kutesa also added that a change at the national and regional levels would help millions of people of African descent on a global level. “The Decade will allow us to explore the challenges faced by people of African descent due to pervasive racism and racial discrimination engrained in our society today,” said Kutesa.
Although the efforts are growing, Armah believes it will take a very long time to stop racism and stereotypes completely. He does see a bit of a bright light at the end of this tunnel though. Armah said, “As time goes by, Africans are beginning to be called smart and hardworking, so it is getting better.”
Despite the fact that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon could not attend the event he believes people of African descent experience shockingly high rates of racial profiling and police violence. Mr. Ban said, this Decade would promote improvement for people of African descent, a decade from now.
Armah offered some possible solutions to stop the flow of racism around the world. He said it all starts from where people get their information, the media. “The media needs to show Africa, not just poor Africa or war-torn Africa,” said Armah. “They need to show the regular day of an African kid’s live, and portray true Africa and what it’s about.”