024: Injustice and Friendship

I saw the video of George Floyd being arrested (and killed) by a police officer.

Did you tense up at that first sentence?

I did. It's uncomfortable to talk about race.

But it feels important. To understand more perspectives, I need to understand my own. And to understand my own, I need to look at it.

Since seeing the video of Floyd's death, I've felt strong emotions from rage to sadness.

How can I be proud of my country when a police officer does this?

The video makes it particularly obvious what happened—which is why it's so infuriating and heartbreaking. We see what happened. You can't blame the camera angle, you can't blame any distorted audio.

A segment from Obama's statement on this:

"We have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly "normal" — whether it's while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park."

Am I, as a white person who has never experienced this, allowed to be infuriated by it?

Regardless of the answer to that question, I do feel infuriated. So maybe it's not the right question to ask—am I allowed to feel what I feel? Because I do, so I might as well acknowledge it.

"Anger can be a useful emotion," my therapist has told me a few times.

And it can be. It's not right to put on a fake smile to "keep the peace."

Sometimes, the peace is lost and when you begin to acknowledge it, you begin to understand why.

But what can I actually do?

I think it's about listening. Feeling that discomfort that comes up when talking about race, and pushing through.

Being curious about everyone's perspective. We each have a unique experience to share from (or, said in another way: we each can learn something unique from anyone).

It's not about who's right and wrong, it's not about good vs. evil, it's about seeing the humanity in everyone, and having the courage to say how you feel.

Quote I'm Pondering

"These ideas are nightmares to white parents who's worst fear is a child with died hair and who likes earrings."

– Eminem

Bai's Email Newsletter

In 2011, I travelled to Sierra Leone through "Engineers Without Borders" to put solar panels on the roof of a school. I met a local, Bai, who was about my age, and we've stayed in touch ever since.

For a while, I wanted to find a way to help Bai make money through his smartphone. There's not many job opportunities in Sierra Leone.

A few years ago, I tried to teach him how to use Canva (to do graphic design on Upwork), but I gave up because I just didn't have enough time.

But I recently had another idea—he can send a weekly email like I've been doing. It's not about grammer—it's about having a perspective. And he has that.

I'm genuinely loving his emails so far. Below is a segment from his second weekly email "True Friendship" (being sent today). Would love if you wanna follow along—subscribe here!

There is a saying by one Jamaica reggae Singer "No man is an island, no man stands alone" get this from me "if you want to see trees you first plant the seeds from there you get trees and fruits". Which means if your friend is going down you need to help each other, water you friend until it turn to tree and bear fruit.

This is telling us that true friendship comprises of honesty, courage, Faith love and trust etc. Don't go into friendship with someone for a particular purpose.

Let me explain it in a better way, for example if you meet someone in the club or bar for the first time in life, you guys became friends through drinking, having fun, it continue for a period of time until the day one is financial broke or he decide not to drink alcohol anymore.

You may want to know why! Four (4) years ago I use to drink alcohol, party with friend, go to club or bar with them. When I decide not to drink alcohol anymore things change between us, no more regular calls, no more frequent chat.

Wanna get Bai's full email? Subscribe here.