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  • Kirsten Blakemore

Political Power versus Human Rights

COVID-19 has pushed us as a global community into bringing our slew of fears to the forefront. Fear I will die, fear I won’t have enough (fill in the blank) and fear authority will abuse power and kill me because of the color of my skin. We are in new territory. What is not new is the need to look at one’s self. Self-awareness is common sense but not common practice. We are at a point where this need is dire. And without it, we will continue spiraling downward into community disintegration.

Because of the events that have transpired, people are finding the opportunity to shine a light on upholding equal rights for all no matter the color, race, age, gender, religion or disability. Equality. While equality sounds good, it has been a breeding ground to point the finger at what everyone else is not doing. This is being exemplified by recent events where President Trump has pulled funding for diversity training within the federal government. People have politicized “diversity training” and positioned it to be anti-American.

One such person trying to glamorize himself by ridiculing diversity training is Chris Rufo, a guest on Fox News. He stated all his reasons he believes for the Critical Race Theory training used at the Treasury Department to be bad. While I cannot comment on the value of that specific training, suggesting that one training is bad ergo all diversity and inclusive training is bad is ridiculous.

Diversity training begins by offering a framework to think differently from the one we consider to be our norm. To suggest we do not need Diversity training now is harmful to the future efforts of creating an America where all have Equal Rights.

In the same way, Trump-appointed Janet Dhillon, Head of EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), has recently introduced policies in EEOC to impede their ability to combat workplace discrimination. This is a step backwards to upholding equal rights, actually making the upholding of equal rights more difficult.

A human and reverent approach in finding solutions for racism and discrimination is to first look at self. What we need is to teach everyone to look at one’s self and say “I am biased, I have blind spots. My natural tendency is to seek like-minded ideas and people to stay comfortable. Where and how might I be the problem in this situation?” Instead of finding a solution to equal rights, we are blaming diversity training which is a step forward to finding a solution.

What the world needs is not to politicize equal rights. What we need is to focus on our own accountability towards human reverence and kindness. That’s when people will come together to unite towards equal human rights for all.

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