America can’t “unfriend” racism

Zach Roberts
2 min readMay 29, 2020
Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue (Flikr)

Justified outrage to unjustified prejudice. Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, and George Floyd. Their stories, their fates have flooded my headspace in the last two weeks. Cooper’s fate could have been no different than the latter, and it’s a reminder of why it hurts — racism has always been America’s virus long before COVID-19 entered the scene this year.

America can’t “unfriend” racism. Its inception dates back more than 400 years ago when Africans washed onto North American shores from a fleet of slave ships. It would be until 1865 that slavery was abolished in America, but racism continues to be a stubborn stain that cannot be washed out from our fabric.

Racism is not tangible. Jim Crow, war on drugs, and mass incarceration are to name a few reminders for me as to why America can’t undo racism. It is not a person we can only “unfriend” on Facebook or a group we publicly denounce. Some of us fight, others force it out of sight or mind, but racism is a chronic pain we can no longer tough out.

Four years ago, racism felt like a distant memory with Obama as our first Black president. That’s why it may feel hard for many of us to process our emotions regarding what we are seeing in front of us. When it feels like we’ve won, racism goes into remission, mutating into something invisible to the eye until it jerks us from our reverie.

George Floyd’s video was that stark reminder for me. His cries in the video nearly brought me down when I first saw it a few days ago. Shortly after sharing my first post a few days ago, the number of those who reached out to me and the public outcry I saw across social media pulled me back up.

Thank you. Thank you for those who reminded me racism in America is a shared human experience that affects all of us. It is our boogeyman that sleeps underneath our bed that we hope does not appear before us while we sleep.

If in the dark is where racism resides, then the collective fight for humanity we are putting up right now is our light that will continue to illuminate our future. We breathe for those who have lost their breath. And, we will continue to use that breath to fuel our cries for systemic change until then.

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Zach Roberts

Demystify product marketing. 2022 Product Marketing Alliance Newcomer of the Year. Living in San Francisco.