Racism Is Alive Across the Globe

In the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, humanitarian and entrepreneur Princess Basmah Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, in a piece for The Root, asks if there are any similarities between ethnic tensions in the U.S. and those that wrack the Middle East.

There is little evidence of peace on earth — not in my region, and not in many others besides. The difficulties that the world faces are not neatly parceled up and hidden away in someone else’s part of the world; they concern all of us. We must stop looking at them sectionally and start treating them as a common concern out of which we must all contribute to producing change if we want a more peaceable future.

Are there any similarities between the divisions within U.S. society that this case highlights and the divisions that wrack my region? Are these differences by degree or category?

It seems to me that the same insular approach that meant an ordinary man could appoint and arm himself as local sheriff, and act as judge and jury of someone he saw in the street, is a similar approach to what keeps the citizens of my region divided and having to resort to violence to obtain their basic human rights. We may define ourselves and our lives differently, but we all have our race, our tribe, our class — and those divisions are winning.

With his vision and wisdom, Dr. King foresaw the price he would have to pay for his work. “I may not get there with you,” he said in Tennessee the day before he was assassinated. But he could not have foreseen that some 45 years later, a Florida teenager called Trayvon Martin would not get there, either.

How many more will fall by the wayside until we develop the world perspective equal to the task of transcending race, tribe, class and nation so that our loyalties may be to humanity as a whole?

I call on all who hold power now to change: Please do step up and change. I call for nations to stand together to face racism within and without our borders. Let’s unite and ask our leaders to lead the process of change that we need. We need the likes of President Obama, who understands what racism means more any other president, whose son could have looked like Trayvon.

The law has to change and prevail, and it would do so if we all voiced our mutual concerns. Share them, and solve what we know deep down in our hearts: it’s not right.

Princess Basmah Al Saud is an analyst, humanitarian and entrepreneur.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.