We're quick to adopt Y to solve X but what happens when there aren't any pre-packaged solutions on the market we can download or order on-demand?
|Cynthia Luo||Jun 27, 2020|
The world’s largest experiment just got a tad more complex.
At the surface, it’s simple to see how quickly we filled vacuums created by COVID-19 (X) with readily available solutions (Y):
Can’t meet? Zoom.
Shops closed? Amazon.
Quarantined at home? Netflix.
Can’t cook? UberEats.
Modern technologies and services have long evolved to keep people connected and productive without having to be next to one another. Social distance? Easy peasy.
But now on top of subjecting participants to months of isolation and work from home (mind you for our own good), we’re confronted with in-your-face racism, empty virtue signalling from corporations, protests turn to violent looting and fear of cancel culture.
How do we fill the Xs for which there are no pre-packaged Ys? For challenges we neither fully understand nor can identify?
What’s the Y for a parent experiencing Zoom burnout, for a software engineer who suddenly lost a once secure job, for families forced apart by closed borders, for a cheerful individual experiencing bouts of sadness or for a white person suddenly aware of their white privilege?
Instead, we’re having knee-jerk reactions at each headline flowing through our feed. And in the mishmash of rage, angst, hope and uncertainty, more women are considering to leave the workforce, white people are sending black people ‘reparation Venmos’ and corporations are posting black squares in a shallow attempt to show support of #BLM.
We can do better.
Our collective actions have caused powerful and hypocritical CEOs who ran organisations poisoned with discriminatory practices to step down, we’ve raised millions for groups supporting black people and drove Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice Justice in Policing Act to hold police officers personally liable for damages in lawsuits.
From the safety of our homes, we have witnessed and perhaps perpetuated violence, hate, intolerance and acts of selfishness but it’s easy to forget there’s also been a lot of good in small but kind gestures among neighbours to large scale global movements, or simply offering an empathetic ear.
We have done better, together.
After months of living in extreme and almost immediate restrictions placed upon us, we’re too tired to bite our tongues. We snap at colleagues and partners, we call internet strangers vile things, we smugly hashtag #blackoutTuesday and judge those who have not, and we shut down dialogue when the opposition speaks out. I am guilty.
As Beau Taplin beautifully put it, “we are all so desperate to be understood, we forget to be understanding".
It’s not working.
COVID may have accelerated the popularity of Zoom and ecommerce, but it has also highlighted our inaptitude to tackle issues as one human race. We forgot to be understanding of each other and of ourselves.
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” - Rahm Emanuel
As with all experiments, we must document, study, educate and apply the learnings to build a better future. We will return to restaurants, we will continue to cross international borders, we will once again face colleagues, we will face discrimination and we will eventually embrace, kiss and shake hands again.
The world is slowly opening up and when we emerge from our homes eyes squinting at the sunshine, breathing through a mask, hair too long, and finally in pants, who do we want to be?
To support and learn more about #BLM, visit Movement for Black Lives. I made a donation, hope you can too.