Basheer Jones Rallies for Change
January 22, 2016
ALLIANCE, Ohio- In celebration and honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., motivational speaker Basheer Jones presented his four E’s to the racial inequality equation last night in Presser Hall at the University of Mount Union with his call to action on social injustice.
In his speech, Jones, a renowned speaker known for his involvement in the Cleveland community and passion for change, defined the four E’s as environment, exposure, experience and education. These factors play a role in our perceptions of others, which contributes to the true understandings of inequalities in our society.
“Do you mind if I am truthful?” Jones said. “If I am truthful it may pinch a bit at first but it will be better in the long run.”
Jones, who has been interviewed by Time, JET and Essence Magazine as well as having served as a correspondent on CNN, MSNBC and CSPAN, stated the first step in overcoming this issue is realizing that the perceptions and viewpoints we have of others can consciously and unconsciously affect us all. These perceptions are influenced strongly by both society and the media and often cause us to make judgments of one another before we even meet. Jones stated that everything, even animals, are affected by environmental factors and that these viewpoints are the root of the racial inequality problem.
“If you don’t understand the ‘why’ and only focus on the ‘what,’ then you are going to continue to think that people are animals,” Jones said.
Jones followed up with explaining how everyone, even children, have been exposed to negative perceptions. According to Jones, this should bother everyone.
“This isn’t just a black issue, it’s an American issue,” Jones said. “It should bother you to your core; we have to care about human beings.”
Our experiences, which make up who people are, are the next part of the puzzle. Although no single person’s experiences are similar, it does not mean that individuals are unable to understand the breadth of the situation at hand.
“You don’t have to go through it to be emphathetic,” Jones said. “Just because you are not experiencing it doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist, someone is experiencing it."
Jones concluded his call to action with one simple solution to the problem: education. Students have led some of the greatest movements in history; Jones used this as a rally for change.
“We have to find a reason to all want to work together,” Jones said. “Are you taking your time to make someone else’s life better?”
Overall, Jones said that it is up to every individual to change the way we look at this social issue.
“You can’t change the world looking at it the way you want to look at it,” Jones said. “It’s not just about black and white, its about human consciousness and justice.”