‘If you wanna lose money easily, bet against me’
Born and raised in Florida as one of seven siblings, Demetrius Frazier experienced bereavement at a young age. His mother sadly passed away when he was 11, with his father passing away 7 years later to the day. This early loss was hard to deal with, and Demetrius suffered periods of depression and anxiety, reaching the point where he was having suicidal thoughts. Despite this difficult start he has worked hard, remained focused, and he has been incredibly successful in his career.
However, it is not only personal circumstances have meant cards are stacked against him. Demetrius notes that whilst racism, racial prejudice and police violence are in the spotlight currently due to the Black Lives Matter movement, this inequality and differential treatment is not new to him. Feeling tolerated rather than celebrated in all of his workplaces to date, and with his performance being undermined, he has learnt it is not enough to just work hard and be the exception, and that systemic change is needed.
In order to make progress, Demetrius urges people not to get defensive in discussions about race and to introspectively work on acknowledging the biases, tendencies, and privileges we ourselves have, as ‘hate can’t drive out hate’. He stresses the need for positive differential treatment to help level out inequalities, and calls for people not to ignore or disregard race, but to try and understand the role it has played in shaping people’s life and the opportunities they have access to.
Despite the state of things as they stand, Demetrius remains optimistic that with effort and understanding we can move in the right direction; “if you want an arrow to go far, you gotta pull that shit back”, and soon we’ll be on the right trajectory.