Join us for Reflections on Race, a three-hour series of special coverage on Spectrum News 1, starting July 30 that addresses the important conversations around trauma, healing, activism, education, and allyship. Experts in psychology, parenting, and civil rights break down what can be done individually and collectively to keep moving toward a more equitable society.
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Behind a screen, Kael Ramsey-Ackerson chooses what to reveal to his clients, but he prefers to keep the fact that he is Black private.
What You Need To Know
- Kael Ramsey-Ackerson is a descendant of slaves
- He said the trauma of being Black is passed down from generation to generation
- There’s little about the dialogue about race in America that has him feeling optimistic
- He hopes his friends and neighbors will wake up to the racism that colors his experience of America
“I’ve had experiences where people didn’t want to work with me because of my skin color,” he said.
Ramsey-Ackerson is a loan officer who is licensed in 14 states. He is the only one of his colleagues to leave his photo off his email account because he rather not risk losing a deal because of the color of his skin.
“Do I want the pride of having my photo up affect how I feed my family? Probably not. It doesn’t change who I am, it’s just strategic,” Ramsey-Ackerson said.
But that is just business, he can deal with that.
For Ramsey-Ackerson, the matter of equality is life and death for men who look like him. His cousin, Desmond Phillips, was shot and killed in the family home in Chico three years ago. He was unarmed.
“I didn’t speak up as much because I was like ‘cops will handle it. They’ll figure it out. He was killed. He was mentally ill. Instead of taking him to the hospital they shot him. They’re going to get charged.’”
“Three years later, still nothing,” said Ramsey-Ackerson.
As a descendent of slaves, he said the trauma of being Black is passed down from generation to generation. His grandmother was born in 1922, and grew up in the segregated south.
Nearly 100 years later, the daily discrimination he faces is understated. Like the way a woman might clutch her purse when she passes him on the street.
“Mentally, it just wears you down. Being Black is not easy,” he said.
Maybe that’s what attracted him to pit-bull Maximus, another big guy who is often misunderstood.
While more people seem to be waking up to systemic racism, there’s little about the dialogue about race in America that has him feeling optimistic.
“When there’s a conviction of the cops who killed George Floyd and the cops who killed Brianna Taylor are arrested, maybe I’ll feel a little bit better,” he said.
Until then, he’ll keep riding and marching for Black lives and having conversations with his friends and neighbors, hoping they’ll wake up to the racism that colors his experience of America.