week 3: Racism
This post, written by the absolutely brilliant
Talks about racism, including some personal experiences and her thoughts.
Hello everyone! I’m Selfie, from the blog The Meandering Course. I want to thank L for this amazing opportunity to write here, for his AMAZING project- All Around Us: The Social Project. It’s just so awesome and revolutionary. Well, I hope you all like this post I’ve put together.
Originated in the year 1862 carried forward to 2016.
There have been very few socio-religious customs which have been prevalent for this long. You don’t see the gladiator fights in the Colosseum anymore. Then why racism?
Today, I want to give a few first hand racism examples that I have experienced.
Let’s go back to June, 2015. I had visited the beautiful country of France along with my parents for the summer holidays that year. Food was amazing, the sightseeing was fun and the water was the most gorgeous shade of turquoise. Everything was just fine.
Until the bus journey. We were lunging three suitcases into the bus, no one came to help us. That’s okay. Once in the bus, there was this old lady whom I happened to glance upon. She was staring right at us, a horrified and antagonized expression upon her face. She gave us a hard, bold look and made a rude gesture at me, a tired and hungry teenager. She proceeded to whisper to her companion about something. Or someone.
Even if I was wrong about the lady, this next incident enraged me to my bursting point. Again, on another bus journey, I spotted a young man probably in his early twenties, he was wearing his earphones and his face possessed a faraway expression. There were quite a few people standing in the bus, and the seat next to the man was empty.
I still remember that there were quite a few people standing. Yet, they refused to take the seat next to the dark- skinned adult.
I didn’t want to be like the others. Therefore, I took the seat next to him. I couldn’t judge from his expression, what he was feeling. And I was too absorbed in the book I was reading.I had to get off pretty soon though, after probably ten minutes. But I hope that I could convey my silent reassurance to him.
Another day, our tour guide was bidding farewell to all the persons on board. She brazenly ignored us when she came toward us. I thought it was perhaps a mistake, so I turned around, only to see her saying goodbye to the person right behind me.
People gave us hard looks when we came to talk to them. However, when we conversed with them, they would become soft again. This is where I mention that both my parents are extremely fluent in the French language. We had another Indian family over there. They didn’t know the language. And it wasn’t easy for them.
What I saw was probably a much toned down version of actual racism. Yet, it hurt. A lot. It made me question every trait in me. Maybe I’m too shy; perhaps I should be friendlier.
I wish I wasn’t Indian. I wish my skin colour was white, not brown. If it was so, I could be more accepted.
There is another aspect to racism. Religion.
We were apartment hunting. We found the most gorgeous flat and proceeded to visit the owners. They casually asked our religion.
My father replied: We’re Bohri- Muslim.
My heart sank at what I saw next. I knew the look. I’d seen it just oh so many times. After a few more moments of pleasant, but short conversation, we were asked to call again.
Next morning, we knew. The apartment was sold to someone else. One moment, we were the promising buyers and the next, we weren’t. That house was beautiful. It was perfect for us. And we had to let it go. How many times have we let it go?
Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, Indian, African, British, American, Black, White, and Brown. We’re all people. Yet, we are divided by these narrow domestic walls of race, colour, caste and creed.
Racism hurts. I’ve experienced it first hand and it makes you feel low. It makes you feel like you’re something dirty and don’t deserve to be here. I don’t think anyone wants their personality to be so easily determined by their skin colour. So please, think twice before you utter some ridiculous statement like “You’re so black, you should know this” or “Muslims are terrorists”.
We are the future for this generation. Yes, this is VERY clichéd but it is so very true. Let this year mark the time we all come forward and accept our differences willingly (if there ever were any) to make this world free of sadistic and prejudiced racists. We can make a change.
You can be the change.
P.S: I do NOT mean to offend any religion or country. I know for a fact that French people are awesome and so amazingly helpful and kind. And the French made Croissants. WHAT MORE CAN I ASK FOR!?!