639: My Own Racism
It's Black History Month in the States. Part of me thinks it's a shame we have to have a month to celebrate and remember Black History because in reality there is only One History and that we should recognize and remember year round the generations of abuse and torment Americans have put itself and each other through to ensure we once and for all stop it and do not repeat it or to not forget those that stood from it.
Our History was brutal, and it involves all colors. And perhaps the reason we have a Black History Month is because the American History we are taught in school, that we walk around accepting the rest of the year, is full of lies - a hiSTORY full of shit that was narrated by the oppressors and leaves little to no room for the oppressed. And so we have 1 month a year where we attempt to equalize and tell the whole story.
And still... being a white woman in this day and age, growing up in the city of Minneapolis rich with diversity and culture, knowing from a young age racism and judging people by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character is absolutely unacceptable... the nature of racism I've seen in our history, that has created division and used to keep us apart and separate, and that still plays out today has existed in me. I've seen it in me.
Growing up and into my early twenties, I would fear walking alone at night and to come across a black man. I would automatically assume the worst. I feared the intensity and directness I saw in the black culture. Movies and media taught me that the black community was full of drugs, crime, and abuse. The fear was instilled in me, despite knowing better, I couldn't seem to help myself in the secret of my own mind fearing those of a darker complexion.
And while I want to say, I'm sure like so many other persons with a white complexion, "I'm not Racist," it would be a straight up lie. While I don't deliberately or directly try to discriminate against any person that looks different to me, or comes from a different background, I am a product of a Society that once Sold black men, woman, and children... that profited off the commodity of their labor, that raped, murdered and beat them to death because they were defined as an inferior race. I was instilled with the idea that they were somehow different, somehow less than or somehow less dignified. I am a product of this culture. As much as I despise it, it is part of my history. And while I want you to believe I truly would not deliberately harm another person because their skin is darker than mine... I would be lying if I said the thoughts that have existed within my own mind did not suggest the essence of racism.
A few years ago I was walking in Whistler, a prominently white town where I lived. I walked past a man with brown skin and a turban on his head. The thoughts were, "what if he's a suicide bomber? What if he's going to cause an attack here?" I can't even explain how shocked and outraged I was by these thoughts because I could see clearly the absurdity of it. The movies, news, and my own government got inside my head. I believed there was an enemy I had to watch out for and that anyone that looked like this man could harm me.
We cannot deny, even with our purest intentions, that we have not participated in some kind of bias towards those different from ourselves. I cannot say I have ever seen someone and not judged them by the color of their skin, or associated them with certain behaviors because of what they looked like, or feared to be alone with someone I have been conditioned to believe would likely harm me.
So what's the point I'm trying to make here? We must take responsibility for the racism within ourselves. We cannot pretend it doesn't still exist. We must come to terms with the fact that we are carrying with us the sins of our fathers... we have generational blood on our hands. I say that metaphorically because obviously, we have also the power to forgive ourselves, to wash and purify ourselves, our thoughts, words and deed, and to once and for all end the racism within this world by ending it within ourselves. But we first have to admit we have accepted, allowed and participated in racism.
I cannot change if I cannot admit the wrongdoings - whether deliberately or not - through my acceptance and allowance of the nature of racism to exist within my own mind, through my passivity and non-action, and inability to SPEAK about the issues and abuse I see and hear, I've accepted and allowed the nature of racism to exist outside of me, within this world. Until I say 'Till Here No Further to my own programmed mind of racism, it will continue to exist within our world. Each one holds up and keeps alive the overall view of their society.
We've heard this before, and we know it's true but it is time we start living it by STOPPING those inner biases, discriminations, judgments, and hate for someone a different shade than ourselves, from a different country, with a different accent, with a different culture... it's called DIVERSITY and is a gift to each one who is open and embracing of the unknown and unfamiliar as it allows us to DIVE into the reality that Humanity is a rainbow of colors and experiences and that that diversity is what keeps us rich and thriving. Just like an eco-system, diversity is what keeps it healthy. Obviously, it's who we are within that diversity and rather running in fear of someone different from ourselves, let us find the commonality that IS our Equality and Oneness.
We are all born of dust and will return to dust, made of blood and flesh and bone and we bleed when we are cut, we starve when we do not eat, we die without water. We are the same, and what really matters in our lives is exactly the same and if we can stop allowing the division to flourish we can expand humanity beyond its divisive consciousness and into an Awareness of Real Life and Living that is, in fact, BEST FOR ALL.
I am hopeful to those that are here as we have the opportunity to learn from the past fuck-ups, to let go of the old world and create something new where the brotherhood of (wo)man emerges - where we can, in fact, love thy neighbor as thyself and give to each other as we would like to receive. It's up to each of us. Stand responsible for what has been accepted and allowed and stand as a pillar to create a new world. Call out the abuse towards life within yourself and within this world, make a commitment to change and to not accept anything less than the Equality of Life that is Real and Here and do not stop until it's done.
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