First Cousins: our nephew and our son, forever inseparable!
Imagine for a moment, if you will, this hypothetical scenario.
I am having a party in the USA for my entire family and all my closest friends. One by one, everyone leaves and heads home. My parents are white, they get home safely. Two of my white siblings have white spouses and they have white children – they walk/drive home safely. One of my white siblings is married to a black woman and they have two children. She is a doctor and happens to be busy treating a white man, who started a bar brawl earlier that evening. (By the way, he will end up being saved by this black doctor, he will not be charged for starting the fight, but the black man, with whom he was fighting, is arrested on site and charged – he ends up doing jail time!)
Back to my hypothetical scenario – my brother’s and sister-in-law’s two brown teenagers are out on the front lawn chatting and having fun. Two white cops are passing the house and see them. They question them on their “rights” to be in my yard, a predominantly white neighbourhood. From inside the house, I hear an argument ensue, so I go outside and manage to placate the police officers, assuring them that they do indeed have a “right” to be there. My husband’s family, who are black, Chinese and everything in between, some darker than others, begin to leave the party, one by one. Each one of them is stopped by the police and questioned as to why she or he is out and where she or he is going. My friends begin to leave. The white ones get home without any hindrances, my black friends are all stopped by the police at some point on their journeys home.
My husband’s family actually live in Trinidad & Tobago. We live in Jamaica. Our two boys are mixed, but they look white. Their six cousins living in Trinidad have much darker skin.
Imagine this scenario.
Each one of these eight young children, who are currently between the ages of seven and thirteen, all end up going to university in the USA in the future. If the country does not immediately address the deep-rooted racism that exists, imposing laws that not only prevent the “freedom” to be racist, but punish those who act on their racism, then six out of these eight children are in danger of racist slurs or attacks, and perhaps death. Even my own children, who look white and may not be harmed by direct said persecution, will suffer psychologically as they “watch” their flesh and blood being persecuted for the colour of their skin. If our family is lucky, each person will come out physically unscathed.
Remember I said one of my white brothers is married to a black doctor? They actually do live in the USA. Their brown children, like their black mother, will have to work so much harder than my white nieces and nephews, who also live in the USA, to prove their worth in this racist nation. They are “lucky” they are female and not black men, who at present can’t even safely walk down the street. How ironic this is, as white women often wish they could have the privileges of white men!
White women still have it far easier than black women, however.
These scenarios are repeated over and over again. Millions of black people in the USA are forced to live under the “freedom” of white people’s oppression.
In my own country, Jamaica, racism exists, but it’s wrapped up and “hidden” by a classist society. Now, bear with me as I loosely explain how the rankings work. Please note, there are always exceptions! If you’re white, you’re likely to be “trusted” by most, even if you don’t have much money. If you’re wealthy and white, you’ll probably be trusted by everyone. If you’re black and poor, you will not likely be trusted at all. If you’re black, have money and a respectable job, you’ll hold some ranking, but it would suit you infinitely better to be a successful lawyer, doctor or politician, the CEO or Managing Director of a company/bank, or a well-known, world class athlete or musician. And, by the way, some white people may still dislike or resent you! If you’re a deadbeat black man or woman, you’re screwed when it comes to privilege and entitlement. If you’re a deadbeat white man, you’ll be fine. If you’re a jobless white woman, it’ll be assumed that you hang on the arm of a wealthy white man.
The world over has varying degrees of racism. I’m quite sure that the majority of adults on this planet has either witnessed, suffered or subjected some form of racism. I’m also fairly certain that many children have as well, though some might not yet understand what it all means.
I don’t believe that humans are born racist. Racism is learned. The old adage, “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can never harm you,” is a pile of trollop! Racist language is absolutely dangerous. It leads to catastrophic actions, which are impossibly irreversible. The most recent consequence to centuries of racist rhetoric is the loss of George Floyd’s life, a result of the unconscionable actions of a white America police officer. Yet black people are supposed to quietly accept “Oops, we’re sorry about that!”?
Sure, “hitting back” with disruptive demonstrations is inconvenient for police officers and many white people, but what else can one do when softer pleas have never worked?
To accept the “violent” backlash of black people is hard for some as “violence is not the answer”, but inequalities have rarely, if ever, been resolved peacefully. Revolutions are as old as time and have been documented countless times!
In order to effect change when it comes to racial inequality, a revolution is necessary, despite how unpalatable it may be for many. Even white people who are not outwardly racist are complicit to this crime against humanity, by merely “staying quiet”. Silence speaks volumes. Imagine how loud actually acting against racism would be!