I’m Sick and Tired of All The Racism in the World
Warning: This is a rant.
I’m sick and tired of all the racism in the world. I know, I know, this isn’t a profound statement. Many people would agree with me, in fact it seems like most would publicly. But what pisses me off is behind closed doors when real opinions seems to flow more freely. Sometimes people seem crack little jokes that are supposed to be funny, but in all honestly they are just ignorant and insensitive and close minded. Oh, and completely and utterly inappropriate. And I cannot help but think that if you are willing to make the joke, then on some level you must agree. I heard once that 80% of things people say as a joke are things they actually believe and just aren’t comfortable stating as truth for fear of social rejection – I have no idea if this stat is true, but I kinda think it could be.
So, here’s the thing. I grew up in a small, very Caucasian community in a red-neck part of the world. In fact, in all my 12 years of schooling – elementary, secondary and high school – there was only one African American kid in the school and a handful of Asian kids. I was friends with them, but not once did I think about what their entire experience must be like outside of those who were friends with them. It just didn’t cross my mind that people might be mean to someone based purely on their skin colour. (Isn’t it wonderful being a naive kid?)
At times, I’ve figured I was dropped from a tree and must have bumped my head on a rock when I landed because it seemed like no-one else agreed with my views – you know, the liberal, socially conscious views. The ones where men and women are equal. The ones where all people have the right to food and water. The view that those who have should help those who have not. And the view that skin colour should not matter. I remember as a kid getting mad at some extended family for a racist comment, and lecturing them about how these comments will impact the younger children – yes, I’ve never been one to sit back and keep my mouth shut. But alas, my opinion didn’t matter and nothing changed.
I grew up, and moved on. I now live in a more diverse community, yet if I look around my neighbourhood I still see predominantly Caucasian faces. This factored into our adoption decisions (my post on race and adoption can be found here and here), and while I’ve sworn that I will not share details of our adoption selections, today I am (with Mr. MPB’s blessing of course). I won’t go into specifics (surprisingly there are lot of options that you can choose from when it comes to race), but we are open to other non-Caucasian races. We know that this has the potential to make us stand out in the community. We know that this may mean that our family will be a poster-family for adoption, as we may very likely be a rainbow coloured family. We also know that this means I hear racist comments in a new way. I am more attuned to ignorant comments, and offhand remarks. I pay attention to the news and am deeply saddened by the stories coming out of the US – in a new way, unlike before. I am now much more aware of just how important race is in the world, even if I don’t see it as important the fact is that others do for reasons I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand.
I now realize that these little jokes, and these racist based events happening in a different country (i.e. McKinney, Ferguson, etc.), will influence my child’s life – I’m seeing these things in a whole new light, as impacting me directly so much more than I ever thought about before. And, what kills me is that we cannot protect our child from this. We have to learn to navigate waters to support them as they navigate the waters. And clearly, we truly have no idea how to understand – how can we even begin to know how it feels to be judged based on the colour of our skin. We simply have no idea. And yet, we really need to try to understand. We need to look for ways to help our child navigate these waters.
We already find ourselves correcting family members and calling them out for “innocent” racist based comments they make – in fact, we always have, but now it’s different. Now we are aware that if our child hears these comments from within our family, it’s not going to end well as Mr. MPB and I simply will not let family speak this way around our child. And honestly, if our own families are willing to make racist comments, the big world starts to look a lot more scary – what if we aren’t there to help when our child is 8, 13 or 21? Because the fact is there is no way we can always protect our child from the cruelties of the world (but can you blame me for wanting to?!), so how do we do that? How do we teach our child that racism is not acceptable, when they may hear hurtful things from their own grandparents or cousins (we will do our best to police this and educate, but there are no guarantees)? How do we teach our child that police are there to protect us, yet depending on their race they need to be careful and even interact with them differently then I do? How do we teach our child that while we are colourblind in our house, the world is not? How do we teach out child to stand up for themselves appropriately when the consequences could be catastrophic based solely on their skin?
I acknowledge that I always wanted to see racism stop, but now I have a vested interest in it. Honestly, how in the world can we continue to be okay with the state of racism in the world, and how do we truly change the world? Because for the sake of my child, I want to change the world!
I generally believe the world is a good place. I generally am able to find something positive in almost any situation. But, today, I’m just made at the world. I’ve had enough of racism and inequality based on nothing more than skin-colour.
I don’t expect answers to any of this. I know that we are not the first family to navigate these waters, and I know we won’t be the last. But honest to god, this is bullsh*t!
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