You Don’t Fight Racism With Racism. You Fight Racism With Unity….
As I sit here pondering how to put into words about how I feel about the brutality of George Floyd’s death….my heart breaks. I feel ashamed. Ashamed that I too have become ignorant to the reality of racism. I have been hesitant to post anything about the situation for I fear I will say the wrong thing.
I was living in Edmonton in a townhouse on the west end with my husband and a few of our children. I had been at the church attending an activity for the women. It was probably around 9:30pm when I came to a 4-way stop close to our house. When I pulled up to the stop, I was signalling to turn left. There was a car straight across from me who was also signalling to turn left. So, I proceeded to pull forward and turn but just as I did, the car facing me, who was signalling to go left changed his mind and decided to go straight therefore resulting in me cutting him off. As I headed in the direction of my home, I noticed that someone was following me very close. This made me very uncomfortable and extremely nervous. As I pulled into our parking lot, I noticed that same car park right behind me. I sat in my car for what seemed like forever to see if that car would get out of the way but it didn’t. It just sat there. I got out of my car, and as I did, I heard a man get out of the car behind me. He started to yell at me for cutting him off. I froze. I couldn’t move or say a word. I forced myself to walk toward the house and as I did, I turned around to look at him. As I looked at him he says to me….”oh…that makes sense. Why don’t you learn how to drive or go back to your own country!!”. He then got in his car and sped away. I walked into the house and I began to sob.
I had experienced name calling as a child but that was the first time I felt like an outsider as an adult. It immediately brought me back to the days where I hated the colour of my skin and the slant of my eyes. I just wanted to look white so no one would say shit like that to me.
I want to be clear that I am not saying that my experiences are the same as any black individuals. I’ve been on the receiving end of racism but I am also guilty of being on the racist end as well. Going to school in a predominantly white and indigenous community, I stuck out as different. A half Japanese girl that didn’t really look like either or. I had good friends of both of those races that treated me as an equal and I to them. There were also those that were so insecure about themselves that they had to focus the attention on others which is easier to do that when that person looks different. Because of the name calling when I walked down the hallways of the schools, I noticed the one’s who did this were white and indigenous which caused me to have some pretty negative feelings towards their race and who they were as individuals. That was not fair. Not fair to their culture and to their history of injustice. That was not right and I do apologize. I do believe that as a human race we do need to acknowledge any and all racist acts in order for us to educate each other and ourselves. We need to each take responsibility for our own actions and become more aware of the injustices that go on. You know the saying outta sight outta mind….well that shouldn’t be a thing. We may not notice it happening right in front of us but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!! It is 100% happening and right in front of us. We are just choosing not to look, listen or learn about it. That is ignorance.
So I ask you to decide today. At this very moment. For yourself.
Will you commit to help stop the injustices that are going on?
BE THE CHANGE!
I believe Garth Brooks says it best in his song “We Shall Be Free”…
When the last thing we notice is the color of the skin,
And the first thing we look for is the beauty within;
When the skies and the oceans are clean again,
Then we shall be free.
We shall be free, we shall be free.
Stand straight, walk proud,
‘Cause we shall be free.
When we’re free to love anyone we choose,
When this world’s big enough for all different views,
When we all can worship from our own kind of pew,
Then we shall be free.
We shall be free