Compassion and racism – a #1000Speak post
Sometimes you have the good fortune to make a friend who isn’t afraid to hold strong, valid opinions, and voice them. Frequently; Out There and Unapologetically. It is inspiring to see someone who is absolutely determined that people should think aright, and who is willing to run the risk of ending up in confrontation with those who don’t agree with her. I wouldn’t usually be so supportive of someone plugging their opinion to the hilt and trying to demonstrate their point, time and time again, but Suheiry’s consistent soapox issue is that Racism is WRONG. And all I can do is agree with her.
I asked Suheiry to write, because I think that this topic is super important in a world where race is all too often used as a reason that people act divisively, or in bullying ways. This being the week of the next 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion link-up (topic: Building from Bullying), I was keen to share writers who have a real passion for ensuring that the people of this world are treated with equatability, so with no further ado…let me share Suheiry with you – Lizzi
Racism: the belief that a race is superior or inferior to another because of characteristics specific to that race.
The first time I experienced true racism, it was like a punch to my stomach. I stopped breathing. I could hear my heartbeat. I was stunned.
I told several people about the incident, and no one reacted as I expected. No one was mad or outraged on my behalf. No one went on a rant about what was wrong with society. Some people gave me looks of condescending pity. No one tried to relate or understand. No one asked questions.
People who wonder why racism exists don’t understand the root of it. Racism is rooted in a lust for power and sense of entitlement. In the history of humanity, groups of people of certain ethnicities have become more powerful than others. It’s argued that at one point racism was necessary for survival.
People who say that racism is “not as bad as it used to be” aren’t listening. You’re not paying attention to its manifestation in your daily life. You’ve already decided what you’re going to tolerate, so you’re blinded to anything outside those parameters.
Just because you’re not experiencing or witnessing racism, doesn’t make it less real. Someone is experiencing it. Someone is talking about it. Someone is being humiliated, mocked, and ridiculed. Stop talking, stop excusing, just listen.
I never saw myself as a “militant minority.” The types who find underlying currents of racism in everything, no matter how trifling and minimally offensive it is. I always found their methods counter-productive.
But then, I had never truly experienced such racism. I made jokes, laughed at jokes, and sometimes was the joke. I was familiar with all the racial stereotypes, and allowed that they’re often “funny, because they’re true.”
Until that day.
That incident has been with me for years. I can still feel the waves of fear and humiliation. I can feel my heart pound in my chest and my throat dry up. I can feel my cheeks burning and the tears blurring my vision. I can feel the pent up anger and frustration. I felt so alone and so out of place. I felt like an alien. I felt like no one cared or was interested in understanding me.
Racism is a huge problem, and it won’t be solved overnight. I’m not asking you to form a picket line, or pass out pamphlets. What I’m asking from you, and what I was asking for back then, is compassion. Don’t try to relate, understand, or draw on your own experience, because none of that will do. Only compassion will suffice.