It’s the people who don’t recognize the racism within themselves that can be the most damaging because they don’t see it.
-Sterling K. Brown
I’ve been saying it today, I said it yesterday and I’ll say it until the cows come home and the pigs fly and my mother loses it.
Alberta is in the toilet and I really, truly, never wanted to live here.
As a child, my family was actually deported from the United States. When you hear the word deported you most often think of criminals or thieving immigrants, because that’s what the government wants you to think, that my family, my hard-working parents are uneducated deplorables (as Trump and Hillary say it, (Hillary about Trump supporters and Trump about immigrants and refugees)) because of their family circumstance.
My mom was a white passing women in the late ’90s who had a young daughter and they forced her out of the only place that she had ever known. She had no idea where we were even going, just that it was colder and that it was foreign, even though it was only next door.
Because of the United States my mom and I both had to grow up and buck up pretty fast.
We grew up here, in Lethbridge, Alberta when at the time, like I said in the early ’90s, we were one of the only black families and we weren’t even whole. My dad hadn’t joined us immediately, because he had a good job in the U.S.
Growing up in what has been considered the “Bible Belt” for years, was one of the hardest things I think that I’ll ever have to do.
I had young Mormon children coming up to me in preschool – let’s be real, kids are jerks – telling me that God in his “almighty power,” light brown hair and blue eyes cursed Lucifer’s offspring with dark skin so that Mormons would know not to converse with or trust people of colour.
When I was in elementary school, every day a boy would consistently refer to me only as “poop face” because of what I looked like. The teachers insisted it wasn’t a big deal because “boys were just boys,” not racists. They just had “a crush on you,” “it wasn’t bullying,” or whatever else people say.
That same boy and his friends, on the first day of junior high, wrote “fat nigger” on my locker in pen, just to hurt me because I was different than them. That crushed me because I was an insecure preteen and it left me with anxiety in social situations that has lasted my whole life, because I think that people are constantly judging how I act or sound and what I wear, because even the tiniest thing relates back to when I got called, not even to my face, the two worst things you can say to a kid.
I started to believe thoroughly that people are just people and that no matter what, I couldn’t change them. I turned weird and I did research on the concepts of nature vs. nurture in order to prove to myself and those boys that they could change at any time that they could be whatever or whoever they wanted to be.
I believed the best of the people who hurt me, and I shouldn’t have because in the end, after you close the hardcover, after you put away the bookmark – people don’t change they just adapt, through and through, by and by, with the inherent racism that comes from attacks and against mosques and synagogues, threats against schools.
The biting words that come from yelling offensive terms across the street at people different from you. Or rapping loudly to songs with terms used by my culture and looking to me for the approval that you’ll never receive. The beatings and the shootings and the gang references and fighting, I guess that they’ll never stop.
Because in the end, at the bottom of the glass, after you hit the last sweet sip of truth tea, people don’t change, they won’t change and you shouldn’t expect them to.
Unfortunately, I might be pessimistic, but that’s how I grew up. It might sound sad, but so is the world that we live in. People are inherently bad and some people just don’t grow out of it. Some people can use the hate they give to become leaders of countries, shoot up schools and concerts, and put multiple lives at risk.
Racism is in us because we grew up around it. Hate is in us because it’s the one universal emotion that everyone has felt. So, one last time, for the record…
It’s sad, but its true.
Here’s a tally:
The part of the world that cares – 0, always zero.
The part of the world that hates – 1, now and forever.