I’ve been inspired to start writing about these instances of what I call ‘everyday racism’ (because it’s catchy). Check out this category page, which will update every time I write a new post.
You can also check out the category cloud on the right-hand side of the screen.
The reason I’m calling it ‘everyday racism’ and not ‘stereotypes’, ‘misinformed statements’, ‘uneducated’ or ‘uncultured’ behaviour is simple. Racism is taken seriously, it’s spoken about and it’s confronted. If I encounter bad behaviour that is racially-motivated, calling it inappropriate and wrong will only get me so far. If I call the person racist, and draw attention to what’s being said or done as such, it’s seen with some gravity.
Of course, all experiences fall in a spectrum. I have been the victim of what’s now called hate-crime. At the time, it was called bullying, and dismissed as such. The power of words is truly remarkable – do you see how different it would be if I said I was bullied as a child, versus if I said I experienced regular hate crime and the adults in my school did nothing about it?
I don’t want to diminish any of the more serious crimes motivated by race. Violence, rape and shootings are all horrific and to one extreme and tragic side of the spectrum. On the other is what I call ‘everyday racism’ – the seemingly harmless assumptions made about a person based on the colour of their skin, not the content of their character (a phrase that resonates with so many of us still today).
But if we start discussing these with the seriousness reserved to more serious instances of racism, we could go some way to stopping these stereotypes and assumptions, the root of much of the racism we find today.
I want to normalise the images and perceptions we have of minorities, and show that we are all the same though we look different and speak different languages.
All of us are finding our own path in life, and have complex relationships with each other and our immediate circle. Minorities, like all humans, have hobbies, favourite travel spots, a set of books they cherish, movies they love and TV shows they’re addicted to.
We all have family we love, those we don’t get along with that well, and those we outright avoid.
I’m hoping that by talking openly about these stories, we can start seeing what unites us rather than what divides us. In doing so, I’m hoping I also shatter my own assumptions and pre-conceptions, and stop thinking of instances that irritate me as racially-motivated, when they’re also often just down to people being stupid, misinformed, sometimes sexist, and sometimes just flat-out ignorant.
I’ll share my experiences, and what I would say to those who have similar stories, and to those who perpetuate these ideas.
I’ll be borrowing stories from my life as well as that of my family, comparing it to those not in my culture/race/ethnicity/background/minority box of choice and will try to talk about it in as open a way as I can.
Sometimes I’ll rant; sometimes I’ll share a photo or a video; and sometimes I’ll make a few jokes because what’s the point of being a minority if you can’t push the boundaries every now and again?
Keep telling me what you think, share your experiences and your feedback!