No place for Racism

It makes me so sad to think about writing on this topic as I really cannot believe that Racism is still so deeply ingrained in our society. The fact that within many societies, the colour of our skin can decide so many things about our lives is deeply troubling, and although we are far better than history has shown us to be, there is still so much more to fix before we can genuinely boast equality between the races. There is so much racism in the world and it is so important that we discuss it.

About a month ago, myself and a group of friends went for a night out in Brighton, UK. For anyone who hasn’t been to this beautiful, seaside city, imagine a lot of colour, a lot of environmentalists and, all in all, a very socially-progressive city. We arrived at an establishment at about 11pm and, as we were all international students, an amalgamation of driver’s licenses and state ID’s were passed over to the bouncer. Myself, 2 Australians, an American and a Canadian had no problem entering the bar, we walked to buy a drink but realised our friends were still outside. Eventually they let one of our Mexican friends in, however they refused to let our Colombian friend in. Now before you jump to, ‘maybe she was too drunk to enter,’ she was not. She had consumed 3 standard drinks, probably about a third of what I had consumed and the bouncers explained to her that they do not let people in, regardless of whether they have identification or not, from ‘certain countries’ including Colombia. WHAT?!?!?!? Perhaps they thought it was fake, or they had never seen a Colombian ID, but I’m sure the likelihood of them having seen a Tasmanian Provisional License was relatively similar to having seen a Columbian ID. My issue here is not with the bouncers themselves, but rather with the idea that certain countries are allowed in with identification and certain ones are not. Similar to my understanding of sexism, unintentional racism is still racism.

I grew up in South Africa and having spent the entirety of my childhood there between the years 1999 until 2008, I have a relatively strong understanding of institutionalised racism (but there’s always more to learn). Equality isn’t the only answer anymore, we need equity, we need to boost those who have been marginalised and teach future generations of the mistakes that not only our ancestors made, but those that we continue to make and turn a blind eye too. We need to allow for equal opportunity from birth, and provide benefits to those who haven’t been allowed equal opportunities. To quote Nelson Mandela, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Racism is not intrinsically a part of someone, it is something that is taught through the media, culture and sometimes family members. I genuinely believe that love is the most natural thing in the world and hate is the most unnatural, so why is there so much hate still present today? To quote a dear friend, ‘hating someone is like drinking poison in the hope that they die.’

What I urge everyone to do is to read up on how we can all help in the fight against racism, join the movement, because I am a firm believer in the argument that you are contributing to the problem by choosing to remain silent and not speaking out. You must speak out for those who have been silenced, fight for those who cannot fight for themselves and stand up for those that are discriminated against. Those of us that are of Caucasian descent have so much privilege for simply having fair skin. Claim that privilege and use it to smash the racial inequalities still present in so many societies. Use the fact that you’re a part of a majority to fight for those in a minority. It can be as simple as shutting down a racist comment made by a friend, gifting a book to a family member who is not completely informed on institutionalised racism, or getting involved in your local community.

Spread love, we’re all here for a short time, so make it count.

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