Not the kind of race in which we run and see who crosses the finish line first, that’s simple; No, I’m talking about the color of our skin, the place our ancestors came from, the box we check when we’re asked about our ethnicity. Our roots, while very important, are not suppose to be all the outside world sees; our ethnicity isn’t suppose to separate us from other people or stick us in subcategories that we really don’t fit into. The year is 2016, but sometimes I feel like it is still 1916, 1816.
Why does the pigment of our skin, the religion we follow, the language we speak, the customs we participate in, or the place our families migrated from matter? Why do we still base every little thing on race. Why do we group people of the same religion in with the “bad” people who fall within the same religion, ethnicity, etc. We stereotype people based on what we think we “know”. People assume Syrian refugees are only here to harm us, or bring their war over seas, those same people assume all African American men are thugs or that all Indigenous people are all lazy drunks. We blame an entire group of people for what happened on September 11th many years ago, and we belittle an entire race of people for the way they coped with residential school trauma.
Why do we continue down this hatred paved path where we allow our ignorance to cloud our judgement and continuously blame innocent people for things that they weren’t even a part of? I don’t know, But I know it needs to stop. Something needs to change, we need to stop looking into the roots of people, at the color of their skin, or of how they decide to dress and base our judgements – because people will always judge – on the person they personally are, not who they remind us of or on who they may be related to. We need to realise that our world started out as one, whether you believe in creation or evolution, we all came from the same place. We all began, every race, every ancestor, in Pangea. Our world was one. I am one of the palest white girls I have ever known, mostly because I hate bugs and being hot so I don’t go tanning in the summer, but its also my genetics. I was born with blue eyes and dark blonde hair and so the world just sees me as a Caucasian. I like to surprise them and inform them that, yes mostly white/Caucasian/European and I haven’t had to deal with racism and (as much) hate, I am also Middle eastern, Native American, and a whole handful of other ethnicities. What I’m trying to prove is that we are not our race or the color of our skin. We are not our religion, we are not the language we speak or the god we pray to, we are not the same as the bad people who share the same home land, we are all unique and beautiful and we shouldn’t fear being who we are or be procescuted for what our ancestors did before we were even a thought in our parents minds; we are all one.
I realize that most people don’t see it that way, or perhaps I’m generalizing as well, but I have met more people who judge others by what happened in the past or by what they look like. I’m not going to sit here and act like I haven’t been that kind of person, I can’t say I never placed a certain religion, race or type of people in one group based on what the media reports or because of one bad person. But ive realized that no one deserves to be judged based on what we don’t know or understand or because of their skin tone. I guess once the roles are reversed and you get a taste of how much it hurts you change.
I’m not perfect and I know that, I use to fear middle eastern people and judge East Asian families based on their ability to build dream homes – which in reality was just my jealousy – but I also judged my primary race. I use to speak down on catholic people because of Residential schools. I would judge Europeans for taking land that wasn’t available to be “claimed”, for enslaving other races, for their ignorance and holy-er than thou attitudes. I was always trying to cope with the fact that my primary ethnicity, my ancestors, hurt – and continue to hurt – so many people in so many ways and in my own way make up for their mistakes. But when I fell in love with a boy from another ethnicity he only saw me as a white girl. He knew who I was inside, he knew how much I hated the fact that Europeans caused so much pain to other races, he knew I wasn’t the same and yet he grouped me into that category and used it against me. I let him. I won’t put it all on him because I was already struggling with it. I allowed him to stay close to me because I thought he would change his mind one day, if he saw how much I loved him, how much I hated my own “kind”. It never worked, it just allowed the wound to fester and cause irreversible pain.
That pain changed me. Every time I see or hear someone judging someone based on what they looked like on the outside I remember the pain I felt. I put myself in their shoes and I understand; I empathize, I can’t understand the depths of the pain people feel when they love with the racism daily, but I can empathize, And it kills me. It kills me to know that people deal with this daily.