I’m almost 22-years-old and I never had a close friend who wasn’t White. Most of the people of colour I know personally are related to me and, you know, family is something else. You love them, but you don’t really tell them everything; you don’t tell them about your insecurities.
I wish I had at least one friend who understood my exhaustion without me having to explain it.
I love every single friend I have, but I really wish I had that extra one.
Someone who tells me that it’s fine to feel angry; someone who understands the discomfort being called “Blackie” by everyone else’s favourite gym teacher (when, hey, I’m not even Black); someone who grew up with both pizza and curry.
Someone I could talk to about not being able to communicate with my parents because of language barriers. Someone who will never say that Brown girls can only be uglier than White ones.
I now find comfort in reading books by BAME authors. Stories have always been my way to feel included.
But the problem is still here. It wasn’t just about absence, but also the fragmented communication with White people (Not. All. Of. Them.)
Of course, it’s hard to talk to someone if they’re being racist. Problem is, racism is not always easy to spot. Some racists would say and do bad things. Some will write awful comments under articles on Facebook. Some will just treat you differently.
It’s also hard to talk to people who don’t listen or care. And this, unfortunately, applies to all kinds of relationships, not just the interracial ones.
It’s hard when people acknowledge racism but refuse to be associated with the benefits that come with White privilege. There are, obviously, other structures at play, such as sexism, class, gender, sexuality, etc.
But you can’t really say that it’s fine because reverse racism exists (spoiler alert: it doesn’t. Just like reverse sexism or heterophobia). You must listen. We are trying to tell you about how we feel, something that hopefully you will never go through.
It doesn’t help if you leave us to be the activists. Racism, just like others, is a power structure, created to the benefit of one group, in this case White people. We can shout as much as we want, but you have to help.
Trust me, we are tired of this too. We are not trying to ‘make everything about race’, we are just showing you what our life is like. Ours is not a battle that we chose to fight, it’s something we were forced to deal with.
Being called immigrants, instead of expats; being considered bad people because of the race we belong to; not getting a job because of our name, our colour, our ethnicity; being considered illegal when we were invited to help you rebuild a country.
Does it make us activists to ask for some basic rights?