I remember the first time racism found its way into my life. It was Edmonton in 1981. I had just moved to Canada from Nigeria.
That's right, a mixed race six-year-old boy with a name that wasn't so popular on the prairies. I probably had a bit of an accent too. I was in the playground near my home playing with the other neighbourhood kids. I thought everything was cool until out of the blue one of them yelled out "Ni**er" and it was directed at me! Now, I don't remember what triggered it and I didn't actually know what it meant but, I knew it was mean.
I went home and told my Mom what happened. She, like any protective Mom, was furious. She explained the "N" word is a "derogatory term some people use to describe black people."
From that point on while living in that neighbourhood, I had to deal with being called the "N" word whenever one of my "friends" or schoolmates was angry with me or wanted to make fun of me.
At its worst point, three neighbourhood kids chased me down the street with baseball bats calling me racist names because they didn't want me to play with them any more.
At first, after learning what that word means and realizing that there are people out there that hated based on race, I got angry.
Each time I was confronted with overt racism I would either respond with a rude statement of my own, or fists. The more this happened though, I saw that I was the one who was losing. The other kid would achieve his or her goal. My blood pressure would go up, I would get in trouble from teachers or my parents for fighting and at the end of it, there was no closure. I would be left completely unsatisfied and spent.
My Dad eventually explained to me that I can't control the way other people act. I can only control how I react. I know myself better than anyone else so, if someone calls me a name because I'm black, I know better.
ca.news.yahoo.com/racism-aliv...W4tQ0E-;_ylv=3 (external - login to view)
That's very unfortunate - of course. But ask someone who's overweight what derogatory words they hear constantly. Or anyone who is especially one thing or another. Or maybe don't have the 'right' shoes. Or English is a second language. Or maybe their especially good looking. Imagine that. I hate to break it to some of you - but the 'N' word is NOT the worst thing a person can be called. And it's not the most hurting either. They're ALL hurting. Human beings - generally speaking - are not very nice. His dad gave him great advice. He needs to use it - but not ONLY when words sting him. He should readily come to the defence [as we all should] of anyone who's been mistreated. For whatever reason.
Racism exists, sure. But being black or native doesn't give you the market on bigotry. Women still face all kinds of bigotry, sometimes because of how they dress, or who they are married to or what their job is or just because they are women. Gays probably have more hatred directed at them than any black or native person. People with disabilities suffer through hate as well. White people also face bigotry from other races. I am always surprised when hate is directed at a gay person or a white person or a woman, from someone who is black....you would think having suffered as a race as much as they have that black people would not be bigots themselves, but there ya go.
Bigotry exists in many forms against many people for just about any stupid reason they can make up. So good for you for sticking up for one type of bigotry, you should, but that is only one form of bigotry against one type of person. But I would be willing to bet that you have told or listened to and laughed about a joke about women, or gays, or asians. You're no hero buddy, and you are only scratching the surface of hatred and your very narrow focus in the article points that out pretty clearly.
As a black man ,this journalist may not believe that white people suffer from discrimination too. I moved into a Jewish neighbourhood as a kid and if your parents weren't somebody and you weren't Jewish, you didn't matter. I couldn't believe it as I had never experienced an indifferent constant discrimination before.
It riles me still when people dislike you or find you at fault for no reason. If done because of race, it sucks just the same as any other reason that there is constant unacceptance.
But you can carry a chip about it too and that doesn't help you win
But I hate Political Correctness just as much as racism because it is also prescriptive and oppressive and omnipresent. And it's quite alive and well in the media, in community leaders and in the government, particularly the government where people so far from the street live in a pearl and believe they are right.
I think the author of the article has the right idea, certainly I don't fault him for feeling the insults that he's felt, were I in his position I'd have felt the same way. And his father's advice was the best kind of advice, you can't force people to change. But I can't also help but agree with some of the points in the first comment, we see, can't help but see, the injustice and the bigotry that is directed at those with whom we identify in some way but I think we do often miss "the other side" of things. It is fundamentally true that human beings are cruel creatures, intolerant and unforgiving and we all need to work to overcome that.
The other comment that resonates highly with me personally is the last comment with respect to Political Correctness, in and of itself not a bad idea but one that I do think often becomes as critical and judgmental as those it seeks to condemn.
I couldn't help but reflect on some of the arguments I've seen here on this forum (justifications for comments, outright condemnations of others) while reading through the article and the commentary. What I take away, primarily, from this piece is not that racism and bigotry exist, I already knew that, but just how blind we all are to our own role in it.