Updated: Nov 12, 2021
Positively Powerfully Pondering
I remember when I was sixteen, walking with a friend through the streets of Elephant and Castle, London. Whilst walking, I saw a tiny framed boy on his bike coming towards me. I attempted to step aside, only to see the biker swerve towards me as if to hit me.
I remember looking at him, yelling quite loudly; "Oi!".
I then looked to the right, about thirty feet from him, I saw what looked like thirty other boys on bikes, headed towards me. They looked like a gang! I remember thinking; "What in the world!" I suddenly went on to pretend that i was asking if the tiny framed biker was okay. He looked at me with a stern look, and then yelled out to his friends; "he is safe" riding away from me.
I remember another scenario that happened whilst i was living
in Peckham, London, again at the age of sixteen, when a man that at the time looked like was in his twenties would stop me and asked when i got paid from work as he wanted me to hand him my pay. I remember once thinking to myself; "I can't take this anymore, I better take something with me to defend myself with", I'm so glad that i never saw that man again after i made that decision.
I have told the above true stories to say, those encounters, as well as others, at one point framed my mindset into thinking that "anyone that looked like someone that has attempted to cause me trouble in the past was to be cautiously approached and possibly avoided". Of course, I'd agree that the mindset was wrong but it was my coping mechanism for a time.
When it comes to race, i have come to a place where skin color truly doesn't matter (to me).
I personally see humans. That said, i have been on both sides of the spectrum, being accused or accusing.... I remember a woman many years ago, telling a friend of mine (at the time) to beware of me as a friend. I remember thinking, "I'm not a bad person, why would she say that".
I have stayed away from talking about what race the people in the above stories were but i can say some of them where black as i am.
We have had all kinds of tension and racial turmoil in the last few years, we have seen racism, as well as perceived racism.
We have also seen people being accused of racism that may not be racist.
For someone who has been racially abused, but also had my fellow blacks treat me dreadfully, I find it difficult to throw the race card at every perceived wrong doing by someone of a different race.
I was recently speaking with five black acquaintances about the vandalism that went with the protests that happened in 2020. And whilst we did not all initially agree, it was refreshing to see us respectfully discuss the topic. We eventually concluded by agreeing that yes not all protesters where involved in vandalism but for those that were, it did not help in any way.
If i were hiring, I wouldn't hire because of a persons race. I'd be looking for skills, character, plus a person that i can work with. As a black man, (especially if you are a minority in your sphere of association), it is sometimes easy to think "Is it because i'm back?"
I recently had a conversation with a lovely lady who felt she may have been treated a certain way because of her gender, so this really isn't peculiar to race. And yes, discrimination exists, but sometimes, it may actually not be racism.
To address the racism issue, the only way we can truly do this (in my opinion) is to be the person, black, white, brown or any other colour, be the person you want people to perceive you and your race as.
I have found that many who are racist are ignorant, if they see you to defy their expectation of a certain race, i believe their views can begin to change.
And yes, racism or perceived racism isn't going to stop overnight, we can take one step at a time, one step to enlighten, one step to confront (if need be), one step to make peace and one step to be the example.
Finally, I do not be-little anyone that has been racially abused or their experience, I to have been racially abused, but, to heal and really move forward, to find a true solution, we need to move away from a victim mindset.
As an example, many of us may have been bullied at school. If we carry on with a victim mindset regarding the fact that we were bullied, we'll never move forward. We have to take what we've learnt from the experience and really try and help not just those that are being bullied, but those that bully so everyone can live mutually in peace.
With that said, i will do my uttermost best to do my bit to help with a better racism free world, how about you?
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