Below is a racism experience of a friend in America, a doctor. It’s good to add that my friend Agneta, was separated from her family for several weeks, to help fight COVID-19 in New York. Everyday she narrated how horrifying it was, how devastating it was to watch patients succumb to corona virus . She braved all these numbing situations, to give hope and to help restore good health to patients. With no cure at hand, those patients needed all the love and care they could get from the medical experts, to keep them going. These are the kind of people the white supremacists in America don’t appreciate. People who could literally be their guardian angels.
The narration is verbatim.
“The struggle of being Black/ African American/ dark skinned in this great country called the United States of America. For those who deny/ don’t understand what “WHITE PRIVILEGE” is. Please let me enlighten you.
To begin with, I have often asked my husband (he is Caucasian/ White), I dislike using these terms “Black/ White). I have often shown him the white walls in our house and the black paintings in our house and asked him if he really resembled the walls and if I resembled his black iphone. His answer “ yeah you are being too much”, he literary means that maybe am being too literal.
But am I? In America people see color. Color is actually inscribed in this country’s system/ DNA.
Yes the system is racist. Say start out by renting/buying a house, enrolling in school, buying a car, looking for work, etc every form you fill out “demands” you check out your race/ color; “White, Black, Hispanic, Asian” etc. I have often asked my “White” husband how many times he ever applied for a job or was working at a job and someone asked him “yes literary asked him” if he would really be good at that job because he was a certain color. Now my husband is no young man. His response was none. How many times did any of his children ever get bullied in school or were told by other kids that they couldn’t play with them because they were “brown” oh and white and brown don’t mix. My sons are told this all the time. My husband’s answer was none. When him and I walk into a room, or a bank, or we go somewhere corporate, the person attending to us, always, I say this because it happens 90% of the time. Often times after we have introduced ourselves and he says, this is my wife. I am somehow often times excluded out of the conversation for minutes on end. The person never refers to me or acknowledges my presence at all, it often goes something like this “Mr. Sebring, you want to purchase xyz, will this be an investment for you”, they never maintain eye contact with me or any time in the conversation try to acknowledge am sitting next to my husband, even when my husband replys “my wife and I, my family” etc.
I have often times asked my husband, how many times when working on a job his boss often told him “people like you,” can never do this. His answer none.
How many times has my husband been stopped by the police when driving in any neighborhood and asked what he was doing there. He has never been stopped by the police “for no reason” whereas I have been stopped several times.
How many times has he gone out to purchase something and the person blankly refused to sell the stuff to him because he was black. Zero times. This has happened to me several times. By the way, let me brag a bit, in 13 years I have never had a speeding ticket not even a warning. I know right. Knock on wood….
One time someone told me they would rather burn their car than sell it to me. Yes and they said because I was black. Hahahah.
When my husband and I started dating, a few of his family members were “concerned” and asked how I was going to be introduced to the family/ to their kids because “I was black”. Yes those were their words. Nobody ever asked how Brad was going to be introduced in my family because “he was White”. When they met him, they were interested in Brad the person not Brad the White guy.
Before anyone speaks to me about “White privilege” not existing.
There are things “Brad/ my husband” says this often” that I go through that he will never go through or understand. Being Black means you have to put up with everything humans have to put up with plus also go through other things just because you are Black. A White person will never understand this.
When my 6 year old son comes to me crying from school that “kids told him at the playground in school that he couldn’t play with them because he was brown, and they were tan”. By the way that was the first time I had ever had it described like that. I know what many of you are thinking, why not enrol him in another school, maybe that school is not good. He has experienced this in every school he has been. This is his 3rd school. It is not that simple.
When I first came to this country (Spring 2008) I began experiencing these things, a friend advised and said “Cynthia you are just going to have to develop a thick skin”. Wow here I was in one of the “greatest countries” on earth but I was going to have to have to develop a “thick skin” in order to survive. I never did that for 19 years in Kenya. I have experienced a lot in this country that I never did in my own “shithole country”. This is the price I have to pay for “freedom, financial security, democracy, equality” etc. going on 13 years later, I often wonder if I have now “developed the thick skin”. The answer is, I don’t really know if I have, it still hurts everytime I am bullied for being “Black/ an immigrant” just like it did in 2008. Maybe just maybe, I have to start teaching the boys to “develop a thick skin” in order to grow up in a country they were born in. I have to enlighten them in love and also share with them what they may have to experience as Black boys in America.
The list is endless, this same scenario goes for immigrants.
People often assume a lot about immigrants. By the way even though these people that often make assumptions have never stepped foot in our countries. They assume we are poor, we don’t speak English, we are never good enough, because we have an accent, look different, they assume we don’t know anything, they assume a lot about our culture, values, dressing, religion. Yes they assume we are BENEATH them. A patient of mine once asked me “when I had learned their language” he was referring to English. I had no idea English belonged to anyone. I told him I spoke 4 languages and was more fluent in English than the other 3 because I had spoken it since I was a baby. Yes. I know, we immigrants speak English with an accent, by the way even though English is supposedly not my first language, I still cant stand how “native” English speakers especially in this country butcher their so called language, they haven’t mastered the past, present tense and have many grammatical errors in their sentences. We still beat them in research and essays. How is that???
There are also different categories of immigrants. Yes I know. The “good and bad immigrants”. Those from lets say Germany aren’t the same “kind” of immigrants as those from let’s say Syria, Pakistan, African countries, India, Vietnam. Even though we all come here and assimilate just as much. Those from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan are kind of terrorists. At my place of work, there was this Pakistani doctor, yes he was a Muslim, one of the best doctors, hands down one of the kindest man I have ever met. Him and his family had to move back to Pakistan last year because they experienced so much bullying and death threats that he nolonger considered living here safe. His son couldn’t go to school anymore. Other kids ridiculed him so much that he was afraid to go to school. The problem is, if you have never experienced this kind of HATE you may not understand what it really means or what it does.
But still we immigrants, most of us, are very successful. Amidst all of that pain, hatred, and struggle we still continue to be a success story in this country (yes in these United States of America). We still propel to greatness. Look at healthcare (doctors and nurses), the IT world, the banking system, the business owners, the wealthy in this country. We shall continue to rise!!!!!!
One day my sons will arise to greatness, yes they will be just like their mother. An epitome of hope, strength, love, greatness, justice, success, and beauty. Black is bold and beautiful.”
Just thinking about living every day of my life with racists gives me chills and with children also experiencing the same thing, the torture is unimaginable. If you are white and you don’t like what’s going on, what have you done about it? If you are just quiet, it means you are okay with it.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, not politic, nor popular, but he must takes it because conscience tells him it is right”~Martin Luther King Jr.
“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally”~Abrahalm Lincoln