The color white
Time to stop sugar coating and say it as it is.
White privilege. White power. White preposterousness. They exist. Period.
The first two privilege and power, are externally evident, historical as well as socially proven facts that have, are and will drive the world for decades, nay centuries.
Preposterousness exists internally in their minds when the color white seeps in from the skin and makes them believe that they are superior to other races and have the right to rule over them and accept them as civilized humans at their terms.
You do not need to look up to a White supremacist or a KKK/ Neo Nazi supporter to understand what I am talking about.
There are tens, if not hundreds of stories in any colored man’s life in interactions with racist ‘ordinary’ common white men and women. As you grow older, your experiences become ‘richer’ or ‘poorer’ as you may like to name them. For the White man cannot differentiate between your beard or a skull cap at the place of worship and that of the terrible sounding Mullah or a Sikh priest in some distant land who may be shown as issuing sermons against the Western civilization. You may be a part of their community and a law abiding, ordinary citizen of their country but your color, culture, language, accent, religion are giveaways and make you an outcast in the society even if you or your children are first, second or seventh generation immigrant.
Forget the White supremacist or a racist, many among the so called accepting, understanding, liberal, left leaning White people feel heroic and expect to be treated as special when they extend humanly treatment to people of color. After all they have shown benevolence in treating that different human earthling as equal. Hail thy greatness! Shame on me for not considering this as an act of kindness but just normal human behavior. After all I am not living in that crazy third world of mine where I was equal and have moved to the White world where I should feel privileged to be treated as one.
Today the pain of Chirstchurch shooting runs deep. Yesterday it was Montreal or Wisconsin. Tomorrow it could be some other city, somewhere else. It won’t stop. It has never before.
And mark my words, while there would be a forced silence, a muted response or even an outwardly symbol of support, the feeling is temporary. After all this is not how the White people consider they are and a Brenton Tarrant or an Andres Breivik are not a product of hate and mistrust running deep but just aberrations. And God forbid, they are not terrorists. Only a brown or a black man can be terrorist. White people, they could be mistaken but definitely not terrorists. Terrorism specifically excludes Whiteness. Even the great leader himself considers that there are ‘fine men’ on the extreme right side of White supremacists and that it is not the common people but only a few who could be bad apples.
But the moment any act of violence or dissent is carried out in the Western world by a colored person, all hell will break loose and anti-immigrant, religion or color phobic stories will spread like wild fire and the right wing will take charge of another country or region supported by common people. And a common colored man like me will feel scared the moment they enter a subway of being mistakenly thrown on the tracks or mothers will continue to wait till their sons reach back home especially if they grow a rebellious beard.
Today we live in a delusionary world where we conveniently blame a few right wingers for spreading hate and venom and dividing people for their gains. They exist because racism runs deep among average common citizens.
Donald Trump got elected as President of the greatest democracy of the world. Not on his own or with the help of his venomous campaign or support of just the right wing. But by the actual votes cast by the silent majority of White people who supported his ideology and views. Externally they may have sounded accepting to their colored community members or co-workers but in that room when they marked their vote on the ballot, the mind clearly spoke out in favor a person who was standing to make America hate again and transform into a land symbol of White power.
Canada too is waiting for its turn with emotions running high. Andrew Scheer feels that it is his time as Trump’s message has clearly divided the communities in Canada and the committed Conservative right wing is in the right frame of mind. With Liberals facing one scandal after another and the common White man quizzical if not disgusted or distasteful of that Brown man in turban desperately trying to lead another party, his chances are strong. So obviously he has to chose his words carefully even in condolences while ensuring that his statements do not alienate his base. And off course there have been and there will be other suitable times to generate religious, cultural or color based phobia to ensure that the ‘common’ citizen comes in the Right frame of mind to vote.
Do we have hope still? And I am not talking politically for regime changes but in our day to day lives. Can racism become a story of the past in cities becoming more diverse and in the world turning into a global village? Would we mingle and be a melting pot or still prefer our ghettos?
Honestly I feel it is difficult in the Western world as White privilege runs deep and it is not going to be given away so easily. Even in an extremely diverse city like Toronto! It needs a paradigm shift in the mindset for people to become color blind.
We get conditioned by how society makes us believe or our own experiences and I myself have got influenced by how the White world has treated me over a decade and how I have become a second or a third grade citizen in my adopted country. Yet I guess I cannot give up on hope and make that extra effort to open my heart out and hope that one day the warmth of our soul is enough to touch our hearts and make us truly believe that we are one.
Privilege and power. Let preposterousness be given away and then we will have a way! Amen.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.