What being an Antiracist means!
Why it is so important for you to become an ANTIRACIST! #BlackLivesMatter
Until now, being a non-racist felt safe and good. But it is no longer an option! There is a need to speak out against racism, there is a need for all of us to show up as Antiracists #BlackLivesMatter!
These are troubling times where hope is so needed. Hope that we can see through the lie and face the fact, there is no such thing as being a NON-racist! If #BlackLivesMatter to you, and you believe everyone deserves to be free, then you are a Antiracist and you need to speak up against racism.
The truth (being an Antiracist #BlackLivesMatter) behind the lie (being a non-racist)
The lie is how we behave according to our goal!
The truth is we all want to be loved
The lie, you can’t see color.
The truth, racism exists.
The lie is I am better than you because I am physically superior, mentally superior or I believe in something that you don’t.
The truth is we are all equal in our humanity.
My first experience as a non-racist
Today, I wish to share with you my first experience as a non-racist. I wish to show you that being a non-racist is the same as being a racist, just with the mask of “I see no difference so why should there be difference in how we are treated”.
That is the lie that we comfort ourselves with. We comfort ourselves so that we don’t have to face the fact, there are differences and we need to work together to move past them. These differences exist and I support them because as a white person I get things easier than others, the “non-white” people! Not only do I get things easier, I feel that it is my right!
My first non-racist experience was at the age of 12, I had just moved from South Africa to Portugal. My brother and I went alone so my parents could take care of some things before joining us. We would stay with my maternal grandparents, who lived in a small town in the north of Portugal.
I was to attend school in this town. The small school was not far from my grandparent’s house, so I could walk every day to school.
In the beginning, I would walk alone and scared. I was scared because this freedom of being allowed to walk alone was so new, so uncomfortable, so alone.
The truth is, I had always had freedom.
The truth is, I had taken someone else’s freedom away for 12 years… but back then, I didn’t know that.
One day, after this frightening freedom, I was confronted by my art teacher who came up to me in class, in front of all my new friends, and asked me what it was like living in the apartheid. She was curious to know why my family decided to move after Nelson Mandela was released from prison and the apartheid was falling.
I still remember looking at her and repeating, or trying to repeat what she had said…
At the age of 12, that was the first time I was confronted with that word. You see, living in South Africa, I didn’t live in anything special or different. It was not right nor wrong. That was my life, and being white, it was comfortable. So why question it.
My teacher was shocked at my reply and explained to me what the apartheid was. I remember thinking, I am only 12, give me a break.
That was my first non-racist excuse.
“I am only 12!”
I wore that excuse as a badge of honor until recently. Until I found out about the death of George Floyd. I then cried. I cried not only for the tragic death of a human being, someone who, like myself, had dreams, fears and needs. I also cried for the fact that I was allowing it to happen. I was a non-racist and that was NOT OKAY.
You see, I was a non-racist because of the comfort it brought me.
I was comfortable in SA so I didn’t discriminate but neither did I help change things.
I was comfortable in Portugal, at the age of 12, so why allow people to judge me as the racist I was. I could have said sorry. Sorry for enjoying life while… no, not while! But because of other people’s suffering.
My parent’s work was better because of the color of their skin, the apartment we lived in was safe and clean and filled with food, because of the color of our skin. My family was safe, and that was because we were white.
Being a non-racist allowed me to be comfortable and not question why.
Why the black ladies who loved and cared for me did not feel comfortable eating with me at the same time or on the same table. This was not requested by anyone in my family. It was what society demanded, and we all just accept it. My family accepted it because that was how things were, these beautiful ladies accepted it because of their fear.
What I have shared here is how I used to live, how I saw the world and benefited from being white. How I justified to myself that I was not strong enough or important enough to make a change. How I enjoyed the comfort of being born white.
How many of you are doing the same?
How many of you are hiding behind the term non-racist?
What is happening in America is not just an American Issue, it is a world issue. We are all responsible, all of us allowed this to continue… most of us because we were non-racist.
Until reading that someone was murdered by authorities, by people we should trust with our lives, and in a time of such pain and isolation. Until then, I was proud of being a non-racist. Now, I know I am a camouflaged racist that lived a very comfortable life and, because of that comfort decided not to speak out for all the injustice around me.
Now, I am clear.
Now, I am not a non-racist, I’m learning how to become an Antiracist.
Now, I wish to speak out, speak truth over lies.
In the book “How to be an Antiracist”, Ibram X Kendi explains beautifully the difference between these terms, and explains the importance of being a Antiracist. I will spend my time learning from him and others and wish to share with you what I am learning.
I am open to dialogue on this topic, and wish to see all sides that this topic, racism has. Please let me know how you feel and your views, fears and beliefs… let us grow together, embracing diversity and respecting each other’s uniqueness!
If you wish to share, please do so in the comments below or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org