The future depends on what you do today. Mahatma Gandhi
These words are so poignant today. 2020 has been a challenging year so far. Humanity has been tested. We have all experienced every emotion possible due to the many challenges we faced and continue to face in just the first half of this year.
Who would have thought that we would be in the biggest pandemic of our lives? Everything that we have planned and worked towards this year has suddenly been put on hold and there’s no telling if and when we will resume our normal lives. On top of all of this, racism continues to be a battle that exposes our darkest fears. As we witnessed the brutal murder in America of George Floyd, by a US police officer, there has been angry and peaceful protests all over the world. This has brought every colour in the human race together, to talk and discuss openly the effects and impact of racism. If you feel that this does not affect you, then think again. Ignoring the subject will not make it go away. Instead, we must use this opportunity to learn, ask questions and support one another. As parents, we are educators by default. It is our duty to educate ourselves about subjects that affects us all, so that we can better educate our children. Encourage your children to befriend another child of a different race, religion, sex or disability. Encourage them to travel and be open minded and most importantly not to judge, but to be tolerant.
As a black woman who has and continues to face racism, this has been very difficult to watch and even talk about. However, if we continue to remain silent or shy away from subjects that are uncomfortable, then we are no better than the oppressor.
As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. We want our children to get the best grades, accepted into top universities, get a stable and well paid job, reach the top of their career and have a happy and healthy family of their own. But I shouldn’t have to explain to my five year old that black people around the world are being discriminated against and killed because of the colour of their skin. My fourteen year old son who will be entering his final year in secondary school, shouldn’t have to worry that he will have to work twice as hard as his white colleagues to achieve equality because of the colour of his skin. These are worrying words for a child to understand and accept. My daughter asked me, “mummy is my skin ugly”? “Are you scared”? How heart breaking is this? So the next time someone says to me, “Kim, I understand how you must feel…. to be called a ‘nigger’, to be spat at in the streets, asked how much you charge for sex or shouted at by workmen as you walk to school, look at that darky over there”. No, you don’t know how I feel. But you can help stop it by educating yourselves and your children. For racism is taught. We are not born racist.
We cannot erase history, but we can write our future. If there is one lesson that we must learn from these demonstrations, is respect. For with respect, we learn to be tolerant and accepting. Accepting of others religion, beliefs, culture, colour, status, disability and sexuality.