A rare reminder that I'm not welcome.
For 26 years of my life, I've lived in Hastings and aside from the lack of food choices and general activities, I've enjoyed my time here. Despite being in a predominantly Caucasian area, I feel like the level of racism experienced wasn’t as bad as those before me. Even in my adolescence, I hardly ever experienced racial abuse. However, the feeling of acceptance from those around me is a different story. In primary and secondary school, I was one of a very little number of coloured individuals. There were only 5 I’d say, in the entire school, of which were not in my year. There's a short back story, let’s move on to the most recent racist incident I experienced.
Last week Wednesday, I walked to the local corner shop with my baby brother. As we were walking, a white man walked past us staring into my eyes in sort of a vindictive manner, and proceeded to say ‘you’re not welcome here’ followed by the hurling of abuse such as, "paki", "leave the country" "Muslims aren’t welcome here". It’s been a good 10 years since I’ve encountered any sort of racial abuse, it’s not something I’m used to even though I’ve had it before. Thankfully, the encounter didn’t last long, and he walked away after having spoken his mind.
I didn’t decide to write this blog because I wanted to share that experience, it was to speak my thoughts on how it felt, my life growing up in a predominantly white town, and the effects it’s had on me, if any. I’m not looking for pity, I don’t need that. I’m more concerned for others. I can happily live in this country while there are others who wish for our demise. The hatred routed in these individuals is worrying.
I worry for them, not myself
The emotions experienced after racial encounters subsides quickly. It’s not something I tend to dwell on. My concern is the aversion of those who speak in an unacceptable manner. I will never understand why they do it but what I will happily outright say is that it’s a form of incomprehension. Not because they’re not capable of understanding, it’s something deeper than that, it’s a refusal of acceptance. Countless times I have watched debates and public videos of racism, and despite a valid point being stated, these individuals ignore the point continuing with their verbal abuse. If this is their way of coping then so be it, it’s their mental state that is affected short term and long term. I just hope their views aren’t passed onto those after them, wishful thinking right?
Okay, I don’t want to play the victim card but there have been some moments within the work environment where for example, I haven’t been recognised for the same achievement as my peers and I’ve been reprimanded in situations where my colleagues haven't been. I always try my best to assume the best in people, but people don’t make it easy. I continue to give them the benefit of the doubt, but seclusion is real, it’s annoying but, I know this happens on a regular occasion to others. I’d rather know if you feel a particular emotion about me than bottle it up. I end up finding nuanced hints as if they want me to play detective, intuition is real, you can just sense it.
To end this blog, my biggest annoyance towards racist individuals isn’t so much that act itself, as you cannot preclude racism. It’s who they target, it’s the people that don’t speak up as they don’t feel the need to or they target in groups to threaten and make them feel superior. The ignorance possessed by racists is baffling, if they had just picked up a book and comprehended the benefits of multi-cultural backgrounds then maybe, just maybe we’d see a glimmer of hope. The famous saying ‘go back to your country’ never fails to amuse, the benefit scroungers are being paid by the same people they slander. You can do everything in your power to change a person’s view but unless they want to listen, their irrational views will never make sense to a mentally stable person.
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