Each person is unique and can be defined in the way that they choose. Each individual can identify however way they like and it is our responsibilities to ask, NOT assume we know someone’s cultural identity.
There is this talk about the Golden Rule and yet we ignore that all the time. We assume what society tells us is right and think it is okay to call someone a name because of their physical appearance or skin colour.
There is constant repetition of this and people are left oppressed. Others take advantage of the situation to better their wallets. I wonder why we keep letting our society do this. Wait. We are our society. Our racism is not invisible.
Why are we undermined by the lens of the privileged people? We must say, “I am not the label you give me.”
We are tired of being what people judge with their eyes before they get to know us. Tired with how every obstacle in our way is because of what their lens will see. They see us and we wonder why, why do they stare so hard?
Under the microscope, we're judged by our outer physique. Thinking about our colour, our hair… and then our experience and skills. Working twice as hard has been our motto for years and for what? Some recognition by the privileged. Our racism is not invisible.
Time and time again we look at how many struggles we’ll have after getting our degree. For a person of colour, this is a reality. They will never know what we have gone through to get here, to get to their interview.
The privileged person will be our boss tomorrow and then where do we go when they discriminate us? How do we feel safe at work with a boss who will never understand our struggles? Our oppression?
Again and again the struggles occur but I don’t concur. Can no longer smile when I work so hard and receive nothing.
No freedom until we’re equal? NO. No freedom until equity is served like an all you can eat buffet with all the works and a never-ending supply of food. Equity in the workplace. I don’t want to work harder than everyone else just to get the same job with less pay because of my colour.
Our racism is not invisible. Visibility is in the everyday struggles of human beings experiencing poverty, discrimination and a constant web of tangled fears that a better tomorrow will not happen, cannot be possible.
How can they say that they do not see colour, are colour-blind? With skin paler than the moon and a high paying job, how do you have the audacity to say that you do not see colour when you have a perfect view from your clouds, and the rest of us have to squint to see?
You do not allow the rest of us to share that view with you. That's the view we want to dream of, but have been told again and again that we do not belong there.
Why do we belong on the ground? In the pollution you created? In the air you choke us with because it is too difficult to breathe. You are not colour-blind. You chose to keep us lower to benefit your journey to the top.
Our racism is not invisible.
About the Author:
Catia Aguilar is a youth-co-researcher in the Voices against Violence project. She participated in a Brampton-ON-based research group this during the summer/fall of 2013.