• Iysha co-founder

St. Helens The Best Me CIC support the black lives matter campaign.

By Shana

I myself a dark skinned south Asian can relate to the racism within our own communities, the anti-blackness that still exists.

These conversations are always difficult, however what in life that was easy held any meaning? None.

Never fear hard work or hard conversations, silence allows the oppression to go on and allows racism to thrive.

When we were growing up, my father said “I never want to see you with a white man, black man, or a Pakistani man”

So not only was my father fearful of white people, he was disgusted by black people, hated Arabs, and hated Pakistani’s the most.

My mother (a village lady) was fearful of people with tattoos. “Tattooed people are dangerous”. As an oppressed woman herself, trying to be brave, in such difficult circumstances she raised 6 British children.

Black skin tone is still frowned upon in many Asian countries. My skin tone is very dark compared to my siblings, so even within my own race, colourism was very prevalent (Disliking people with dark skin, I felt it and lived it). My future prospects was less than my fairer siblings, just because of the colour of my skin.

Racism and segregation was something that was instilled in us from a young age. “Don’t mix” ...

My siblings and I (2nd generation) did rebel against the hate, because we were born in the UK. We were British Bangladeshi people. We didn’t care about other people’s race or religion or the colour of their skin. We treated everyone fairly because we were brought up in east London, a very multicultural city.

I remember my dad beating me up one day for being too westernised, my best friend at the time a white girl called Lisa Payne, my dad hated our friendship.. his words; “when they look at you, you will always be a black paki in their eyes, so don’t befriend those who are not like you, don’t be fooled by your white friends, they will betray you, influence you, but never accept you as you are not white”.

Looking into my fathers history, he faced a lot of racism when he came to the UK, (70’s) his racist mind also came from many generations of fear, (after India was colonised way before our time).

People fear what they don’t know (other races) and People build fears on negative experiences (colonialism, racism) There is a thing called “community trauma” that is passed on..

Today we have lots of bi-racial nieces and nephews and my father is no longer part of our family. I don’t hate my father. All of his life he reacted with his limited view of the world, with his limited involvement of trusting other races and held onto his negative experiences from racism. Hate doesn’t stop further hate, his inability to widen his perspective, forgive those in his past and fear driven mindset meant he was left behind.

My mother is free now, and has grown children with tattoos (Me) She doesn’t fear tattooed people anymore.

Remember Darkness can not defeat the darkness in a person’s heart, only the light can do that.

I had an overseas Chinese friend who came to the UK to study during my university days, and he told me his parents do not approve of our friendship. We got along because we understood our parents negative mindsets, biases and stereotype. We laughed. We knew racism existed however never allowed our parents racism to influence our minds. We called it out.

I had a Palestinian friend, he told me his parents do not approve of our friendship.. same story. Racist parents. We called it out.

My white friends tell me stories about how their grandparents use to say “behave or the black man is going to get you!” We call it out.

So racism does exist. Structural racism exist. Cultural racism exist. Racism within races exist.

Racism is a disease of the mind that is passed down. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Helping the oppressed can help eliminate Racism. The fight for Equity. Calling out structural racism is important. Our friends who are protected from racism should be fighting this battle by our side. It’s not about “all lives matter” who said all lives didn’t matter? I know my black friends need more support and I support you. I see the injustice for my black friends. I got your back. I relate to your trauma. Trauma from the injustice of being black, I feel it. Why should being black deprive you? Make you less than? This isn’t right.

Tokenistic gestures in the workplace will not make it go away... it might make a few of those feel lucky and conform because of that tokenistic privilege. It doesn’t fix it for the many.

We hate on others about something they have no control over. Their race. Did you choose what race you were born into? Ask yourself how would life be for me if I was born a black person or a Person of colour? What would my job prospects be like? How would others see me? Would others trust me? How to the police view me?

If you have biases and stereotypes, or you might be a closet racist, I strongly advise you go travel.. go see the world when it’s safe to do so.

Visit Brazil, Slums of India, poorer parts of Nigeria and add in a few Arab countries into the mix.

My friends who tell me racism doesn’t exist, you are blinded by your bias. Blinded by your privilege. The community trauma and slavery of the past still benefits you today, in this present moment. Just because you haven’t experienced it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It does. Ignoring it will not make it go away. It’s a very uncomfortable subject, I understand, however when has achieving anything meaningful ever been comfortable?

No one is blaming the white innocent non racist person, all we ask is for everyone to call it out and recognise the injustice. Life’s hard being a black person. Pretending racism doesn’t exist makes racism thrive. (Same with pretending domestic abuse doesn’t exist, or looking down on people with mental illness and the list goes on)

I ain’t black, however was treated like a black person most of my life, I had the N word used on me many times. I have no hate for haters. No time for that. However don’t ever tell me racism doesn’t doesn’t exist.

Ps. Never justify murder. Whatever the circumstances. Just because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. We bleed the same.

History is subjective. It’s time to right the wrongs of the past.

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