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Musings of a Mum: Implicitly racist?

19th Jun 2020

Justice — it seems — is a reconditioning of the mind. At every step, we realise that there are better ways to achieve a just society, and we, then gather enough momentum to make that happen.

George Floyd’s death was shocking. It felt like the rut — the worst within us was visible for all to see, and far too wrong for anyone to look away. As big an incident as his death was, it is the culmination of a multitude of small actions that led to the death of George — a parent like so many of us.
The multitudes of small injustices are a result of mental conditioning that begins very early on in our lives.

That conditioning has to be addressed if we are to step away from this incessant onslaught of our fellow human beings. Our perceptions impact our realities and our (non-Black) children only encounter surrounding realities.

The only exposure they have to anything besides their lived reality is school, TV, and books and there is an abysmal lack of representation of the latter which leads to children growing up without an understanding of the diverse human race all equal, in pursuit of the same peace.

As I go through baby number three’s picture (72) books, only 10 feature Black/coloured characters. I don’t want my children to be trapped by external perceptions because it is internalised and ultimately permeates itself into an unequal society.

I know, as a writer, you write about the contexts that you exist in and if black writers cannot be published, this conditioning of Black as the ‘other’ will persist. But authors can only be published when they can afford to do so; (published) writing is often a caveat for the rich. I feel as a result, systematic poverty is far more dangerous to our society and is one of the primary causes of this persisting injustice.

The Black Lives Matter struggle is similar to the struggle women face for equality. Both are directly tied to the economics of the oppressed.

Systematic poverty keeps everyone in their place, and it has to be redressed. Just as in the case of women’s equality the vocations that are dominated by women such as nursing, midwifery, and teaching all have drastically lower pay bands.

The systemic poverty that ethnic minorities find themselves straddled with compels them to make decisions to survive rather than to thrive. This means they are unable to question the system that puts food on their plate.

This has to change. We have to allow people enough economic room to safely, vehemently and constantly question the systems that they find themselves a part of.

I always find it astounding that not so long ago, slavery was legal and happily practised for over a century; that it was perfectly normal for women — fifty per cent of the population — to not have a vote, and we were happy with the status. Justice is a never ending quest, and we have to be comfortable with a constant state of flux in order to overcome the grotesque realities that we so comfortably live with.

Aasiya I Versi

One Response to “Musings of a Mum: Implicitly racist?”

Taazim jessaJune 19, 2020

The parallels are beautifully drawn between ‘black lives matter’ and ‘gender inequality’. I agree parents can make a difference only if they make educated choices for their children. Only then, maybe, the future will be impacted.


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