Tag Archives: writing

Racism- The Uncomfortable Conversation

There are certain topics and experiences that we hold dear to our hearts. As a consequence, we get so uncomfortable when we need to sit and have a fluent conversation with others.

Some wise person did say the truth causes offense. And this is merely because the hard truth can make us feel so uncomfortable.

With everything that has been happening in the world, it has brought up racist led conversations- discussions about white vs black, how blacks think whites think and how blacks think of whites.

The reality is racial conversations are sensitive and oftentimes personal. We will take a side based on our interaction with blacks and whites and also the way we are treated as black people.

This is definitely one of those topics where there is a plethora of views that may differ from your friends’, your family’s, and strangers’.

A few days ago I was having a conversation about race with a friend and the way each of us think clearly did not coincide.

We spoke not of the social injustices or the protests but of how we think white people are. She was on the premise that white people all deep down have a shade- they do not really view us as equals. On the other hand, I was saying that I refused to think that because I just cannot bring myself to imagine that white people all deep down think that blacks are unequal or inferior to them.

We, however, both agreed that we have really close friends that are white.

And in that very moment I said that is the sole reason I cannot think all whites have a “shade” in regards to their views of black people. I even went as far as saying I refuse to think in that light because if that were true I would be deeply heartbroken.

I will reiterate that this is really an uncomfortable topic.

Even in writing this piece, I am somewhat concern about how my opinion will be interpreted or if it may seem offensive to someone. Racism is just one of those themes that may spark a backlash (check out Twitter, the Coons and people being cancelled) when you least expect it.

But to get back on track, firstly, I decided to address the awkwardness associated with racist led conversations because I want to know the views of others. With that said please feel free to leave a comment so I can know what your thoughts are.

Secondly, I address this issue because I want to let others know of an important message about not letting what you been through harden your heart.

Thirdly, I take such a stance because I do not want anyone to garner a generalized idea about me based entirely on the facts that I am black, I am a woman, I am an immigrant or I am Jamaican.

One of my personality traits is that I am always willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. In my world, anyone with whom I interact is innocent until proven guilty.

Whether you are black or white, immigrant or citizen through birth, I believe that I should have negative connotations of you only if you have hurt, discrimate or harm me and others.

In other words, I refuse to just hate someone or think they are “shady” only because of their color, heritage, customs and beliefs.

But again that is my take on life, racism and people on a whole.

I cannot bring myself to think that all whites are the same for the same reasons I do not want anyone to think of me being the same as all women, all black women, all blacks, all Caribbean immigrants and so on.

Furthermore, if I think someone has a shade or has treated me badly, I cannot bring myself to be in a position where I will smile and nod as if evrything is fine and dandy (one hypocritical American custom that I hate).

If you are mad at me state it. If you refuse to state it suck it up and let us carry on.

But do not be mad, say horrible things, treat me unjustly and then smile to my face as if we are good.

Because the moment I have established your position in regards to me I cannot engage in a relationship with you or I cannot let my often complimented beautiful smile greets you.

My facial expression will be enough to let you know I want nothing to do with you.

And I know this may sound like a rant, but it should be interpreted as a plea.

Despite of all the horrific injustices, blatant racism and the prevalence of ethnocentrism and nationalism, we should honor people (regardless of color and background) for being people.

Do not be quick to judge someone or gather stereotypical opinions solely because of physical appearance or their heritage.

Also, we have to make the hard decision of not letting the horrendous experiences we have encountered in life change us for the worse.

We have to find strength in knowing that despite all the unpleasantries, we will go through and grow through them and emerge as better versions of ourselves.

Every Parent

There are many things that shape us into the person we are today. The family, however, is the first and most important source of socialization that imparts knowledge, beliefs and values.

The title alludes to one element of our family. An element that is subjective and critical in determining how we turn out to be.

So what does the title mean?

  • Every parent, biological, legal guardians or adoptive, treats their child in the way that they think is best for their well-being.
  • Every parent imparts ways, knowledge, beliefs and values that may flourish or ruin their children.

My mother was the first from whom I learned the things that I liked, hated, dreaded, wanted to emulate and was against. She was the first tangible source of all the things that I want to be and did not want to be.

Her flaws were parallel by her compassion, unmatched sacrifice and commitment. She did her best with what she learned from her parents, the life she had before me, when I was born and the challenges that she faced raising me.

Twenty-eight years later, I look back on my life and I am puzzled with what ifs. I judge her shortcomings and I wonder if things would have been different. If I would have been different. If her efforts could have been more and if they were, if they would have yielded better results.

My intention is not to talk only about mothers or about my mother. My desire is to talk about parents in general. However, in my case a mother is all I had and as such I have to speak of my parenting experience through her.

In 2015, I sat in a classroom in Garden City, NY reading Philip Larkin’s poem “This Be the Verse.” If this poem has never crossed your path, you should probably google it. It best summarizes the subjectiveness of parenting. It speaks of all the unintentional good and bad of the actions of our parents. Larkin tells us how our parents best intentions of raising us may only have turned out into “the[m] fucking [us] up.”

At a tender age we may not understand. More importantly, we will not be able to notice all the psychological ways in which our parents’ actions have affected us. Some of us may have identified the negative consequences of our parents’ attempt to raise us only when we have become adults. On the other hand, some of us may never live to know that the way we are today is as a result of how we were raised and what we were exposed to.

Nevertheless, we all should be grateful for the life we have now. We should try to fix whatever that was ruined within us on our own. We have to move on from the past by acknowledging and making peace with the fact that our parents were raising us in the best way they knew how to. Blame not our parents. Remember that whatever they did or did not do, “they may not [have] mean[t] to.”

Chanshie B