Racism is alive and well

imageI want to start this post by saying that I’m really not one to talk about race or racism. As you can see from my pictures and pretty much throughout every social media channel that I’m on, I’m a mixed race female. My father would tell me stories about the racism he has experienced as a black man, and before the story that I’m about to share with you that happened to me, I thought they were a bit of an exaggeration. The fact that I thought that my dad was exaggerating the racism he experienced as a black man in Canada goes to show that as a mixed race female in this country, I feel safe and never really experienced direct discrimination. While there are many positive things about living in Canada because of how diverse and accepting its people are, that doesn’t mean that racism is not still alive and well. I now know this is true first-hand because of the experience that I’m about to share with you! To be honest I couldn’t have imagined how awful it feels to have somone make such negative judgements about you only based on the colour of your skin. It’s completely wrong and I’m sharing my experience because I want EVERYONE to be aware of how racism impacts the lives of others. Even if you aren’t a person of colour, I’m sure you’ve been impacted by racism as well.

This experience was the first time I have had racism impact me so directly. I have been alive for 19 years as a biracial girl living in Canada and I have never found myself in a situation where I witnessed someone speaking badly about me due to my skin colour. I was at home in my own apartment, with my roommate in her room. In the common area, a different roommate’s brother and a group of his friends were drinking and talking loudly. Keep in mind that all of the rooms are very close to the common area, and my roommate’s room, that we were in, is right off this space in the apartment. We heard a male’s voice ask “Oh, is that fucking Black Mama home?” with a round of laughter to follow. I heard this and was immediately embarassed… they were obviously talking about me, the only black roomate in the place. I was hurt and confused because I really didn’t do anything to lead to this kind of comment. Even if I had, that still would not have been okay to say in ANY situation. I let it slide and didn’t say anything as I continued to sit in my roommate’s room. Just as I was brushing it off I heard them speaking about me once again calling me Black Mama. I really don’t think people understand how engrained the racial slur ‘Black Mama’ is within racist culture. For those of you that don’t know, to call someone ‘Black Mama’ or ‘Mammy’, also spelled mammie, is a Southern United States saying for a black woman who worked as a nanny and/or general housekeeper that, often in a white family dating all the way back to the slavery days, generally a black woman nursed the family’s children.

My roommate and I were rattled and we started to talk about what we were hearing. She told me a few stories about the times that she interacted with this guy that was actually illegally living in our apartment part-time. He has once said to her that she was “pretty normal for an ethnic person”, as if he was complimenting her. He also sent her videos of racist jokes thinking that he was being funny. Coming from racist white person, things like that aren’t really funny especially when you’re talking to an ethnic person, no matter how normal you might think we are. My roomate and him were once in the common room together and she witnessed a friend of his ask who lives in the unit. He began listing my roommate’s names and just referred to me as “the black chick”…as if that “black chick” didn’t have a name.

Hearing these things being said about me made me sick to my stomach. I was hurt, and really didn’t understand why or how this could be happening in 2016. We’ve come a long way in North America, but clearly we have much more to do to address racism in Canada. SO, I decided to confront them. They were right outside the room I was in, in my own apartment, using racial slurs to describe me and laughing about it like they were having a damn good time too. During the confrontation, not only did they not apologize for what they said… they didn’t even admit that they had said ANYTHING racist. Apparently me and my roommate are deaf since we were in the NEXT ROOM. One of them even said they didn’t call me black mama or nigger that night…. meaning they did call me that on other occassions. I was shaken and had to remove myself from the situation because if I didn’t I KNOW my emotions would have gotten the best of me and I would have hurt someone. It would have just fulfilled their beliefs about me acting like the angry black girl, anyways. There’s no point trying to explain to people like that that what they’re doing is ignorant and hurtful.

Once the situation was over I took the time to reflect with a friend. I thought about times in the past that friends of mine (who I’m not actually friends with anymore) would jokingly say things like “oh Kim go pick cotton in the fields” or even call me a monkey. Funnily enough I didn’t really see this as racism, because it was coming from people who I thought were my friends. The thing is, when I do bring up racial issues, a lot of the time people say I’m playing the “black card” or the “race card” and my opinions get devalued because of that. Racism is real, and if it can happen to me living in Canada and in my own home, it can happen to anyone and much worse than my experience. To be seen differently and judged negatively because of my skin colour sickens me, and I’m at a loss of words to describe how it truly feels.

Getting back to the theme of my blog, while this is of course the life of KB, it’s worth mentioning that I do put myself out there for people to judge me and see what I do with makeup and things like that. It’s common for people to judge the way that I look, make comments about my makeup technique, my choice of colours, my use of highlight, or whatever. But, what isn’t common and definitely isn’t okay is for people to make negative comments based on my race. If you experience racism or discrimination and you don’t agree with it, even if you aren’t a person of colour, it’s important to communicate that it’s not okay to hold these beliefs in today’s day and age. I encourage you to speak up and spread the love instead of encouraging people to spread hatred and discrimination. We all play a part in making a better world for everyone, whether that might be through using makeup to make people beautiful or through standing up for your beliefs and shutting down racism when you see it.

XO KB

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26 thoughts on “Racism is alive and well

  1. The best way to combat racism is to keep putting yourself out there and experiencing the positive support from those you’re trying to reach. Occasionally, I have had people ignore my work and go straight to assumptions like, “people from developing countries don’t have formal education.” And realise that these people will at some point experience the negative consequences of holding others in low esteem over those superficial qualities. Stay beautiful, be gorgeous and shine your light.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I want you to know that your comment has touched my heart. I’m forever grateful to you for sharing your opinion on racism with me. If more people in this world had the same mindset as you I think this world would be a much better place.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Warm hugs, KB. You are a beautiful woman and if you continue to assess people at arm’s length and refuse to tolerate hate speech by even listening to it, just your presence will be enough to deflate non starters.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a truly exceptional post! I am in awe of your bravery and your determination to confront racism. If only more people had the courage stand up and have their voices heard as you have done.

    Well done! You ought to be inordinately proud of yourself! X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This makes me so sad to read! Comments like that are so hurtful and it enrages me that they couldn’t even understand that it was wrong. Unfortunately it seems like there is no changing those people. You should be proud for standing up for yourself even if they were too ignorant to get it. I’m doing my best to raise my son to never act like that guy and I know many more parents are doing the same in hopes to eradicate this shameful prejudice. It makes me angry when I hear about racism. 😠

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This post is so heartbreaking, but I’m so glad you felt comfortable enough to speak out about it. I actually live in the southern United States, and I guess I never really thought of other countries dealing with the same issues because it is so prevalent here. You are a wonderful person, and do not deserve that type of treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So happy to see that someone in the south actually gets what I’m talking about! I know that racism here is nothing compared to some parts of the south but any type of racism isn’t okay. Thanks a million for reading my post, I really do appreciate it from the bottom of my heart

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This may sound silly, but I always think of a quote from the movie Mean Girls for situations of injustice.
        “There are two kinds of evil people in the world. The ones that do evil things, and the ones that see evil things being done and do nothing to stop them.”
        and I have tried to live my life speaking up if I notice something that is wrong, and I’m glad you are too.

        Like

  5. Racism is alive and very much present everywhere. Even here in the Middle East it’s starkingly apparent how whites are treated differently than people of other skin color. It’s demeaning and uncalled for and pathetic how even in this day and time people discriminate against you based on your skin color and ethnic background.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is very unfortunate that closeminded and ignorant individuals think this behaviour is okay. The perpetrators definitely don’t see anything wrong and/or will come up with an excuse that doesn’t hold up. i.e. it was taken out of context or words were misheard etc. In theory, if this situation was taken out of context, I still would like to know what ‘context’ would make those words any better? How much of a troglodyte does one have to be to lie about what they said? If you have the guts to spew hate, then stand by and admit what you’ve said instead of trying to pretend otherwise. That’s the problem with racists — they won’t own up to the words and values they believe in when you finally confront them. They’re too scared to face the reality because they know there will always be consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s a sad thing when we are faced with this type of ignorance. You are allowed to be angry sad frustrated embarrassed and disappointed your true friends should have your back it is in no way acceptable for someone to speak to you Or about you especially in your own living space. I’m sorry you went through that thank you for sharing this. I have a biracial daughter who is only 3 this day and age it’s so very important to educate and prepare our young ones this strikes a chord with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Racism will never die unfortunately. The reasoning is we as humans has a great fear of what we can’t conquer. Also you would have to erase thousands of years of history that the “masses” will never allow. This post is great and I’m speaking as a black man in California. People fear me off of appearance. We can’t control our race but we can point out right from indecent. Keep up the good work

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Most def. I’ve been to Canada a few times for business and pleasure. My experiences were great. It reminded me of a friendlier and safer America. My only problem was I was warned that flying into Calgary (YYC) that the customs agents were Kind of racists. When I arrived, they ripped my zipper on my bag, told me that not too many of my kind come to Calgary and they even shipped my ID with a clear plastic substance to see if I was using it to make lines of cocaine. I did not let that deter me of the great city of Calgary

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. I have been stuck for a while now worrying about my sons, because of their skin. Yes, it is still alive and well here in the U.S. That’s for sure. I learned just this week that I can’t continue to focus on the negative like I have. Don’t give it too much attention. There are far more people who are NOT like that. Hugs to you!

    https://oldnewmommyblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/people/

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A lot of people (including me) was living in a bubble of naivety. My grandmother and mother always told me stories about what they experienced but I never really paid it any mind but I thought I would be excluded from it. Even though I am dark skinned and I am on the road to become a practitioner. Nah. There was no exception. Learned that lesson real quick. I always promised myself to call out racism no matter what since then.

    Focus on the people that love and support you. That’s the best thing to do. I love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve always felt racism to be an extremely sensitive topic. If I were to state that I’m not a racist, there would be so many things people could respond such as “only those who are actually racist say that” or something similar. I have in fact lived with a racist roommate though, and it just made things very uncomfortable. We’re Asian and I hate to admit it but a good amount of Asians are stereo typically racist. This didn’t make the situation any better though. He would come home and say how he didn’t want to go somewhere anymore because he saw a lot of “black people” there. He would complain that we lived in a dangerous neighborhood because some of our neighbors were African American. (They are VERY nice people; I actually took the time to meet my neighbors.) I just didn’t agree at all with his points of views. Anyways, I just felt like the best thing for me to do was to stop associating myself with such a negative person and ignore him.

    Like

  12. Sorry for that… Being a racist is so… inhuman. How to encourage people to reflect on what they can do to counter racism wherever it happens? As we live in the country ruled by an unnatural nationalist, we always try to support any kind of ‘diversity’ here, in Poland. But do we really differ from each other? Don’t think so. We’re all the same. Sending love!

    Like

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