I haven’t been able to write and post on my blog recently. Writing is my therapy, that keeps me happy and cheerful. It’s even more rewarding when you connect with diverse people out there. Sometimes who are on the same journey as you are but, just as significantly, those who are not. Communicating on a positive note can help one learn and understand so much about so many unknowns, differences and contrasts of others around us in societies we live in. Learn about cultures that are different from ones we’ve encountered. Learn about languages and traditions that are different from upbringing.
I was born in Africa into the Sikh religion to immigrant parents there from India. A clearly visible minority in Nairobi, Kenya. Moved to Canada (and thank my lucky stars every night for the opportunity my parents grabbed for the move to the best country there is on the planet) at the age of thirteen just after finishing primary schooling in Africa. I’m not writing an autobiography in this blog post in any way, but touching on the subject of racism, whether intentional or not, and why it is important for every habitant of this planet to rebuff it. Nip it in the bud as they say. Primary schooling in Africa has bitter-sweet memories for me. I would have my long unshorn hair opened at times by schoolmates and poked fun at. Name calling was common and almost a daily routine but in those parts of the world, one has to learn to grow thick skin early on.
As a father of three kids, it’s my responsibility to instill good moral values to my progeny. They prod me for my childhood memories at our dinner table discussions as they are curious to know about how my life was. It’s interesting to see how upset they get sometimes upon hearing about some of my experiences. But I feel it’s important for parents to communicate such life experiences with kids openly. Kids are extremely lucky to be in welcoming schooling systems in western societies where they’re free to express themselves. Being bullied based on your race (that one as a human has no control over) is and can be the most heart breaking experience (at any age) but particularly damaging for a growing mind and body.
Two recent events in the recent past has led to interesting and soul searching conversations at the dinner table. The discoveries of indigenous children graves around residential schools in Canada and the most recent racist abuse online towards English football players for missing to score in a final. The two incidents are completely different from each other in both historical and circumstantial context but I felt connected to them both. Being different in school and conditioned to be like the majority (whether designed by curriculum to be that way or bullied by peers) and different in sports due to the way you appear.
Racism is a hot topic around the world. Anti-racism slogans are well established and strongly endorsed everywhere, at all levels; in academia, sports, governments, industries et al. The demon raises its head time and again gripping some parts of societies in it’s vile tentacles. Racism is a function of hate and hate, as well all know, is one of vices that has yet to solve a single problem in the world.
So why must we rebuff racism? Because the underlining sentiment behind racism is hate. Hate for being different, hate for being an odd one out, hate for being out of the ordinary and I suppose the list goes on. But no one is born with that hate so I’m pretty sure it’s an acquired sentiment. It must be rebuffed because nothing positive and/or progressive comes out it. Hate breeds more hate. The Catholic churches burned down in Canada after discoveries of thousands of graves of innocent kids or distasteful and vile online abuse hurled towards stars or players or ordinary netizens over a missed penalty. There is no winning for anyone!
Humankind has been at loggerheads from the word go. Racism has been an ugly part of mankind and unfortunately exists in many forms to this day, for many on this planet, for various reasons. But there is also hope and faith that keeps human beings from completely destroying our own species into the ground. Although there are countless challenges that remain, we must counter them all with hope, faith and wisdom. Hate must be eradicated by minimizing ignorance and the sooner that wisdom and knowledge is imparted into young, bright brains, the better! I believe we, as parents in modern society, have moral and ethical obligation to raise our progeny with love and acceptance.
We must rebuff racism at all levels, not only because we all bleed red regardless of our skin pigmentation tones, but it is the ‘right and moral thing to do!’ There is no underlining criteria or justification or a reason for why we all, as humans must rebuff racism and hate; it’s simply is the ‘right thing to do as hate is poison!’
I shall end this piece here. This article may have been a bit erratic but am sure the message within is clear and simple. I captured my sentiments for the gut-wrenching discoveries in Canada and racist online abuse hurled at players in form of poetry and prose posted as follows. Hope it resonates with one and all!!