Most of us have felt the brunt of racism. I have read some of the posts by fellow bloggers and I wanted to share some of my own experiences and views about racism.
My mother is Papua New Guinean and my father Australian. When you have parents that are black and white, you feel the hate when it comes – from both sides. When I was growing up in my village in Lae City, the children tormented me in different ways. I was one of three ‘white’ children in an all-black school. These ‘white children’ shared the black and white parentage. Our skin was only a few shades lighter. Everyone’s hair was curly. We were the same people but we would be treated differently. For me personally, I spoke the same languages; ate, drank, danced and followed all the rituals and traditional obligations in the same culture. But, when there was a fight with other children – I became ‘white’. I was white devil when my hair grew long.
One day during our language practising group exercise (we were all learning English in primary school-grade five), I got into a fight with a boy who called me a “white bastard”. I more or less told him he was a “dumb-ass”. He didn’t like what I said so he swung a piece of board at me and sliced my right eye-brow off.
The cut left the opened top of my brow open. The split brow fell and closed my right eye. Blood gushed everywhere. This made me mad. The pain and blood did not stop me from jumping on top of him and choking him before two teachers ripped us apart. An ambulance was called in and seven stitches later, I returned home. My grandmother took her bush knife to the boy’s family home and after giving his parents her piece of mind – they reprimanded him. Lucky for me, the board did not get my eye and my eyebrow grew back and the stitches were done so well no-one sees the scar until I mention it.
My grandmother told me that the word ‘white bastard’ was a very bad word and every time some kid called me that, I had to tell her. She insisted that the children would be jailed. It was a long while before I learnt the true meaning of ‘white bastard’, but that will be another story on this Blog.
We moved to Australia ten years ago. One day, I went to a Charity store to buy some clothes. This time, I was the only ‘black’ woman in the store. The shop assistants, all volunteers were also from the local Christian churches. I brought the clothes I wanted to buy to the counter and got questioned by counter woman (a white Australian), who already decided I was going to steal something. I told her the clothes on the counter were mine, I needed to try on a pair of pants before I paid for everything. I told her I would like to leave the clothes on the counter and return once I finished from the fitting room. I don’t know how that could have meant anything else. This woman verbally attacked me and kept on referring to me as “people like you” come into this store and “blah blah”. I am saying “blah blah” because I do not need to repeat what she said to me. I had never seen her before – she was a complete stranger to me. I decided within five minutes of her racist abuse that my shopping had ended and hurried out before I slapped her.
Racially related unrests and crimes have taken many lives. In this day and age we expect things to be different and better. I did. I thought we are more educated and the world is connected in so many different ways with our technology that we would learn more about each other. I expect people in general to be courteous, kind and appreciative towards me and each other. I wish we all could accept each other, our colour, our faith, our cultures etc. We are all the same but different.
It is sad that today, more so, we are more suspicious of one another and we judge each other for whatever our own personal reasons are. We are not prepared to let our minds open and accept what we do not know or understand.
In the case of recent events in America, when information unfolded, it became more obvious the actions of the authority in Ferguson could have been carried out better and without taking a life.
My 18-year-old son and I constantly have a conversation about racism. Nathan showed me this video by John Oliver on You Tube about the Michael Brown Shooting in Ferguson and I wanted to share it.
Watch John Oliver on You Tube.