It is with a heavy heart that I say this: racism is not dead. Blatant racism continues to rear its ugly head, sometimes disguised as law and enforcement.
I am a black female immigrant, my husband is a black male immigrant, and my daughter is a black Canadian citizen. We feel privileged to live in a seemingly civil and progressive society, only to realize that sometimes our very presence is oppressive to those who are not comfortable with minorities.
Sometimes I “forget” my skin color, assuming that people see me for me. Once in a while I get the odd stare, inappropriate comment, or gnarly cold shoulder. On rare occasions I’m rudely awakened by the primitive, hideous face of racism; October 23, 2012 was such a day.
On the date in question, my husband, daughter, and me were victims and witnesses of selective and targeted racial profiling. We were “driving while black” in a busy construction zone when an unmarked police vehicle pulled us over. The police officer did a 360° assessment and hastily concluded that the car did not fit its owners. As he approached the driver’s seat and asked for our license and registration, his eyes revealed his dark agenda. To cut a long story short, we were subjected to a humiliating interrogation, witnessed by my innocent baby girl, for whom my deepest desire is freedom and limitless opportunity untethered by the ugliness of racism.
Now I don’t like to pull the race card. Neither am I responsible for people’s hearts and minds. I know who I am: a proud, hard working black African woman with afro ‘n all. I’m fully aware that nothing in life comes easy. By the grace of God, I’m blessed, I’m healthy, and I’m thankful for life and family.
Institutional racism is a slap in the face and a harsh reminder that discrimination and intolerance are unfortunately still very much alive. We’ve all heard about the tragic case of Trayvon Martin, whose life reignited the conversation surrounding this primitive and ignorant mindset.
My prayer is that my daughter lives in a society free of intolerance and prejudice. My hope is that she is given the same opportunities and freedoms as any global citizen. My dream is that she is free to laugh, play, dance, sing, learn, teach, and explore whatever environments her little heart desires. I pray that a day will come when people will see her for her brilliance and joyous spirit and not for the melanin in her epidermis. I’m hanging onto the promise that one day:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:4).
May Galatians 3:28 be completely realized in our lifetime:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
How close are we to seeing an end to institutional racism? What is our personal responsibility in ensuring that this beast is brought to extinction, sooner rather than later?
Copyright © 2012 Uwana.