Updated: Jun 14
"For someone to hate another person, for the color of their skin, is only a display of disdain against themselves."
Racism has been a hot topic for the past few years, which was reignited as United States President, Donald Trump was elected into office. Minorities feared what the US would become, as their president is infamously known for dealing with illegal immigrants. Racism is also an issue that dates back to when the United States was founded.
Image courtesy of Nappy
As many claim, the Native Americans were displaced from their land, as the Europeans came in and marked their territory. Then Africans were shipped from their continent to come and be of service to white masters. These stories of old, have lingered for so long, as we are still talking about them almost 200 years later. African Americans still feel betrayed; some of them think they can never have the opportunities the Caucasians have. Especially with the recent climate, emotions are running high, and any little offense from someone of a different color is now regarded as racism. This is not to say racism doesn’t exist. We have all heard stories of young black men, gunned down for no reason, or those who are doing time, for crimes they did not commit, just because of their skin color.
This article is not to address the obvious, but the not so obvious that we let slip through the cracks as racism, rather than human nature. You see we are all humans living on different parts of this planet. We are made up of different looks, colors, languages, and lifestyles. We all deal with the same kinds of issues because guess what? We are human beings, and we are flawed. Segregation happens everywhere. Even in Africa where we are all black, people still look for things to separate us. I once read an article of an African American who moved to a country in Africa and felt great to be a part of the majority. They felt they could now blend in. They were not being bothered about trivial things like the texture of their hair. But they also did not feel at home altogether, because to the Africans, they were still foreigners. But they went ahead to say, that at least they enjoyed little perks like being able to shop freely at the grocery store, without anyone following closely behind them, to make sure they don’t slip something into their bag by mistake. I refuted that statement. I still get followed around in some grocery stores here in Nigeria, because all nationalities steal. Some females will package well (as we say in Nigeria) and go to the supermarket, just to steal items.
If it were based on looks, no one would ever suspect them. The owners of these establishments have experienced the loss of their goods, one too many times, and have warned their employees; should anyone steal without being caught, it would come out of their paycheck, so they opt for watching people closely. It doesn’t happen everywhere, but it happens in some places. When it does, I don’t get mad; people are only doing their jobs (at least they shouldn’t make it so obvious). I would say of the African American’s experience, that they weren’t followed, because they just didn’t do that at that grocery store, which has nothing to do with race. While I was still living in Louisiana, I could leave my purse on my seat at church, and go about my business, without the fear of someone stealing anything from it.
In my church in Nigeria, even if its during prayer, if you are not holding your items, the ushers would interrupt your time with God, and ask you to hold on to your phone or purse, just incase anything happens. So not every little thing that happens is a disregard for your skin color. You probably just caught the person on a bad day. We all have bad days. Am I saying people don’t get discriminated against because of the color of their skin? Absolutely not! But not every situation should be a cry for help. As Michelle Obama said—-When they go low, you go high. If someone is rude to you, and they are of a different nationality, show them the same grace, you would show your own.
Lead by example. If someone makes an honest mistake and thinks you are the help, and they happen to be Caucasian; smile, rise above it. One day I entered a shop to buy some fabric. That day I happened to be wearing a dress. I always choose the wrong days to wear a dress as the winds decide to take over to teach me a lesson. So I carried my scarf with me, to cover the front part of my outfit which had a slit. After I checked out of the store, I made my way to my car. Then suddenly I was startled by someone standing by my window. I wound down, and she was an employee of the store. She politely said to me, that I didn’t pay for my scarf (not the fabric I purchased), I answered her politely as well, saying sorry, but the scarf belongs to me. She quickly apologized and went back to her station. Now if she were white, and since I am African, I could have easily painted our encounter as her being racist towards me because she mistook me for being a thief (for lack of a better word). But she was African, and I am also African and chose to see that as an honest mistake. I had no reason to ponder on it or tweet about it. Because we are all human, and we mess up. If she were white, my reaction would have been the same because I don’t like to buy into whatever hot topic that is trending just to be a part of the noise. Then again I am not African American, so maybe I don’t understand it fully. Instead of nitpicking every single situation, how about we channel the same energy and focus on what matters. Focus on the real racist issues. Fight for those who are genuinely helpless; the young African-American men, who fear for their lives daily, because they can’t dress in a hoodie, and have their hands in their pockets, at certain hours of the day, at certain neighborhoods. Fight for the young black females, who are targeted by the sex industries, because nobody sees their worth. These are the people who need help. Every other trivial issue can become a teachable moment; our color doesn’t make us, our character does.
Even if God made us to look all the same, we would have still found something to bring about division. It already happens in continents like Africa and Asia. We are divided by religion, the way we speak, socio-economic class, marital status, level of education, and the list will be as endless as you want to make it. All of this is just to say; not every issue is a racist issue; not every issue has to make its way to social media, you can make it a teachable moment. Most of the problems we face have to do with human nature. If we, people of color, set the tone on how we should be treated, by the way we treat others; I believe racism will be a thing of the past. Then again I am not African American; I am African, so maybe I don’t fully understand.
What do you guys think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and let’s talk about it! Remember also to like, share and subscribe never to miss an update on Let’s Talk Nation.
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About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.