Amidst all the shootings and chaos based on racial discrimination happening all around me, my heart goes out to the ones who have fallen victim to this vicious cycle of racism and unwanted violence.
When I first moved to the US, I thought – “Wow, finally I can live without fear here with no staring eyes on the streets or eve teasing at desolated spots. I am safe here.” This feeling was short lived and there was a new fear instilled in us by people who lived here and the news which was propagated like fire – “Stay away from the Afro-Americans, stay safe.”
But I never ever thought that we will be the ones who will be discriminated. Being ‘brown’ we have had our instances of discrimination. I vividly remember our Texas trip! While returning from DFW Airport, there was this airline officer who was helping everyone white in the queue but ignored us completely as we were stuck at one of their kiosks. Till the end he ignored us until a new officer came and catered to our need. I remember the time when the person at Greyhound refused to pick our luggage and put it in the common luggage cabin only because we were ‘brown’.
But if we met 2 such people, there were 20 others who welcomed us with open arms everywhere!
With this background, at least we were supposed to understand the point of view of Afro-Americans and be neutral to everyone without the tiny voice of fear slowly becoming loud within.
A person like my husband and me who are not a part of American history or upbringing should be neutral towards the racism in America. We did exactly that, we tried to be away from the age old prejudices and tried to be open minded. We made friends with people irrespective of the race and we were happy with our circle.
But fear plays a funny role in our lives, the more you try to get rid of it…it crawls back in your life with new testing situation and one day you give up to fear.
We were told not to go to Downtown at night for the fear of getting robbed. But the real implication was stay away from Afro-Americans and we stayed away from Downtown areas after dark. We were told not to buy homes near communities where we have majority of Afro-Americans and we blindly follow the instruction.
How many of us are comfortable at home when you are alone at home and an Afro-American is mending your ac? How many of you are comfortable when you go to a park and there is a huge family of Afro-Americans beside you? Are you comfortable sitting next to a Afro-American?
If the answers to the above question is negative, you know where we are headed to? All this based on hearsay. How many of us have really being a part of the crimes? Crimes happen everyday, and not every criminal is an Afro-American or a Muslim. According to the FBI statistics, 69% of the total crime which happen in US are by whites! And yet we fear the Afro-Americans!
My heart cries when I hear about bullets being fired based on race, caste, sexual orientation. My head feels dizzy opening the newspapers every morning. My legs tremble when I think about the families that have suffered. My mind gets anry realising even I am getting pulled in this hypocrisy.
I have decided to kill that fear. Kill it before it takes charge. I am going to be more human than being prejudiced. Why judge a person based on the race or caste. Why let fear dictate your mind when you have the choice to live in harmony and peace?
It is not easy. But why not create a world where the mind is without fear?