#FPQ 81

Fandango has raised yet another provocative question # 81:

Do you believe that racism is an inherent human trait or is it learned? Either way, are there actions that society can take to eliminate, or at least diminish, racism? Or will racism always exist no matter what we do?

fpq

What is racism? According to Google, Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

I believe that racism is a learned behavior because young kids won’t even think twice (remember this?) Same goes for classism, elitism, sexism — these are all learned behaviors! I believe that we were born an empty vessel – tabula rasa, gets filled with ideas, beliefs through time.

At this point, there are several ways to diminish racism. Spreading awareness through media — be it through Music, Poetry, TV, Movie, or PodCasts. Talking about it on Social Media i.e. Twitter, Reddit, Facebook or Instagram and stirring awareness through blogs and thread conversations just like what Fandango does — discussing about this creates awareness. From there, you will try to assess yourself, what is your stand on this matter? Are you helping to lessen it? Or do you contribute to its spread? You will start to become self-aware. There are some of us who had been racists indirectly. I was guilty of that. BUT I never meant it, but I have been. BECAUSE I lacked awareness. Now, I have become cautious about my actions, I began watching myself, my language, my behavior. Talking about this issue creates a lot of change in people.

Do you remember the time when colored people cannot enter facilities in America? YES, we do remember that! Thanks to the very elaborate history books and online media, awareness is now too accessible!

Thankfully, RACISM has been lessened over the years and with people continuously fighting against it, certainly, it will tone down even more. But did it really mellow down? OR HAVE PEOPLE JUST BECOME MORE ASSERTIVE OF THEIR RIGHTS? At this point, I feel that totally eliminating it is kind of impossible because there is an equal number of people campaigning for it. Unbelievably so, but yes, there are.

One funny story – FIVE YEARS AGO: I try to just treat it as funny but I kind of cried deep inside me when this happened. My husband and I were in a telecom office in Riyadh. We were in VIP section, indicating that our plan is VIP, equal to whoever is waiting with us in the same area. There is a family in front of us. They are not locals, but they are considered as an “elite” nationality in Riyadh, everyone treats them as higher class, even Saudis treat them differently, I mean, with heightened respect and admiration.

The youngest one in the family came to me, she must be 4. She was circling around me, as if wanting to ask something. She didn’t ask and went back to her family (they were just in front of us). Then she kept looking at me. She talked to her father and her father asked me,

“Excuse me, from where did you buy your Hello Kitty hair clip?”

I answered enthusiastically,

“from Claire’s!”

The kid kept sitting beside me (closer and closer) and finally asked if she can see it (my clip) and whether her dad can take a photo of it. I removed my hair clip and handed it to her. She seemed so happy and amazed, her dad took a photo of it and apologized sincerely, for the disruption perhaps?

My husband and I talked with our eyes and decided to give it to the kid, we don’t care what she’d do with it but she seemed to enjoy playing with it at that time. It was so easy to give such a tiny token for someone who would totally appreciate it. I kind of hesitated at first as they were known elites, I felt shy and a little inferior, but we broke out of that inferiority shell and offered especially since they were the ones who initiated the conversation and since we wanted to make the kid happy. INDEED, she was ecstatic when I told her she can have it! SHE LITERALLY JUMPED FOR JOY! Her father said thanks as he nodded with appreciation for what we’ve done for his kid.

The kid came back to their seat and I saw that her young adult sister (or mother?) who’s probably around 20-25 years old whispered something to her. It was not audible at all.

We let them be.

We carried on, I continued chatting with my husband as we wait for our turn. Little did we know, the kid is once again, trolling around us; she sat beside me and she asked,

“Did you take a shower? My sister said you did not take a shower so I shouldn’t touch Hello Kitty.”

I told her not to worry because I took a shower before I left my house (I can’t believe I was explaining that). His father looked so embarrassed but did not say a thing. I do understand. Because at that point? What can you say?

Part of me died of self-pity. I was only doing something nice for the kid. I can’t believe it could backfire that rapidly.

I began asking myself, was it my skin color? Was it because I am brown? Would I have been treated differently if I’d been whiter? Would I look cleaner? Would I not give an impression of being someone who doesn’t shower?

My husband and I didn’t speak about it at that time. Both of us were speechless. He just held my hand because he couldn’t hug me in public since it isn’t allowed. I know that he knew how my heart broke into pieces.

But what can we do?

Bless that kid, I hope she grows up like her father.

33 thoughts on “#FPQ 81

    1. Thank you, at that time, I really felt inferior. BUT life goes on. I was just grateful that the kid has a kind father 🙂

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Without a doubt it is learned behaviour. Thank you for sharing your story.

    I know with our own children the fact that they have so many friends from different nationalities, at least we did get something right 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for taking the time to respond to this question. And thanks for sharing your story about the Hello Kitty hair clip. I know you characterized it as “funny,” but I thought it was actual a very sad story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a sad sad sad story.
      But at this point, I gotta laugh about it otherwise, it will continue to break my heart.

      I told my husband that I am going to share the story on my blog and he asked which story, then I reminded him about it and he got so upset remembering the incident.

      He said, “I wished you didn’t tell me about it because it’s like being there once again.”

      It was painful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Racism is just everywhere. I believe people doesn’t understand the skin is just a color. And by the way… why did you cry? It’s not you who want to cry and I pity on that woman who made that little girl to ask so! Put shame on her and be proud of yourself. 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have felt discriminated against a lot of times, when on queue on groceries and asking for service, etc… but that time, it was blatantly directed at me. I did not know how it felt when it was “that” direct, until that particular time only, so I really felt like crying… I totally dont know how to respond to that scenario…

      Thanks for your kind words… you are absolutely right, at the end of the day, it was not me who had to be ashamed… That experience has taught me a lot. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I appreciate you here ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I also think that it’s quite hard to fully eliminate racism especially in the minority because not all countries are actually fully aware of it but some concrete ways on how to significantly decrease it is also implementing it in our school systems (classes about the history of racism, values concerning that issue, and such) and our political system too (like maybe making it illegal in such countries that exhibit high cases of racism). I think even if it gets better, it needs to be maintained too for the next generations. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VERY TRUE! One of Fandango’s participants mentioned the same & incorporating it within the school system is wise… that’s why for me, we have to appoint leaders who are down with that. Let us elect leaders who are not prejudiced and bigot.

      Like

  5. May I share what I think? Racism is learned, I believe. It’s good to know you and your husband knew how to handle the mean remark!

    Good character (just as rudeness) is also learned from parents. It’s more caught, than taught. This is an eye-opener, proof that children take cues from adults (verbal and non-verbal), whether it is racist or not. Their idea of what is right or wrong comes from what they see from parents and older siblings.

    Hope you’re feeling better now! Good thing your hubby was there to comfort you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In situations like that, I always pray for my husband first because I wouldn’t exactly know how he reacts to anything. But at that time, he really knew how to handle the situation without any cues from me…

      You are right. Oftentimes, it’s caught than taught. I was just so blessed that despite being the only Filipino in my workplace, I have never felt inferior or no one has made me feel so…

      Like

  6. Some people are just impossible. It pains me to think racism is a real problem in this world at this time. One would think we have come far enough, but sadly, not that far. My heart broke while reading your story, but what happened says more about the racist than the rest of us with a different skin color or whatever it is that inspires discrimination. I think the best thing we can do is to continue to be kind. The world needs more of that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was so painful not because of the insult feels, but more of the realization that racism is real.
      Yes, I also believe it only boils down into being kind— Kindness whenever possible.

      Like

  7. Don’t know why you felt your experience was funny; I thought about it then I remembered that when my father went to some parts of Europe during the late 1950’s some people never saw a dark-skinned person, and they were asking to rub his skin to see if the brown would come off.
    So to me, the young girl could have been ignorant or never saw a brown-skinned person so she had to ask out of curiosity….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It could be– but it was the adult who told her not to touch/use the clip because she thought I didn’t shower. The young girl had been lingering around me for some time and I don’t think she saw me any differently, otherwise, she would have asked from the start given that the kid isn’t shy at all.

      About being funny. I have explained it on the post as to why I had to say it was funny. It was not funny, but I would rather think that it was because an experience as direct as that is something quite unfamiliar to me, I did not know how to properly react to it.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s