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Going to work this morning, I started talking to a woman that I usually engage when I run into her on our daily commute. I start off with the friendly good morning, and this time she proceeds to share that a brown man walked in front of her on the bus... and how dare he.
Me: That probably has nothing to do with brown skin... just an asshole or maybe he didn't see you.
Her: These f*** Muslims get away with too much. We let them into our countries.
Me: Honestly, I'm not the one to have this conversation with. I came in the same way.
Her: Of course, I'm not talking about you. I guess you don't know what's going on in Europe. Keep your blinders on.
Me: I am very well informed and know exactly what's going on. I actually don't want to hear about your contempt for brown skin and Muslims because it's all blinded hate. I can't believe you just started my day off with this shit! Have a nice day!
Her: *screams at the top of her lungs* "I'm not a racist because I want to protect my country!"
Me: That whole situation has nothing to do with protecting your country, and has everything to do with just ignorant, bias and blinded hate.
The reason I see it's blinded hate, first, she saw brown and labeled the person as a Muslim, which as we should all know, Muslim is not a culture, it’s a religion. In my lifetime, I've been mistaken as Middle Eastern myself, and I've mistaken Middle Eastern people for Latinos... because we're all brown. For her, this guy stepping in front of her couldn't have been anything else but just him being Muslim... maybe this guy didn't see her or there was a misstep or he was just being an asshole... you know with the whole normal Monday morning rush. Just to make my point out a little more relatable with this... do you know how many people, cars, and other things I've walked into blindly?!?! I'm pretty sure it's because I'm clumsy, not a person of colour. Second, her actions and the reaction to me is exactly how hate works and operates. It's angry, loud, and fearful. The fact that she imploded at her workplace over me defending whoever this was and over something so trivial without caring who was there... is because hate can't contain itself... it always attacks AND EXPLODES when confronted. From my knowledge, her company is full of co-workers that come from all different backgrounds, and if any of them heard her say what she said... she would have some serious HR issues.
My point with all of this… is that hate and racism are very real. It wants to divide, conquer, and make us afraid of each other. In a world that thrives off our differences, more than ever, I feel like it's time to stand up. It’s all coming to a head, and choices have to be made collectively and individually. Exactly the way we're seeing protests unfold in the NFL, with NBA athletes refusing to visit the White House, along with all the protests happening all over the United States for all POC, it’s decision time. Here in Canada, it's more undercover but very much alive and real. It's not acceptable, and never will be but hate will try its hand. If we give it a voice, a breeding ground, and don't stand up when confronted with it, it becomes infectious and contagious. It spreads like a virus making people sick inside and out. Please, don't let hate consume you because hate always consumes the host first. Always choose love.