I’ve thought about what to say in this post for a while now and I have to disclose that this is strictly how I have come to deal with racism and does not reflect at all how others may or may not deal with it. I do not represent the views of anybody else but my own.
With that said, I want to continue this post with a quote I recently came across while watching the movie Coach Carter on Netflix.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
I bring this quote up because I think that racism to me is what attempted to make me feel inadequate. It intended to make me believe certain stereotypes were unbreakable. Growing up my parents wanted the best for me, but there was this slight feeling that if I ended up working in construction, or out in fields that it wouldn’t be a travesty. It would simply be the typical expected future for someone of my background; undocumented Mexican immigrant. That now saddens me. I think that, like the quote, we all have power beyond measure and that racism and other types of oppression were put in place for certain ethnicities to think that they can only amount to a specified limit defined by someone else. I don’t blame white people today for having the role of defining most limits for others but they have a leg up because their role was to not have any limits. They could be powerful beyond measure without fear and most repercussions.
I have met many people in my life and I know that there are good and bad people amongst all ethnicities. With that being said, I highly value anyone from any ethnicity that challenges institutional racism so it may be broken down and equality for all may be the standard. Whites, blacks, browns, yellows, purples, rainbows, all colors that are making an effort to move towards a united future, I appreciate you.
To tell you how I deal with racism is not easy. I personally begin dealing with racism by finding the humor in it. Some stereotypes exist because they had some truth to them. We must remember that every person is unique and while one experience may be similar in many others’ lives that not everyone may have experienced it. As a Mexican, I find the “chancla” (sandal) stereotype that all Mexicans moms use the “chancla” to threaten their children into behaving quite funny but can personally attest that not all moms use this tactic because my mom didn’t. Also, growing up riding the public school bus hearing the terms “tater diggers, wetbacks, and spicks” used to describe field workers we would ride past I came to not take it personally. For one, I didn’t want to give the people using those words intended to cause pain have the satisfaction of causing me pain. Second, I knew that we each had different experiences growing up and for one reason or another they’d adopted those words from someone else in their life. I didn’t want to hold that one person accountable for all of the history of ill will towards Mexicans and the origin of the derogatory words. I much rather give them an opportunity to evaluate and break apart why it was that they used those words. I can’t say I actively did this growing up but I now make an effort to make people critically think about why it is they believe, or have some racist stereotype about people in their minds.
You won’t be able to change everyone’s mind immediately. Especially if they’re the type of racist people that actively are trying to degrade others. To these types of individuals I simply don’t allow them to faze me. Again, I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of hurting me. There are so many others interested in being much more mature and progressive about racism for me to give too much thought and emotional attention to active racists.
I return back to the quote I started this post with. I believe that we are all powerful beyond measure. Do not doubt that. I believe in you. I believe in us. The greatest satisfaction that I will have is to know that as humans we will be much more united than divided as time progresses and minds are opened to coexisting peacefully with each other. I remember my mom telling me that when I came home from kindergarten once I told her that I would not care about the skin color of a future girlfriend because I had learned that inside we all have the same kind of heart. I encourage anyone reading this post to realize that. We all have the same type of heart as humans.
If anyone in your life has ever been racist to you, someone you care about, or a stranger on the street I encourage you to forgive them. Let them go on as they are, if that’s what they wish to do, but stand together with everyone that acknowledges how terrible racism is.
I have put a contact form below, please reach out to me with ways that you may deal with racism or if you need someone to listen to you about a time someone was racist to you or someone around you.
Thank you for reading.