One of the biggest frustrations I have with navigating society is the unspoken prejudice. This isn’t unique to race, this can be relatable to gender identification, sexual orientation, disability, and many other minority classifications.
The worst part of this is that it is the easiest form of judgement to excuse, and is so subtle, and yet so powerful, that it’s impacts are often longer lasting than direct verbal abuse.
Around the time of writing (what has become) one of my most popular blog posts titled “Fun Fact: Racism Towards A 3 Year Old Exists“, one of my friends shared a video on Facebook. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, this video was one of the most powerful pieces of content I have seen. It was so relatable and overwhelming to see such an unspoken topic shown so publicly. It was a sigh of relief, because every time you try and explain one of these circumstances, people think you simply “have a chip on your shoulder” or you were “looking for racism where it probably doesn’t exist”.
In all honesty, I think this is the most difficult thing that Stacey has come to terms with starting our family. I’ve had this situation for my whole life, but she only saw this when we were together, and she becomes more angry than I do because I simply can’t walk around being angry all of the time.
As I’ve described before, there is a look that people will give you which you can’t describe, and you know that it is a look of disapproval, purely based on your skin colour.
I am fortunate enough to be a higher-rate tax payer. It’s tiring to explain that you can afford to do something, or to brush off comments about making money illegitimately. Effectively having to prove that you don’t fit their idea of a person of colour just to have the same level of engagement with someone. People look at you on your commute to work, or your meal out with your family, and you have to be reminded of your minority traits once again.
When most people think of ‘the talk’, they give a cheeky smile and think of ‘the birds and the bees’. In households with people of colour, that is the second talk a child will receive. One day I’m going to have to tell Isla that she’s faced racism since she was a toddler, and that she will continue to do so. I’m not ready for it if I’m honest.
Will This Ever Change?
I don’t think so. The problem with racism, or any other kind of ‘disadvantage’, is that the situation is relative. If you normalise acceptance of skin colour, people will focus on foreign accents. If you normalise acceptance of foreign accents, people will focus on your right to be in the country if you weren’t born here. The list goes on, and minorities start to merge, speciality around poverty and health too.
The best we can do, as far as I can see, is ignore it and let it consume as little energy as possible.