I will react

Recieved a remark about the content I posted yesterday which unsettled me. Wont divulge any details but I will write an elaborate version of my answer that I gave to the person.

1): During a visit to india 10 years ago, when I was out, some of my male cousins’ friends (not knowing who we were) eve teased us. I reacted. When I got to my aunts house afterwards, I was told girls dont react. It’s normal for boys to do such things but if girls react, thats when the problem starts.

2): 7 years ago, I went home to Belfast after my degree. I was applying for jobs in my room when an egg lands onto my laptop through the opened roof window. I see a young boy going back into his house when I looked out. Raging, I march downstairs. Parents tell me to leave it. I dont. I call the police. They come around, take details and go around to the house at the back. They come back up n say that theres no evidence that it was the people right behind us who did it. Walking towards our backyard with his torch, inspecting the potato plants, questions what they were. Dad says theres nothing theyd do about these stuff after the police leaves. It’s better not to react he says.

3): 6 years go, in a shopping centre in Belfast, a white man in his late 40s calls a young black girl ‘black bitch’. A white young boy who was with her says nothing, the staff say nothing, the young brown girl watching this, desperately wanting to react, doesnt react.The young girl reacts: ‘im black and proud’.

4): 4 years ago, while waiting to pick up my husband at the ferry port who was travelling back from Belfast, I see an older African man asking the police why they want to search his bags when the Belfast police security searched every item in his luggage. When he continued ‘reacting’ ,1 among the 5 police officers with him said they will arrest him if he “resists”. The brown girl, knowing the mans distress, wanted to react. She couldnt react. Even when she knew how it feels everytime her brown husband gets profiled when he comes through the port.
Fast forward to 2020, a family circumstance required us to take weekly ferry trips to Belfast for few weeks. As usual, my husband always gets stopped on the way back. The no of times i desperately wanted to ask the no of whites they have stopped, the no of immigrants and the no of immigrant criminals they have caught so far. I dont ask. I did however ask the  Police officer who once questioned where I was going (Ferry only goes to Belfast!!!!) whether hed like to see my British passport (ferry never checks ids, even if they do, it doesn’t have to be passport). Checking my passport, his face now red, he asked what I did for living and made a remark about social work being hard. It is hard I said, esp when fighting injustice and prejudice. He awkwardly smiled. I kept my stone face n walked away proud: I finally got profiled and I reacted.

Moral of the story? There is no moral. Racism happens. Profiling happens. Some want to react but cant react. Some learn to react but gets interpreted as “resisting”.Lives get lost as a result.

I write stuff because it brings me clarity. I share it cause it gives me the hope that if any of these can make atleast one person think, it’d be a victory. Do not provoke me if anything I wrote struck a cord with you whether you’re a friend, family or a stranger. I’m not the once-young-girl who’ve been told not to react. I’m learning to unlearn and I will react. End of.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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