The last few editorials I have written have yielded quite a lot of reaction.
Many of you have praised me for being so vocal about racism and racial profiling; others have turned my words into something political, which they are not, but it’s all good. I really like to see people discussing and agreeing to disagree on topics.
I am humbled by the fact that so many of you have shared my words with your friends and family. I am honoured that you spent some of your precious time reading this column and that you found it interesting enough to point out to others.
Some of you have even looked me up on Facebook and requested my friendship and that is just terrific.
Before I accept a request, I always go on the person’s profile to see what they are all about. Are they in the same line of business? Do they share common interests? Do we have mutual friends? I’m glad to see my circle of friends being enlarged by a variety of people; I love all people and do not discriminate by race, religion, gender or sexual preference.
But after writing a couple of pieces showing I am sympathetic to the Islamic cause and after seeing myself receiving more and more requests from Muslims, I started wondering…
Can you imagine? Moi, who doesn’t have one racist bone in my body, caught myself wondering if accepting so many requests from Muslims would land me on a terror watch list!!! Would simply pressing “confirm” possibly incriminate me in the future? Heck, my editorial topics alone were probably enough for the government to start monitoring every key I ever pressed from my computer! What if my friends base showed a fair amount of Muslims? Would that be frowned upon?
I took a deep breath.
It is sad that we live in a world where social profiling is so present that one would actually react like this in my situation. And I sort of realized that I’m not immune to it. But I decided to not let prejudice win . I went ahead and became friend with every Muslim who asked me to connect. I would do the same with Christians, Jews, Hindu, Pagans, Atheist and others. The government can watch me if it wants. I have nothing to hide.
Where am I going with this?
Racism is something you can’t fix if you don’t know it exists, so we have to train ourselves to see it and we have to point it out when we witness it. We have to stop using derogatory terms when referring to one another. Even if we personally see nothing wrong with those terms, they are offensive to others. “Don’t be an Indian giver”, “Don’t Jew me down”, or stuff we may not even realize such as “It takes the cake” or “Hip hip hurray”, are terms rooted in prejudice. We have to make a conscious decision daily not to let prejudice win and we need to exercise tolerance. Fear was the reason I initially reacted the way I did.
Fear is the reason many of us are leery of other ethnicities. Learning about each other is the only way to not be afraid. Let’s unite on our similarities, not divide on our differences. We’re all more alike than you think.