Johannesburg served me the first dose of racism. Since then, my subconscious mind created a bank of things to expect whenever I leave the comfort of my home city.
7 years + of travel, education abroad and collaboration with diverse communities has served both sides of the coin.
Equally, the environments away from home have shown me both subtle and explicit reminders that I am black and different from others. In some way, I developed a thick skin though that should not be the case.
I have countless memories of people who chose not to sit next to me in a train. Restaurants that ignored my food orders. People who said mean words when I walked past them, the most recent and extreme being “your mama should not have given birth to you”.
The truth about racism is, people choose to be. Systems choose to be. Power systems choose to be.
Anyone who pulls a racist comment or action has a choice. A choice to be kind or the opposite of kindness.
I have walked away from spaces that belittled black people. I got tired of defending what other people know or think they know about black people.
There is a lot of unlearning to do for the world to be racism free.
Successful unlearning will not take place in the confinement of four walls. It will happen in our homes, in our streets, at work places, in airports, by the train stations and everywhere as long as there is human-to-human interaction.
The future deserves better and the world has a choice.