A personal essay: I’m not the only one who sees the beauty in a sunset…

IMG_3511 Perhaps this post is a bit deeper than what I normally write. It is something that is very important to me, today and every day.

As we celebrate today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it is a reminder of the world that Dr. King envisioned. His messages of love and perseverance and infinite number of quotes pour out over social media. It brings to my mind a reflection on the state of the world, where we have been, where we are now and where we are going. His messages should be a reminder to us not only today but everyday. But perhaps, the more things change the more they remain the same. Perhaps this post will be too simple of an argument for some people. Perhaps a lot of people don’t care. But maybe it will make some people think. It’s merely my experience in a world full of love but also one that, through my life experiences has shown me some pretty ugly things – but things that I may never had realized had I not had those experiences.

It saddens me to see a world where someone stood up for human rights, where someone preached love and acceptance, where someone worked so hard to incite change in the world and to inspire people, is a world that is still struggling with acceptance and still so full of ignorance.

There is so much love and I think a lot has changed since Dr. King fought for civil rights and yet still, we are struggling. Maybe some people will find what I’m saying silly, in the sense that I am not someone who has lived through oppression and hatred and slavery. I’m not someone who has experienced such a horrible kind of hate first-hand but in my opinion, we are all human beings are we not? And, if one human being is experiencing oppression or hatred or racism, we should all feel deeply as if our brother or sister or mother or child were experiencing it and we should all see the wrong in it.

On the news we see men being shot to death for playing music in a parking lot, or walking with a hood over their head. We see young men being shot point blank and their killers not having to stand trial. This is not the kind of world that Dr. King worked so hard for and it isn’t the kind of world that I am proud of. Is this true, that in 2015, people are still being racially profiled? That people are being judged simply because of the colour of their skin?This world is so beautiful in so many ways and people are so beautiful in so many ways and life is so exciting, in so many ways. It’s just so heartbreaking when humans are so ugly. The ugliness of humans in this regard has been demonstrated over centuries though atrocities conducted against other humans just because of the colour of their skin. We would be foolish to think that this isn’t still happening today. 

This is coming from someone who is in an interracial relationship.

Before entering this relationship, I knew that slavery had happened and that there were still racist people and unfortunately, that would likely never change. And as much as I saw people as people, I realized a lot of people saw colour before character. But, there were many things that I didn’t know. Living in Canada, I somehow thought we were better than other places, that racism simply couldn’t exist as much here. And maybe it doesn’t exist as much here as other places, but it’s naive to think that it doesn’t exist at all. It was shocking and sad and made me feel at a loss for words when I realized that some people are not be able to trace their heritage because of the horrors of slavery.

I knew about slavery but it never occurred to me that people wouldn’t be able to truly know where they came from after hundreds of years of slavery. I felt awful that it never occurred to me that a lot of people’s last names come from their families’ slave owners last name.

It still exists.

I see it when my boyfriend is hassled going into certain places, more than other men of other races. I see it when we can’t get a cab late at night but dozens fly right past us with lights on. I see it when he is pulled over by police and then questioned for things other than why they supposedly needed to pull him over, and then has his car searched for no apparent reason.

To the middle-aged men in the mall with the looks of severe concern: don’t worry, I am not being held against my will or being taken advantage of. I am not dating some ‘thug.’ I understand curiosity but, do you really need to crank your neck that far just to get a look at us?

To the women who stare equally as much: I realize staring doesn’t mean you are racist but sometimes I think I know you personally and I should remember your name by how long you hold your stare. Is it really that intriguing?

To the people who are surprised that I’m dating a black man because I don’t have “the look” of someone who should be dating a black man. I do understand what you mean but does it even really matter enough for you to say it?

To the lady in the parking lot who told my boyfriend to go back to Africa after I confronted her for saving a parking stall on Boxing Day… black people can be from many countries and continents (duh) and while all of humankind likely originated in Africa, he was not born there. And what does that even have to do with parking on Boxing Day?

To the people that had a huge problem with the Cheerios commercial that featured an interracial couple… I will not write the words I truly want to write here and I will not give in to your hate…

To the people that go and watch historical movies about slavery and such atrocities thinking that these things don’t still happen and that, that was all history. Please think again.

To the girl who asked my boyfriend why he was dating a skinny white girl and said that she didn’t think people should be in interracial relationships. We are happy and there are things more powerful than the initial, physical attraction. And God-willing, we will have beautiful, interracial children who will learn about culture, understanding, love, empathy, compassion and not be taught to hate anyone, for any reason, period, full stop.

People should be free to choose who they want to be with without criticism. It sickens me to think of all the horrible things that have happened throughout time and those that are still going on. Nowadays, just because people aren’t as vocal about their true feelings doesn’t make them okay. At the end of the day we are all people, that’s it, just people. We have similar interests, we like to eat similar foods and go to movies, or ride bicycles and take pictures. Why does skin colour cause someone to think they are better or that people of two different colours shouldn’t be together? We all see the same sun rise and set and stare at the same moon and stars. We all find beauty in the same nature, why can’t we find that beauty in each other? Today, and everyday we should keep in mind the world that Dr.King wanted for his children and work toward that world for our children.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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www.thoughtsinamoment.com blogger. mom. beautybounter. public relations.

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