A Letter To: My Son About Racism

Harry and Husband

My Darling,

Racism is real, but so is humanity.

You are such a beautiful ball of innocence and purity.  Your soul requires nothing but love and nurturing and your view of strangers is determined by how wide their smiles are toward you.  I wish I could assure you that this is the way it will always be and that your blissful bubble will remain intact.  Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, it will.  But you will begin to notice patches of darkness and times when this bubble will feel like a forgotten land.

I look at you and I see your Daddy in so much of you; the shape of your eyes, your long torso and the little blonde hairs on the top of your ears and on the small of your back.   But it is the physical features passed down from me that will make your world more challenging.  Your golden skin, chocolate eyes and dark hair will cause judgment and fear in those who choose to hold hate in their hearts.

The world is changing and I cannot yet tell you where these changes are heading, or how far they will have gone by the time you are old enough to read this.  “Racism” is not a word or concept that exists in your universe.  I cannot even contemplate explaining to you that the colour of someone’s face (something you openly talk about in such a blasé manner), may be the single reason for hate and fear.  Even at your age, the concept is too irrational and too ridiculous to understand.  I dread with the full weight of a heavy heart, the day that you will have your first brush with racism:

That Day when someone will not want to play with you at school because of the colour of your skin.

That Day when you will hear a stranger call your Mummy a derogatory name and not understand why.

That Day that your bubble will pop.

On That Day, you will come home to me crying and in pain, a pain that you don’t understand – not one that can be fixed with ouchy kisses and a Spiderman plaster.  Believe me, my baby, the pain will be tenfold for me seeing you like this; seeing a part of your innocence being taken away forever.  The anger, the injustice, the sadness and the isolation are feelings that we will both share on That Day.  How dare “they”.  How bloody well dare “they”.

I wish I could protect you from That Day, but the truth is that I just can’t.  Racism is real and it is an ugly beast that is growing in mass and ugly ugliness.  It might cost you jobs, opportunities and friends.  It will mean that you will need to remain more alert than your friends when you are old enough to be out independently. People in authority may treat you differently to your friends with lighter skin.

How the hell is that fair?  What makes it ok for people to do this based on their own ignorance?  Based on the amount of melanin in someone’s skin?  Really??

Do not accept it.

Don’t you dare accept any of this as right, but don’t you fuel it with that hot head of yours either.  Learn the correct balance to allow yourself to handle these situations with intelligence and dignity.  Don’t EVER become someone else, or deny/hide any part of your identity.  Be open with people when comments cause you, or others, hurt – even if they came from a harmless place.  You will gain respect and learn to cultivate true and deep friendships this way.  Channel the anger wisely.

Harry and BabySome few will make all the wrong assumptions about you before they even get to know you.  Show them who you truly are.  Show them how your beliefs are centered on intelligence, kindness, love and charity and you be bloody loud about it.

Be the light.

In time, those assumptions will make you pity the people who make them and not yourself.

Take inspiration from great people in today’s world.  Look at Ravi Singh of Khalsa Aid – the international aid charity.  He has been nicknamed “Super Sikh” because he literally flies around the world leading his organisation to provide hands-on help to those who need it, when they need it.   Look at the Sikh Welfare & Awareness Team (aka S.W.A.T) who voluntarily cook and drive hot food around our UK cities to feed the homeless and those in need.  These wonderful examples of us don’t care about race or religion, just humanity.  They share your belief system and do so much good for this world.

Look also at the wider community.  Everywhere you see an injustice, you will see people trying to put it right.  Everywhere you see hurt, you will see people trying to take away the pain.  Everywhere you see anger and fear, you will see kindness and hope.

Every.  Single. Time.

See it, look for it, hold on to it.   The voices of the good may not always be the loudest, but they are the strongest and will be heard for the longest.  And they will always outnumber the haters.

Finally, look at how you came to be in this world.  A Mummy and a Daddy so physically different but who love each other so much it makes you and your brother cringe!  Two families from different ethnic backgrounds, religions and cultures were bound together and have since then, created your support system.

Look at us.  This big, multi-coloured, micro-universe of yours sharing and showing you (and each other) nothing but love and respect.  We will always, always be here to help you, reassure you and remind you of who you are and what you can achieve.

They say that out of the darkness comes light.  You, my beautiful boy, must remember to be the light.

 

SHARE
Harry is a working mummy who spends her spare time picking dried cheerios out of the rug. She has two beautiful boys with the love of her life, Ed who shares her addiction to babies and cheese. They've both been reminiscing about sleep since 2013.