Fake lips, fake boobs and now FAKE RACISM!
Oh controversy, sweet controversy. Can we never see your hideous, tumour crusted face again? You pop into our lives like a whack-a-mole, take a swift kick up the shorts, then disappear and lie in wait to visit us again.
I don’t really like the word controversy. It seems like everything that happens in this ‘enlightened’ age has this inherent ability to insult just about everyone and their dogs. To be clear, you never insult a mans dog, thats worse than insulting his children. More ruinous yet, everything that is even construed as offensive get’s their own -ism, cause, group of activists and a charity support ribbon (modern hippies are pretty organised).
Now, I was reading a Freshly Pressed blog about Racism and the Asiana Crash, and I have to say that I do understand where the writers are coming from. Racial insecurity has been one of the founding principles of hatred since the beginning of Homo-Sapiens. I also well and truly understand the need to vent, express yourselves through every avenue possible. Now, I am really not trying to have a rip, but at the end of the day we all need to take a step back and lighten up.
This is a photo of me that was taken near the end of high school. You may not be able to tell much just by looking at the photo. On the other hand, if you were a bully or were bullied, you may understand enough. For those of you that don’t understand, I was brown, overweight, and wore glasses. In my entire school I was one of 3 Indians, and 1 of whom left after my first year. Needless to say I was bullied as a teenager. There was never much physical bullying, but there were more than a few verbal taunts. Somehow that was worse in the long run, physical pain fades, some emotional wounds can stay with you for years. I still have my sensitivities, there are some subjects that can be sore points that I would rather not discuss. That being said I have never let any of the incidents truly effect who I am as a person. I have always shrugged them off and excluded those kinds of people from my life. It really can be that simple. You just don’t let things affect you, and more importantly you don’t let them effect how you act in the future.
I am not a stranger to feeling prejudiced. I have in turn been branded by more than my fair share of racial slurs. Change is not something that happens overnight and I think this is something that everyone, inevitably, understands. That being I said, I feel that racism itself is changing. Maybe this is something localised, but I have noticed that racism is losing a lot of its power, funnily enough, to stereotypes and humour.
Whilst I was studying in England I was lucky enough to have a full blooded American Southerner as my best friend. Bob, was born in Georgia and is a full blooded baptist, a fact that strained our friendship time and time again as I am a devout atheist. Fighting definitely has a way of keeping a friendship interesting. The way that we interacted involved a lot, and I mean a lot, of ribbing, niggling and downright insulting. Because that’s what friends do, and in the case of best friends there are no boundaries and lines that can be broken. So he called me a black and I called him a racist incestuous hillbilly, amongst other imaginative titles probably a little unrefined for my blog. Before we even became friends, I didn’t see another oppressive white man and he didn’t see some Indian who escaped from the nearest call centre. Racism was not a factor, it was actually part of our friendship The same can be said for a lot of people, from my generation, that I have met throughout my travels.
SO, FAKE RACISM…
I think that in order to beat racism we can’t make it taboo (that approach works so well with drugs), we take away its power to affect us. Laugh about it, join in the conversation. Yes, people may step over the line and genuinely hurt your feelings. In that case shrug off the pain and let it go. Holding onto grudges does nothing to change the world around us. So when I say fake racism, I mean be as racist as you want but in friendship, not with a barbed tongue. Don’t say words that are meant to hurt because often you can never take them back. If someone insists on hurting you, make a decision about whether you want them in your life and if not write them off. People who don’t add positively to your life and its richness don’t deserve to be there in the first place. If you’ve read my article Growing Up? then you may believe, like me, that fullness of your life does not necessarily mean quality.
So tease Asian drivers and run when you see a woman in the drivers seat. Count your change from a Jew or Greek, and never take a cheque from an Indian. Just do so in friendship and maybe one day the stigma of racism will be truly behind us.
For the record, I have absolutely nothing against plastic surgery. Do what makes you happy.