Racism hurts. Racism is everywhere and occurs everyday these days. People say that Brexit is to blame. I think that Brexit and Trump have allowed racism to flourish by legitimising it. Racism was always there. It never lurked in the shadows but now it lives in broad daylight.
Racism plays in colours, in forms that go more than skin deep. Whenever I encounter racism I am devoid of colour. My world becomes black and white. The world of racism is binary. I can cope with most adversities. Racism is different. There’s nothing you can do to change yourself or the hatred being directed against you. It’s debilitating. It depresses me for days.
Most of the time the racism is subtle because it lives in the structures of society. It is hierarchical, classless and takes no notice of gender. The characteristics of racism make no difference because it’s still down to skin colour.
We are the ‘others’ who are easy to spot.
The Guardian has published an article titled, ‘It is time we made the case for a modern, open, new England’.
The article is about the kind of country that we want to create. People like me wonder whether there will space for ‘us’ in the future no matter how Liberal the terms of the debate are. Immigrants are humans but we are talked about in terms of numbers, as a collective to be swatted away. There are too many of us, too many of us take jobs away and we take up too many places in schools, offices, doctor’s surgeries and the list goes on.
Politicians love it. It absolves them of having to explain and defend their austerity choices on public services. Even Labour plays along. Scapegoating immigrants is a happy merry go-round for politicians.
The pressure from racism grows. I cannot articulate what it requires of me except to be what I cannot possibly be, a White person of British descent. I am asked whether my name really is Jane. It is. Am I Muslim? I am Christian but would it matter if I were Muslim? I suspect the level of racism directed against me would be worse if I were.
I was asked by someone who runs an Instagram account called ‘No More Hurt’ to write about my experience. Part of this blog post appears on that Instragram account. The author of the account is endeavouring to raise awareness of the causes of mental hurt. Racism does cause mental ill-being.
The author wanted me talk about what I do to cope with racism. I read to nourish my mind and soul. I am a fan of self-help and well-being books. Though there’s no specific self-help strategy for coping with racism, working on my self-esteem helps. ‘Don’t let the buggers get you down’ is a fantastic British piece of advice to follow at the worst of times.