Society Needs Real Change

Once upon a time, there was a princess. She didn’t know she was a princess, she didn’t feel like a princess, she didn’t live in a castle like a princess, she didn’t have a crown like a princess, but she was a princess, all because she was white.

It’s a sad truth in our world: the lighter the skin, the more accepted you are. The darker the skin, the more apt you will be to be judged and discriminated against. 

I watched a video last night: Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten Scientific History of Racism  which you can watch here  

It was a fascinating exploration of the American interpretation of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, using Indigenous peoples of North America, South America, Africa, Asia – basically anyone of colour – as side show and zoo exhibits, usually displayed in their “natural habitat” and expounding on the suggestion they may be the missing link between humans and apes.

I recommend you watch it. It’s an eye opener. 

Indigenous people were literally taken from their homes across the sea, and placed in zoos within enclosures designed to mimic their natural homes, and were observed by day trippers while living and functioning day to day so white people could study and be entertained by their primitive “antics”. I kid you not. They were expected to live as if they were in their normal environment, ignoring the white people gawking at them.

All the while, segregation and slavery was still a thing all over the U.S., indeed the world, where slaves were treated like livestock, sometimes worse than livestock, and worked to build the country we recognize as the United States of America today, for no compensation and a whole lot of pain and terror.

Original Artwork by Nicholas Kersteman, copyright 2020

All over the world, beauty is considered skindeep. The fairer the skin, the more beautiful and acceptable you are. In India, advertisements are posted everywhere for the latest cream or procedure to lighten the skin. Here, the darker skin you have, the lower you are on the ruler of hierarchy, and the less standing you have. 

Here in North America, to be white is to be protected from most inequalities within our system. Simply a glance can determine whether you are judged decent or criminal; educated or unlearned; gainfully employed or loafing around; legitimate revolutionary or mindless thug. Those of us who are white don’t realize this because we live in our little bubble of respectability and never experience anything else. Many of us “feel” for our black brothers and sisters and denounce the racist behaviours we see and hear every day but we don’t really get it because we have never lived it.  

Since desegregation, protests and demonstrations have dotted our cities, led by such peace-mongering greats as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and other notable group efforts, such as the Woolworth Sit-ins and the Freedom Riders  and the March on Washington (MLK Jr), making enough noise to trigger changes to the constitution and laws of the country, and signalling small victories to people of colour everywhere. It didn’t happen without fatalities either – although MLK Jr was against any form of violence – others were not, and sadly, resultant riots and deaths made headlines too.

Not to dismiss the struggles of our black brethren, or our Indigenous citizens, or belabour the history – you can read about it all over the internet – here I wanted to expound on my personal feelings and the desperate need for change in our world. I was going to say “in our society” but it’s really a worldwide issue.

I started this post off about a white princess – and in light of recent events and in my research and reading, I have discovered that is how I have lived. As a white princess, safe in my ivory tower from all the negative connotations a darker skin tone would have affixed on me. Notwithstanding my own struggles as a woman, as a domestic abuse survivor, as a mental health sufferer, I have still lived better than the other half of our society. How much harder would my personal struggles have been if I had been black or brown? Likely 1000 times harder – if not insurmountable.

These are the things I am realizing now, in the wake of George Floyd  in Minneapolis. I was raised to be non-racist, and I can proudly say I do not judge on skin colour or ethnicity, nor do my children, and I thought most of the people I have known through my lifetime were the same. But now I realize this is not the case. Those subtle and sometimes not so subtle racist jokes (a white guy, a black guy, and a Hispanic guy walk into a bar…) They’re out there; you’ve heard them; you’ve chuckled – maybe uncomfortably – at them too, I bet. I know I have. Well guess what peeps, THAT’S RACISM. That’s the impetus that keeps racism alive and well even within communities that think themselves inclusive. And when we giggle uncertainly at those jokes we are perpetuating the very thing that allows authorities to put a knee to a black man’s neck for a non-violent infraction of the law, but allows a white woman to only do community service for bribing universities for acceptance into an elite position for her child. 

Yes, all lives matter: all people of colour, all whites, all women, all disabled, all animals, all police, all doctors, nurses, all children, yes we all matter. No one is saying with #blacklivesmatter that other lives don’t matter. It’s just that black and coloured lives are the ones targeted as less-than, potential troublemakers, thiefs, rapists, baby abandoners, layabouts. Black lives are being snuffed out with no thought to consequences by police in takedowns; they are being disrespected in stores; they are not being hired when a white person is available; we are more frightened seeing a black man walk down a dark street than a white man; we assume the black woman with six kids is on welfare; we assume the black youth with baggy pants is selling drugs. We ask ethnic people “where they are from” and some rude people tell them “go back to where you came from”. It happens all the time. But not to me, because I’m a white princess. Technically, I have less right to be here in this country than any Indigenous person, because my parents were first generation immigrants – but guess what? No one can tell because I’M WHITE!  That doesn’t even make sense because if the Indigenous were the First People’s, then it stands to reason all white people are interlopers! Even our racism is illogical!

It’s ASSUMED that I am law abiding, educated, responsible, loving, and financially . stable because I have the right skin colour.

And THIS is what I wanted to say.

Racism is alive and well, and we need to change it – now and forever. No more small steps, no more gradual adjustments. We need to jump in feet first and blow the naysayers out of the water. We need to speak up – loudly – when we witness an injustice. Splash that shit all over social media and call out the fuckers who insist on making this world a nasty, evil place to live. We need to call out those racist jokes, stop laughing, and help move the right attitude forward.

Because quite frankly, this princess has a lot of room in her ivory tower for all people of all colours and ethnicities and abilities and no room at all for those who insist on keeping society in the dark ages, gawking in fear and wonderment at our differences and putting up fencing which keeps us all apart. We are all living precariously right now on this earth. We are all in danger of eliminating ourselves and our world, and the only way we can save ourselves is to pull together as one team, one race, one family.

Erase Racism. Forever. 



All I Want…

All I want is a kinder world, peeps.

Is that too much to ask?

I want wars to stop; I want hatred to disseminate into nothingness. I want people to stop hurting each other, hurting their children, hurting animals. I want everyone to have enough to eat, and all the clean water they need. I want everyone to have a roof over their head. I want everyone to have access to all the education they want, and I want them to pass on what they learn in order to help others.

I want the dollar store products to actually be a dollar!

I have chosen a path which is not an easy one. After years of personal oppression in one form or another and then intense domestic abuse, I have chosen to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. It took me many years to reach this point of awakening, but in retrospect, it was always in me. I actually always felt this way, but didn’t know where to start, and probably wasn’t ready anyway. You don’t have to like it – but then if you’re reading this blog, you probably agree anyway – you don’t have to though. I can do what I need to, say what I need to, and it shouldn’t affect those who do not agree at all.

But sometimes it does. And that’s really cool.

When I post a meme or an article that gets a dissenting response, I get kind of excited because I know it struck a chord in someone. Typically, it’s in disagreement, but I don’t care – it has caused them to think, to formulate their viewpoint, express it, and open an avenue for discussion. This is a good thing, but more importantly, it is a sign that someone’s conscience has been tripped, and like a domino chain, one thing is going to lead to another – eventually.

We are stubborn creatures. We don’t like change. Change is part of the unknown – outside our primitive cave, away from our tribes, was the unknown, filled with predators, isolation, danger. Today, we still don’t like the unknown, change, things that are different. When faced with change, our security, what we have always known, is challenged. Change is denounced, we defy it, we fight it to protect our security. Eventually though that domino effect kicks in and we learn to adapt.

Suddenly, we all start to agree: yes, slavery is bad; yes, women are equal to men; yes, racial discrimination is wrong. And it took one person to introduce the idea, to put forth their arguments, to spread the information, to set the example. Just one person.

I bet they pissed a lot of people off at first, spouting their new-found idea. I bet they were ignored, laughed at, vilified perhaps, until the idea started to take hold with a few others, and grow with time.

Maybe even violence ensued. ‘Cause that’s how we humans roll.

I feel so strongly about developing a peaceful, kinder world, that I am willing to stand with those game-changers for my cause, despite the unpopularity it may generate among my friends and acquaintances.

Veganism may be a fad to some, a trendy diet to others, a rebellious act to yet others, but to me it’s the best path for a kinder world. Because if we are kind to the “lowliest” animals on the planet, it stands to reason we will be kind to those we consider equal. Eventually, this concept may lead to us thinking of all living beings as equal, which takes things up a further notch to a perfect world.

That’s what I’m striving for, peeps. So if I post something that pisses you off or ignites a spark of dissention among you, then I am doing my job right.

Because all I really want is a kind, peaceful world.