Stand Up, Speak Up
I've been struggling to finish this particular piece for a few days now, actually make that weeks. Initially started out as a post about my experience at the Women's March in London on the 21st of January but then I read a few articles posted by friends that left me a little confused.. some of which where they were more or less calling out those of us who chose to attend the march as privileged white women.. umm I'm black so that didn't sit right with me for many reasons, one being that.. I'm black. Yes anyway, moving on, so then the post became about my trying to justify why I chose to attend and participate in the march, and then I thought hang on a minute, why should I? Although I will give you a little context on why I chose to attend, mainly because I'm vain and I like talking... about myself so deal the fuck with it. Anyway I digress, so back to the march. I was actually going to London to visit a close family friend (whose children in true Fijian interwoven family ties) are related to my own spawn of vaginal pain and they invited me to join them.. so I did and I'm glad I did. By the way I can feel you rolling your eyes and asking how the hell does this relate to the march?? It relates in its entirety. People who were against the idea of the march were more focused on how it was about the one man, the current POTUS, but in actual fact, the march became about more than just him. It became about the recognition of equality, my children and my friend's children have to grow up with this one-sided idea that all is well with the world because women have equal rights and we should stop getting our proverbial panties in a knot (I see you asshole with your keyboard warrior tactics throwing that asshole shade about how women whinge too much.. get the fuck over it) it's about allowing us to exercise those rights and in turn treating us fairly.. I mean its 2017, are we still having to ask and justify ourselves??? The march became about the recognition of the right to choose whatever the hell you want to do with your body; it became about the recognition of the rights of minorities who live within our communites, who have made a life and contribute to the growth of our communities, whose children have become friends with our own children; it became about the recognition of listening to each and every voice, be it young or old; black or white; female or male; quiet or loud, it became about being enlightened in a time that we are being desensitised about all that is happening right before our eyes. And that my friends is why I chose to march.
So fast forward a few days later, I'm back at home with my own family and I'm on a literal high from the previous weekend's happenings. I've managed to find a charity that I want to support and all seems well but my current state of utopia was quickly going to make a u-turn to a state of dystopia. On the particular day of mayhem I took a walk down to the local Co-op with my 6 year old and whilst casually browsing through the spice rack looking for cinnamon powder, I felt the burning stare of a caged wild animal drilling holes into my back (actually no I'm being melodramatic, it was more a huffing and puffing behind me that made me turn) so I turn to find a Caucasian young man of slight build standing behind me clearly on the verge of exploding from a bad case of diarrhoea, in this case verbal, who then proceeds to let loose a verbal tirade of expletives and ending with him telling me in very poorly articulated expletive-laden English to return to my country of origin. In my head I'm thinking.. Oh honey, little do you know how much I want to return to warm tropical weather and leave this cold, wintry, vagina freezing iceblock! Thankfully my 6 year old (who usually disappears to the snacks aisle as soon as we enter the shop) didn't have to hear this but happened to come waltzing around the corner, (she has a habit of dancing .. everywhere) as this hateful creature finished speaking. I was now in a predicament, a part of me, actually 99.9% of my body and near exploding mind wanted to tell this man to go fuck himself whilst stabbing his eye repeatedly with my cinnamon spice jar until he lost the will to see but that remaining barely hanging on by a thread 0.01% part of me took stock of the situation and reminded me that there was a young child who could learn from this and how I handled myself from here on end, would impact how she would deal with a similar situation when she was older. So I let loose but I decided to go with educating the young imbecile on how speaking in that manner to a person of colour in this day & age and in this country was actually illegal and that people like him are the reason we are being stereotyped and compartmentalised into categories, i.e him being the racist, me being the mad black woman. But at the same time as I spoke to him I thought to myself, I wasn't going to allow him to make me feel that I have no right to be in this country nor do my children who have been born here and are citizens of this country. Having my 6 year old present really put things into perspective on the whole slogan of choosing love over hate. And if this is the kind of rhetoric that we choose to remain silent about when a person of power is spouting hate and inciting fear about how someone who might look different to you shouldn't be allowed to co-exist with you, is going to be the status quo, then my friends I fear, the experience I had, (a first I might add since I moved here 7 years ago) is going to become the norm. People are being emboldened by the sheer confidence that the current POTUS has, to openly discriminate against those who might not fit the so-called class or colour bill that they espouse. People are being emboldened by him and in doing so will lash out at those that they deem different or those that they deem unworthy of being a part of this country. The only way to take this power away from such people is to stand up to it and educate them; stand up to it when you see it happening and call them out on it. Stand up to it and choose not to be silent.
I leave you with an excerpt from a poem titled Equality by Maya Angelou,
Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you’ve heard me crying,
and admit you’ve seen my tears.
Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb in my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.
Choose love always,