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Micro-racism or racism?

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

Editorial opinion..

Having been on the Island for the last few years, and in view of what has been going on for quite some time, it's my opinion that we need to start re-thinking and recollecting ourselves. The obvious things we think are okay to us are always the subtleties that matter to others, it's against our humanity, it's against human nature, even our forefathers never behave beastly towards outsiders, or foreigners the way some of the lads do. The beautiful island where everyone abroad is putting into their basket list of a must visit is now turning to a bedrock of racism, aggression and misogyny.

Don't think I must have misunderstood what I wrote, yes I am talking of racism, and if you like we can recoin it to suit your ego, call it micro-racism, the invisible, subtle talks and communications we pass to those marginalized communities. It has become so obvious and part of us that we don't even realize when we are regenerating these hurtful feelings towards others, and in any case when confronted, we see it as usual. ”But I have so many friends of color” the obvious response, but who cares how many friends you have if you are not courteous and cautious in your communications and actions. Ever heard that actions speak louder than words? For a proper understanding of this phrase, let's look at these instances..

Have you ever gone to a mall, or supermarket, perhaps you are window shopping or you are looking for something, then there is this person always pretending to be looking for something but rather monitoring your steps, Someone following you from point A to point B?in every corner of the shop they are always there? And by the way, the more you keep following or concentrating your cameras to the person of color who is supposedly to be a thief, the other person who is the “saint “ in this regard is the one stealing and shoplifting as they know very well your mind and what you are concentrating on. I know for sure so many people who have complained and even end up buying the stuff which was not in their budget just to prove to the other person that they can afford it. These are the subtle things I am talking about micro-racism.

Just imagine you step into a bus or you are coming from the opposite direction and within your sight, people are grabbing their bags or someone is checking their wallet, phones and pockets etc, what is the message here? You are obviously a robber, an alien and you don't belong here. A third category of human being.

Having normalized micro-racism, we have gone ahead to start practicing real racism. Day in and day out, we hear abuses barreled on people of color. We read in our local newspapers, social media and we even encounter them in our daily moves. It's a disease which needs a cure before it's too late

I wonder really where did the rain start beating us, how fast can we forget the true mankind we have been, the long standing history of Maltese being kind and welcoming. Being an Island, there are so many places with history portraying that it used to be shelters for stranded fishermen, where people used to drop food and drinks, lighting fires for them. Basically the replenishing points. This reminds me about the St. Paul's shipwreck- Acts of Apostle chapter 28. What kind-hearted Maltese people did. If you deeply read the history of Malta, or get an old wise person to narrate to you, you will definitely be amazed how kind- hearted people of this Island were and still are.

Well, maybe it's the millennial generation, perhaps maybe it's how we tend to upbring our kids. The lessons learnt at home, especially what parents discuss in front of their children, anything on foreigners, children will replicate. I am not here to defend the people of color, nobody is perfect either but being the marginalized group they are often the target.

Something has to be done before it's too late, everyone naturally deserves some kind of dignity. Our norms and principles should guide our endeavors, the way we relate with people, no matter the gender, color and nationality makes life beautiful.

Racism here has really gained some momentum, hatred and some kind of being unwanted. I suppose this is attributed to the fact of migration and too many migrants, but, wait, do you have any idea that migration has been in existence from generation to generation?. Human beings are known to be in constant movement from one place to another in search of food, shelter or run away from famine, drought and war or even in search of a better lifestyle . It's documented and it's in the books of history, but how sure am I really that you even read history or know anything about this? You need to read something on Trans-Sahara slave trade, and or Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and many more before pointing fingers. Learn to empathize, be kind.

As I said, there must be something which went wrong somewhere, and so we need to individually rethink how we end up inculcating hate instead of spreading love.

Before I conclude, I would love to really appreciate the good people out there, those making the world a better place for all of us. I know for sure we are not all entangled in this mess, and the moment we practice the right virtues, good deeds will always follow us. For instance, looking at the incident which took place a couple of weeks ago in Gozo of the young man of Somali nationality, being mauled helplessly in front of so many people, others were seen cheering. Thanks to the brave individuals who recorded and even offered to support the young lad by testifying in the court of justice. This tells me , humanity still exists, good people are all over. The spirit of empathy is not something that is given, obviously it's a choice, you choose whether you want to empathize or not. A number of racial aggression's have widely been seen openly and we don't speak anything about it. Its very wrong to cheerfully see someone being molested and you can't even do the least expected to call the police or intervene. Everyone has to play a role in the society we live in today. It was this guy and tomorrow might be you or your sibling. The world we live in changes with time, human beings change. It's a collective responsibility to stop this madness before it finds its way in our doorsteps.

In the society where I come from, there is a Zulu proverb called “Ubuntu” . It means , I am because we are, that is , I am a person through other people . I am a human being like you just as we are all. Let your actions inspire others to want to be part of a better future. Play a role , stand against aggression, say no to racism. My conscience won't allow me to stand and watch while someone is being molested, well it's obvious for this kind of small fights to happen in a drinking spree, but not to this extent, I mean before even the exchange of blows takes off, there are always mediators-they are called action controllers . This reminds me of what my dad taught me, “when you go out at night for a drink, make sure you are accompanied by a friend or friends, at least three ”, and obviously one among the trio should not be over-drunk, to ensure the rest get home safely, and also mediate in case of anything or control the actions of the rest. Anyway, this is a different society , some people's humanity is history. However, it's high time we ask ourselves where did the rain start beating us. Think before you act, have the sixth common sense(intuition) in operation at all times, be guided by reason.

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