Brendah Nyakudya was the first to ‘inform me’ of the Virgin Active Gym race issue issue. I say ‘inform me’ but she was merely tweeting about this incident and I was listening/reading as I was preparing to leave work after yet another one of those hectic Mondays. You don’t want to know about my Monday by the way. I could tell my friendo i.e. Brendah was err how shall I put it – extremely ticked off and I’m being diplomatic here? I stayed at work a little longer and continued to read up on the issue using various other social media channels. In short I was reminded once again that racism is alive and well. However most of us know this already or have either experienced racism in some form or shape.
Not to belittle this sensitive and extremely important incident but….I have a fundamental issue with this recent incident. You see my problem revolves around how we seem to be drawn to some forms of racism versus others. To clarify myself here; it always seems easier to discuss racism when it’s white on black as opposed to the other way round. Some argue that blacks know more about racism than whites. Is this necessarily true? However, racism like most things in life continues to evolve. I firmly believe that we should tackle racism in general. Let us approach it from a holistic stand point and do what we can to address this destructive element.
I recall when I was living in Sydney many years ago now. I had just finished work and was heading home. I worked in an affluent part of Sydney. I jumped onto the bus as usual and sat down at the front for a change. Opposite where I chose to sit was a middle-aged white lady who immediately stared at me and proceeded to clutch her handbag. Everyone around me noticed this and there was an air of discomfort. What would the black man do next? I was extremely hurt to be honest. Here I was making an honest living and I was riding the bus from work with this lady, who figured I was going to rob or mug her right there in this bus full of other passengers headed on their way. I proceeded to inform this lady that I wasn’t planning on mugging her that day. I think my exact words were ‘I don’t usually mug white ladies on Tuesdays; I usually mug them on Fridays when I’m looking for that weekend cash flow’. She was extremely embarrassed and most of the people around me laughed at my little joke. I think I made my point that day.
Anyway I digress.
What I was attempting to illustrate with this scribe is our collective need for racial tolerance in general. I would like us to acknowledge and address racism even when it’s black on Indian, black on white, white on mixed race et al. In other words, let us not just react as we have with this Virgin Active Gym race issue just because some white gentleman referred to a black lady as ‘bloody k*****’. Let us simply address racism in general. Let us be mindful of government policies that encourage resentment and help perpetuate this seemingly never ending race issue. Let us always be mindful of those around us from different backgrounds, different socio-economic groups and so forth. Let us also make a big deal about racism when blacks are the perpetrators. Racism is still an ugly act irrespective of who is committing the crime. As this incident has clearly illustrated, we still have a long way to go in the fight against this form of segregation.