"... I have always thought that there was only one race, which is the human race."
By Irene Alero Thompson
Why in this world is blackness seen by some people as criminality? Does the word crime have a skin colour? The Apartheid of people with black skin started a long time ago and many blacks have paid painfully for it, many are still paying for it and the greatest fear is that many more will still pay for it. There is still one unanswered question which is “what are the grievances of people from outside the black race against black people?” If the racial imprisonment and torture of Nelson Mandela wasn’t enough to prove an undue brutality against black people from their white counterparts, what about the blood of the innocent blacks like Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Greg Gunn and many others being killed every day? How much more do we have to pay to let the world know that blackness is not criminality?
As someone who was born and raised in Nigeria, I have always thought that there was only one race, which is the human race. Even though I was taught in school the different races in the world, it was taught in a way that all the races seemed the same because my teachers never said that one race was better than the other. I never knew what the word “racism” actually meant until I traveled to a foreign country to study and I was told in every possible way that I was black even in my college.
Being born and raised in Nigeria where eighty percent of the people are blacks, I rarely heard of the word racism. My growing up experiences wouldn’t be the same with blacks born in countries where there are people with more than one skin colour. A black child born into such countries will notice from childhood that black kids are treated differently from the kids with different skin colours. As a child, he wouldn’t be able to comprehend the word racism but he could see and feel that the kids with white skin were handled in a better way than him. They both grow up in the same society, one feeling like a king and the other like an outcast. The black child grows with one struggle in mind – how he can be accepted in the society which he was born into. As he struggles, he tells himself that if he becomes great, the society will accept him but then he realized that all his efforts to be accepted by the society didn’t work out, instead he is seen and tagged as a criminal because he is black.
In this world we live today, it is still ridiculously shocking to see the number of people who still think that being black is being a criminal. Even though showing or displaying racism is a punishable offence by law, it didn’t totally eradicate the belief that a person with a black skin is seen most of the time as a criminal. I remembered coming out of a fashion store one day with my ex boyfriend where we went shopping. As we got out of the store, the security alarm triggered off and I immediately stopped and raised my two hands up. My ex said “Alero, you didn’t have to. You should have walked out like I did” and I remembered telling him that he is white and I am black which makes me a potential criminal until proven otherwise.
The law against racism might have constrained people from openly displaying it, but we as blacks see the real truth in the eyes of racists. We see the distrust, bullying and distance. If you as a white person still feel great hatred for black people, maybe you should pause and ask yourself “what your grievances are”.
The rainbow is so beautiful because it has seven different colours and that is what different skin colours are meant to do – to beautify the world. Check out kids born from black and white parents, how undeniably adorable they are. If there were only black skinned people or only white skinned people, the world would have been so dull. Black and white colours are among the two best colours to match together. So why can’t we as humans (black and white) understand the simple logic that there is beauty when we accept one another.
We say that we have eradicated racism by putting certain laws in place but every of our actions scream “RACISM”. Racism is not totally banished until we can think in our hearts that blackness is not criminality. The word crime is not in a black special kind of dictionary. Crime has no skin colour. No one is better than another because of his skin colour. There is only one race called the “HUMAN RACE”.
Black parents please put it in the heads and minds of your kids that being black is not a disadvantage and every black person, put your hand on your chest and say like me “I am Irene Alero Thompson and I am unapologetically Black. More than anything, I am proud to be black”. White parents please train up your children with the mentality that there is only one race which is the human race and let them know that no one is better than the other because of his skin colour.
The same way we believe that not all whites are racists; the same way we want whites to believe that “Blackness is not Criminality”.