As a child you sit at the feet of your grandparent, listening to stories of way back. You feel sorry for them and what they had to endure on a daily basis. At school you learnt it through history class. You had to research about slavery and the humiliation of people that were classed as ‘less’. Trust me all those feelings you felt while writing about it or heard from your elders, compares absolutely nothing to experience it is real life first hand.
Yesterday I found myself smack in the middle of a racist incident. The worst part was that my children were witnesses to this whole incident. I had to try and keep calm and not traumatise my kids more than they already were.
Background to this scenario: We bought a few things from a well known store. Got everything we needed and was making our way to the pay till. My husband left the trolley with me and kids. As we approached the line I noticed these two white women in front of me. Everything in their demeanour told me trouble was on its way. I shook off the feeling and minded my own business. I then noticed the one kept on leaving the line to check on “marked down” items. Then she comes back the other one does the same, in the meantime all the people in front of them moved a good few steps. They held me back the line got held up behind me because of this. I kept my cool, but at some point these two women completely stopped. So I tried to navigate my trolley and kids forward. One of them turned to me and started saying racist insults. I was so shocked, first I thought this cannot be happening, but it was. She mentioned something in line of being white and superior to me, and something about bitch know your place, and “ you people have to get your sh!t together”. After the last words she uttered I completely blacked out with anger, I could still see her lips moving but I could not hear as everything got quite around me. All I remembered was her looking at me with pure evil in her eyes laughing as if she won.
I could have stooped to your level, but seeing that I’m a lady I will not stoop to your level .All she had to do was ask:”lady can you please keep my space?” I would have replied with a smile and said:”yes no problem”. However that was not what you wanted, you wanted to humiliate anyone of colour, probably thinking: I’M WHITE AND ENTITLED.
You my dear did not win, nor did you have the upper hand. I feel sorry for you; you are a sad human being. While you hate on people of colour you missing out on beautiful friendships. You not my superior neither am I here to act all superior over others. All I want is to ensure my kids future, go to work and try each day to be a good person. I really do not have the time or energy to hate or belittle anyone. Madiba taught us how to live life and be patient with others. To that person, I will pray for you. I cannot hate it is not who I am, I forgive you. You still have a lot of growing up to do; there is still hope for you. It dawned right there and then on me South Africa is far from ready to forgive and move on. Saturday’s incident proofed just that.
To my kids I am really sorry you had to experience what happened inside the store. We as parents always try our best to shelter our children from harm. Let this not bitter you in any way, shape nor form. South Africa is a beautiful place to live in, with even more beautiful people. Like in every pocket of potatoes you will find a rotten potato. Not all white people are racist or hateful, but in every race whether black orwhite, it is inevitable not to come across a rotten, miserable human being. Every day is a challenge on its own. The good news is you have choices.