Green Shirt

Updated: Aug 3, 2019

To begin, let me disclose the meaning of racism. The worldly dilemma dubbed “racism” is the prejudice and antagonism towards somebody of a different race, as well as the unequivocal thought that one’s race is superior to that of another. Now, since that is out of the way, let me explain…

Imagine walking around in your community neighborhood and wanting to go to the bathroom. Obviously, you walk towards the local washroom and expect to walk into the men or women's room in order to ‘do your business.’ But then you notice something strange. Each washroom has a label indicating which t-shirt color was allowed to enter — unexpected right. But then you realize that your t-shirt is green, and that stall is the final one — almost 500 meters away — so you walk into the nearest stall, the white one. Although it is evident that the law explicitly stated that there is to be no ‘t-shirt mixing’ in bathrooms, you still did it because you were desperate. You walked in fearing the glances, the madness, and the possibility of being arrested, but all you wanted to do was go to the washroom. As soon as you walked in, the heart palpitations intensified, the heads turned, and the mouths opened. This was a crime. You ran into the nearest stall, did your business, and dashed out. Ok, now you were supposedly safe, right?

Now imagine driving to your local supermarket to pick up some groceries. Driving within the limit, focusing on the road, and trying to enjoy your time. Suddenly, you notice the police lights tailgating you. You step aside and get checked by the supremacist officer. He was wearing a white t-shirt, but yours was blue, so he asked you to step out of the car in order to perform a full cross-check of the car — sounds absurd right? So, you step out of the car and get a first-class view of the glaring scowl of those. As people come and go, you try and fathom the words that they are putting together as they cross your path and you come up with “oh it's just a green T, nothing surprising!” As you stand and witness the officer inspecting every fabric of the car, the thought that arises to the mind is: “Just because I wore my green shirt today, I was categorized and treated as a criminal, a trespasser, an outcast, but why? Now, imagine this was really you, a victim of utter discrimination, unable to walk the streets near your home because you are afraid of being crucified, grimaced at, and falsely impeached. You couldn’t imagine that, could you? Although I clothed this global issue as something with the mere significance of a t-shirt, this is a real thing. Racism has been and still is conspicuous in our modern-day. The purpose of one of these articles is to portray a world problem that is usually only displayed as statistics by the media but runs much deeper than a few numbers on a television screen. However, let me suggest that this issue is not even displayed on TV as numbers, it is barely even covered due to the sheer controversy over it, especially where it is most frequent — in the United States.

Racism started in the United States in the 1600s when white European settlers first brought Africans to serve them as slaves in their homes and farms. Posterior to the Civil War, the racist legacy of slavery persisted invariably until this day. This discrimination brought about movements of resistance, including the Underground Railroad, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery March. This global problem has sparked controversy all around the world towards countries who have high rates of racism and extreme reports of ‘unlawful’ or ‘unfair’ treatments towards minorities in their countries.

However, racism doesn’t run through facts, and in fact its a problem that is rarely brought up in the news broadcasts due to its contentious nature, as well as the bare fact that the government is run almost solely by white people who are not willing to pursue or work with movements that support these people. In order to reiterate, racism cannot be presented as facts or statistics, people must visibly see the reality of what happens to victims of racism. As the saying goes, you must see to believe, but it is almost impossible to completely understand the agony of the people who live in conditions where they can’t take a step outside without being worried about their well-being and safety, no matter where they live. The overgrowing arrogance of the ‘superior race’ has been present for hundreds of years and prevails right into our days.

Although this has never happened to me due to race it is close to my heart because it has happened through another form of racism, through religion. I was walking through Rodeo Drive alongside my cousin and mother — who wears the headscarf — in the summer of 2017 when a man wearing a tails suit vulgarly and assertively said, “go back to Islam woman” (as if Islam was a country) and walked right past as if it was some type of normality to say that. I was shocked at the tone of his voice considering the fact that we were walking casually, not doing anything out of the ordinary. My mother, on the other hand, stayed calm and didn’t react to the ignorance and close-mindedness of this man. This was one little instance that changed my view of people, and I could not imagine this on a larger and wider scale, which is what black people are forced to deal with on a daily basis. It is an absolute disappointment at how the world and media goes quiet when it comes to minorities that have the potential to live in harmony with others but are put into a darker light due to their history of slavery, which continues this legacy today.

It is without a doubt that the past cannot be erased and the future cannot be predicted, but the present situation is within our reach, and we can change this world through whatever we do, no matter how small. Ignorance isn’t bliss, but compassion is.

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