When I first thought about writing this article I had no idea what I would say. I don’t share much of my experience in China with others whether they are outside of or inside the country. I don’t share with those outside of the country because they wouldn’t understand and I don’t share much with those inside because though we are all in similar situations our circumstances sometimes are so different in magnitude one has to wonder if we are in the same country. The common ground however with sharing with my counterparts no matter where they are is that we have all experienced the “isms”. I’ve specially chosen that suffix which means a state or quality of being; a doctrine or belief because whether you are black, white or purple you have encountered the “isms” before. You know those that says you’re not the right colour; colourism. You’re not from the right race; racism. You’re not from the right social group; classism. You don’t believe that wealth belongs to the workers; capitalism. You do believe that wealth belongs to the workers; socialism. You must have a strict obedience to a particular belief; fundamentalism. You should focus on the greater good; utilitarianism.Writing about all of these makes my head spin, so just imagining experiencing one or more. Sadly that is the reality for many. It is my reality.
In Jamaica, classism is prevalent everywhere. It denotes where you go to school, which stores you shop and where you work. The same for colourism; there was a time when if you were a certain shade of brown you would not be hired to be in an area where you interact with customers, you were just not the right fit. We have made strides but there is still a long way to go. People are still being refused jobs because of their address and how they look as opposed to their qualifications and skills. When will it end? It being institutional racism and the systematic oppression of a people. It is reflected in disparities regarding wealth, income, employment, housing, health care, criminal justice system etc. It is where the powers that be controls everything and decide who gets a seat at the table and who isn’t even let into the house.
Prior to coming to China I had been warned about this issue so I anticipated it but upon arriving here and actually experiencing it, it was a difficult pill to swallow. However instead of hating the system I decided that I wanted to be apart of the change. Racism is not inate. It is taught. So why not do what I do best and teach them what is right? You see our brain takes us through 4 stages of learning. It is my job to help them to unlearn the myths and the garbage and relearn the truth so that we can move forward together.
Language is what separates and connects us at the same time, by bridging the gap I can take them on an enlightened path if you will. One where you don’t look at someone’s colour but you look at the warmth of their smile or the twinkle in their eye. One where you don’t look at the clothes that they wear but you cherish the hugs that their arms give. One where it doesn’t matter where someone is from because we’re all interconnected in some way or other and we are all apart of Mother Earth and whether we are here today or gone tomorrow the earth will still spin on its axis so why should we be caught up in a constant battle of who is better when we will all return to our maker?