The Everyday Racism Project
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they must be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”- Nelson Mandela
So said the late great Nelson Mandela. During his extraordinary life, he was the living embodiment of those greatest of human qualities; love and forgiveness. If one man could change an entire nation, based on the premise of loving and forgiving one another, then I’m sure that a few like minded people who read this post can do the same in changing attitudes towards race.
My reasoning for creating the Everyday Racism Project wasn’t a sudden spontaneous idea. It was formed after being subjected to years of racial quips, comments and remarks, in much the same way that the vast majority of women are subjected to sexist comments throughout much of their life.
If we were to go into all the instances, it would actually beggar belief, considering that we live in the 21st Century. Now, some of you might say that I’m being too sensitive with an issue such as this. It’s something I’ve heard a lot — “Oh, he’s just joking”, “Oh she’s from that generation where everyone made racist comments”, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Ignore it and it will go away”.
Try telling that to Stephen Lawrence’s family, or Rosa Parks who defied anarchic US legislation and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger 55 years ago. Did Nelson Mandela just ignore the evil apartheid regime? He fought against it and the world stood with him.
The fight has not stopped however. It goes on and through a process of vocalisation and education, we can put an end to racial prejudice. Now those of you who know me as Edward James Herath aka ‘The Flaneur’, will know that I began this journey with my good friend and fellow uncompromising blogger, and creative superstar Robyn Harris aka @theramblinggirl. She eloquently penned a call to action, as well as her thoughts on joining the project:
I have been rather generously gifted the wonderful opportunity of co-administering the Everyday Racism Project on Twitter. If you’re familiar with the Everyday Sexism Project, then you’ll not be unfamiliar with the kind of goals myself and my co-admin, Edward James Herath, are aiming to reach. With limitless enthusiasm, and a tight, unforgiving grasp, we would like to invite Twitter users to share any experiences they have had with racism, or any situations in which they have encountered the belligerence of racism, by including #EverydayRacism in their respective tweets to us.
With limitless enthusiasm, and a tight, unforgiving grasp, we would like to invite Twitter users to share any experiences they have had with racism, or any situations in which they have encountered the belligerence of racism, by including #EverydayRacism in their respective tweets to us.
Before I conclude, however, I feel as if I should explain my involvement in the Everyday Racism Project. I understand greatly that, as a white person of a privileged disposition, there is little I can truly do to understand the true effect that racism has on people of colour, in the modern day. My role in the project, therein, may cause offence to some. It is not my intention to attempt to speak for any person of colour, and I will not be imposing any of my personal views on matters of racism, as I understand that it is not my place to. It is only my intention to observe, and to listen to those whose voices need so desperately to be heard. And, thus, I will only be sharing quotes and articles that have been penned by other writers, theorists, and people of colour. Amongst other things, of course.
Whilst still a huge supporter of the project, she has moved on to focus on her journalism career which I wish her all the best on. Nevertheless, the project continues with a new creative superstar, my best friend and confidant, Nancy Wu, aka @TheWuTravels.
In the meantime, I leave you with this thought. A friend of mine once asked me what the difference was, between him and myself. I instantly replied, that the only difference, was that I could stay out in the Sun for a longer period of time than him. He instantly fell into fits of laughter and replied, “That’s so fucking true”. It’s only skin deep, the differences between all of us. If we can work towards a more harmonious and prejudice-free society, then the world will indeed be a better place. One day, we will reach that promised land.