What is Racism?

Don’t be complacent, be an ally.

Reverse racism is not a thing. Of course, protests are going to make you feel some type of way, maybe uncomfortable and excluded at times; but that’s not racism. There’s a noticeable difference between experiencing racism and feeling inconvenienced.

Racism is coming to an airport early because you know you’re going to be “randomly selected.”

Racism is an innocent, unarmed black man fearing he’ll never make it home.

Racism is being set on fire because of your hijab.

Racism is being shot because you’re an Imam.

Racism is reporting a white man to the police, and end up getting shot because they didn’t believe you.

Racism is being told to “go back to China” even though you’re Korean-American.

Racism is your culture not being taught in the history books.

Racism is your undocumented, hard working father being told he’s nothing but a “rapist, drug dealer or a criminal.”

Racism is being told your natural hair needs to be toned down and tamed.

Racism is being told to uncover your natural hair because it’s in a scarf.

Racism is being shot by the police while reaching for your license and registration.

Racism is watching your father, your role model get shot for reaching for his license and registration.

Racism is being asked how bin Laden is doing.

Racism is being told your food is “weird” and “smelly” during lunch time.

Racism is being told at job interviews that “your image is not what this company is looking for.” Again and again.

Racism is being asked to alter the name your parents gave you.

Racism is being called Mo when your name is Muhammad.

Racism is being followed around a store by the security guard.

Racism is making sure someone knows all your passwords in case you don’t make it back home.

Racism is closing your eyes every time a car goes fast because you think it’s coming for you.

Racism is wondering why.

Racism is having to laugh a bit louder to prove you’re not the stereotype.

Racism is being lynched by the KKK for being black.

Racism is comparing Black Lives Matter to the KKK.

Racism is hearing “I’m not racist, but.”

Racism is people wondering who forced me to dress the way I do.

Racism is being taught racism by people uneducated about racism.

Racism is telling your family you love them before leaving the house in case you don’t make it back.

Racism is having to leave earlier than everyone else because it’s not safe to walk in the dark.

Racism is having to skip out on the places your friends get to go.

Racism is being told that “your people” don’t matter.

Racism is being told your life doesn’t matter.

Racism is being asked if your father still lives with you.

Racism is being asked how someone like you got into college.

Racism is being told “you only got in because you’re Asian.”

Racism is me having to write this to explain racism to you.

Racism is someone telling you your religion is weird, then watching them wear a Bindi to Coachella.

Racism is being told you’re being dramatic.

Racism is being told you’re being dramatic for asking for equality.

Racism is questioning whether you’re being dramatic.

Racism is being labeled an “angry black woman” for speaking up.

Racism is asking yourself if it’s worth it.

Racism is wondering if bringing children into the world is a good idea.

Racism is your little sister asking why the “world hates us.”

Racism is wearing a hoodie to hide your identity.

Racism is your parents waiting up in fear because you were ten minutes late.

Racism is being told to go back to where you came from, even though you’re from Texas.

Racism is being asked how someone that looks like you can be from Texas.

Racism is finding a swastika on your door.

Racism is having to hire security guards for your mosque.

Racism is watching how your immigrant parents get treated because of their accents.

Racism is being told you don’t belong here.

Racism is being used as that “token friend.”

Racism is being tear gassed for protecting your land.

Racism is America taking your land.

Racism is thinking about which majors have jobs available for people that look like you.

Racism is being the first to be laid off. Again.

Racism is working twice as hard, with someone else getting twice the credit.

Racism is having to teach your sons how to prove to the police you’re innocent.

Racism is your parents begging you to stay home.

Racism is having to protest over and over again for basic rights.

Racism is watching mothers pull their children away from you in the grocery store.

Racism is having your first impression made for you.

Racism is the shocked look people have when they say “wow you speak English so well.”

Racism is watching others speak for you.

Racism is being told to speak English.

Racism is a black man having his teeth knocked out by the police.

Racism is being accused of being part of ISIS.

Racism is being told to ask ISIS to stop.

Racism is me having to explain this again and again.

Racism is your hijab getting ripped off.

Racism is getting fetishized.

Racism is being asked to speak on behalf of your community.

Racism is forcing yourself to be perfect, because “you’re a representation.”

Racism is being told that this article is racist.

Racism is a constant battle to destroy an “us” vs. “them” world.

Racism is being asked for your birth certificate.

Racism is constantly being asked if you’re a US citizen.

Racism is the whole class turning to look at you.

Racism is getting arrested for the same crime the other guy left free of charge.

Racism is having to fight while everyone else has moved on.

Racism is being told racism doesn’t exist.

Racism is so much more than I can type out.

So please, stop trying to explain what racism is if you don’t understand.

Racism is like the air. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I mean, you’re still breathing, right?