Why was he talking about dreams?
Being Indian I have had my fair share of racism directed at me over the years. I grew up in North London on the Holloway road in the 70’s.
I remember the British National Front office on the high street, an openly racist political party. Being chased home by skin heads through the public housing estate was a regular ritual on my way home from school as 6 or 7 year old.
As I got older I noticed the glass ceilings and walls that surrounded my career. You can get angry or you can live your life. I choose to live my life free of anger and try to fill it full of the people I care about and the work I enjoy. I am lucky I have the ability and the education to create my own bubble.
Being chased home by skin heads through the public housing estate was a regular ritual on my way home from school as 6 or 7 year old.
So it was hard to understand my reaction when I was listening to Dr Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech on the radio at dinner on MLK day. I was sitting with my son, who is 3 1/2. He picked up on the speech and asked me what the man on the radio was saying. Why was he talking about dreams? Who was he?
I opened my mouth and then was struck silent as the tears started to roll down my face. I was looking at my beautiful brown son, and quickly wiped them away, I tried to explain who this man was and what an important effect he had on everyone.
With a dry throated rasp I explained that he was talking about love and how important it was for everyone to be seen for who they are, not what they look like.
I don’t know how much he took in from my words but I could tell that he was spellbound by the voice on the radio and the very clear message it gave.
Having children profoundly changes your life in so many ways but when I think of my son’s life I think only of happiness, and it breaks my heart to think that one day very soon he is going to confront this ugliness and he will understand that he is different.
I explained that he was talking about love and how important it was for everyone to be seen for who they are, not what they look like
Listening to Dr King made me realize that so much has changed, and yet right now we see, and need, a campaign for “Black lives matter”. It is profoundly saddening that this is the state of our union.
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