The day I decided to fight back against racism
1. The day I was called a ‘monkey’
I was born in France to African immigrants. I grew up in a low-income neighbourhood and experienced racism and discrimination first-hand from a very young age. I was called names, ostracized by my peers, and told to ‘go back to my country’.
2. The day my designer handbag was taken from me
When I was 18, I saved up enough money to buy myself a designer handbag. I was so proud of my purchase and excited to show it off to my friends. But as soon as I stepped out of the store, a group of men surrounded me and demanded that I give them my bag. They called me a ‘thieving monkey’ and said that I didn’t deserve to own something so beautiful. I was devastated.
3. The day I was told to ‘go back to my country’
I experienced more overt racism when I moved to the outskirts of Paris for university. My neighbours would regularly call me names and tell me to ‘go back to my country’. One time, they even threw garbage at me while I was walking down the street. It made me feel so worthless and helpless.
4. The day I realized that racism and discrimination are learned behaviours
It wasn’t until I started working in a multicultural environment that I realized that racism and discrimination are learned behaviours. People are not born racist; they learn it from their family, friends, and community. And the more exposure they have to diverse cultures, the less prejudiced they become.
5. The day I decided to do something about it
I decided that I wasn’t going to let racism stop me from living my life or achieving my dreams. So, I started an anti-racism charity called ‘Stand Up To Racism’ with the aim of educating people about the harmful effects of racism and promoting social cohesion. We work with schools, businesses, and community groups to deliver workshops, training, and events.
Racism is a learned behaviour that can be unlearned. through education and exposure to different cultures. We all have a responsibility to Stand Up To Racism and fight bigotry in our communities.