Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Being Free from Social Captivity

Change has come to America. Now changes are what must be understood through actuality of practice worldwide.

I don't think that it is impossible for a white person to understand the struggle of our ancestors in the past. You don’t need to experience something to feel another’s pain. How we empathize with our brothers and sisters is what makes us human. That is if we choose to remain mortal rather than falsely deify ourselves as gods.

I do think it is impossible for non-coloured people to gauge the struggle and fight to not be seen only for the colour of our skin, a day-to-day struggle. Communal pain is not a proclamation of emancipation leading to growth; it is a declaration of human vanity and selfishness, and ultimately are unwillingness to accept our uniqueness. Racism is most violent discourse because it mocks those who are already oppressed visually and then institutionalizes them based on the limitations of what it is that they are seen to contribute to society. Lawyers, crack fiends, gardeners and the teachers, we are what we do and our success is measured on that output.

What identity does is complex. The markers of our empowerment (ie/race) are similarly that of our disempowerment through “othering” ourselves. The longing of belonging allows for discrimination.

No one ever understood me, I recall from when I was young. I was born in Hammersmith, England; I was six when I moved to Canada. In the UK I was chased and always called brown bread, or Paki (though I am Indian, not Pakistani). I fell from a tree of diaspora. My parents were exiled from Africa by Idi Amin, where they left their lives and any accumulated wealth behind. They did not leave their culture. I was a product of their displacement and resiliency. Their East-Indian-African heritage made me a point of confusion as I moved around the globe. I was a Paki in England, and when I moved to Canada I was laughed at for being a British accented brown girl, that claimed to have parents from Africa. It was peculiar to Canadian children why a brown girl has such an accent back then.

I never gave into not knowing who I was because I knew where I came from, and that answer was as complicated as the person I am today. I am a leader, a friend, a poet, a writer, an actor, a comedian, a sister, a brother, a daughter, and a human being. No different than you, but they sometimes see me through a different lens though I never saw myself as they did. I am Hindu, I am Christian, I am a Jew, I am Buddhist. I am a believer in faith.

Tupac Shakur remains my inspiration as an urban poet, a most interesting storyteller. His eloquence is as sharp as his pen. He talks about what he knows, where he came from, where he went and the things that he saw, which perhaps he never wanted to see.

We all struggle to be, but it is our choice to live free of captivity.
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