A wall of prejudice and its offspring, racism

in

(Thunder Bay’s Anti-Racism Advisory Committee produces this monthly column to promote greater understanding of race relations in Northwestern Ontario.)

By Aqsa Munawar
Canada is a liberal country where religious and cultural beliefs are respected and there is no place for racism. I am 14 years old but unfortunately, after wearing a headscarf, I have been through much racism.
In two other Ontario communities before I came here, I have been told to leave Canada, that I will never belong, and that I am not allowed to live here and be a part of this country.
I don’t think anyone deserves to be told this That is why I strive to make a difference because it is needed to maintain peace and freedom among ourselves.
Racism has existed throughout human history and is usually filled with hatred of another person because of language, skin colour, intelligence, place of birth, customs and traditions. It has influenced slavery, wars and the forming of nations.
Racism is also characterized in broad generalities such as the expectation of certain races being better athletes, better artists, or more intelligent.
Though this might not all sound like a bad thing it does show how narrow-minded people are and how racism is a limited mentality that corrupts people to believe things that are not even close to being the truth.
Asking a person to define racism is very difficult because we are all human and have different opinions that have been formed due to background knowledge from our past experiences, research, or through discussions. Not everyone is right and not everyone is wrong
Opinions are one thing but facts are another. That is why there is more than one type of person, race and ethnicity in this world, so that we can all educate each other and explore other parts of the world and stimulate our minds through discussion and exchange of ideas.
Racism has been brought into this world by hatred and lies.
There has been a wall put up in our society. That wall is called prejudice. That wall has now become the offspring of racism. and torments thousands of people around the world today.
Through this offspring, discrimination, segregation, and separation have contributed to the horrendous massacre of destruction and death that is racism.
Why do people have to live in fear while living quiet and peaceful lives? I think that racism is blindness, the blindness to see beyond ourselves and beliefs and witness what is outside our comfort zones.
Nothing will stay the same unless it is willed to stay the same. This is where we come in. There is always someone who wants to make a difference if given the chance; therefore we will create that chance.
To stop racism at its core is something that will not happen through discussion alone. It will take time and dedication to eliminate the cruelty of racism and promote acceptance in our society.
There should be organizations that are dedicated to talk to our youth about the topic so further generations don’t get infected like the generations before them.
There is one thing I would like everyone to remember: Racism is not born into this world, it is taught. Stop the spread of such a disease before it devours all that is important to this world and to each individual.

(Aqsa Munawar is a Grade 9 student at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute. She enjoys volunteering, debating, writing, drawing, cooking and sports, and wants to be an orthodontist.)