I know it’s Tuesday today,and not really mid-week, but this post was not going to be about one particular subject, so I gave it the best title I could think of before forgetting what I want to say here.
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. I feel like I should be writing about that, instead of whatever’s going on in my mind about writing. I always feel like I’m failing to be a good member of the society by not writing on current issues and important days such as today. When I published my post about Trump being in power, I thought whatever I wanted to say had become irrelevant because I posted it much later after the Presidential Elections. On Women’s Day, my feed was flooding with articles and blogs about feminism and women empowerment and portraits of women that had made a difference. I went through as many as I could and bookmarked the rest for when I had the time to read them. However, I didn’t write anything about Women’s Day myself, even though I’m always having a heated debate on feminism with imaginary people in my mind. With all the voices out there, echoing what I felt or giving me something new to learn, I felt like I needn’t add anything to it.
Though I now realize I should have. Every voice and opinion matters. Adding mine to the crowds would have made the noise louder and perhaps helped the world to hear us. However, I didn’t realize this until I wrote down the previous sentence.
Today I find myself in the same situation again. I don’t seem to have anything worth saying on this day, when perhaps for twenty-four hours everyone realizes that the color of our skin is just a color and that it doesn’t define us, and shouldn’t divide us. I don’t understand much about racism. I’ve read about it on the internet and in books, but I’ve never seen it around me. In India, you’ll find everyone to be of a different color. You’ll find the fair-skinned in Jammu and Kashmir and the Himachal; you’ll find dusky beauties in Bengal; and you’ll find chocolate-skinned people down south. I’ve rarely heard of racial discrimination in India, perhaps because our prejudice is instead rooted in our ancient caste system. Of all the things we’ve inherited from our ancestors, this is the worst. The couple of incidents of racial discrimination that I did hear of were directed towards black people who’d come to live in India.
But my lack of knowledge doesn’t mean that I think people’s color defines them. I’ve never seen such discrimination nor been taught to give importance to people’s appearances; and although I’d seen both black and white actors in English movies (mostly dubbed in Hindi), I never knew there was such a long history of racism that still continues in some parts of the world. I only came to know about it a few years ago when I read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. I found it ridiculous that people thought someone to be lesser than them only because their skin colors differed, just like I found it ridiculous to think the Dalits weren’t allowed in temples simply because of their caste. I’ve never understood how and why humans have given birth to such forms of hatred. I don’t know much about racism, but I want to know more, and do something to end the little of it that remains. But if there’s one thing that I do know about it, it’s that it’s wrong.
That’s all I have to say about it, though I wish I knew more; that someone around me had told me about these things from the beginning, so that I had something significant to contribute to this tide of voices. Instead, I sit back with the limited knowledge that I have and watch the crowd roar.
In other news, my flash story, Monochrome, got published on the 16th of March on Flash Fiction Magazine, and so far, it has only received positive comments. This story is important to me in several ways. It’s my first published piece, something that gave me more confidence as a writer and assured me that my writing was not worthless, after all. Though, on the day of publication an odd fear gripped me. I was suddenly scared that the story was not really good enough and that I could have made it better. I was overjoyed when the story started receiving comments, but I did not read my own story because I was afraid I’d probably find faults in it and be disappointed with myself rather than think it to be an achievement, even if it’s a small one.
Later I told myself that I should think that I’ve set a level for myself, and even though it is a low one, I’ve got to perform better next time. I’m still scared of reading my story, though. Is it some kind of creative fear I haven’t heard of, or is it ignorance, or am I simply being ridiculous?
I’m probably being ridiculous.
Anyways, it’s barely Tuesday, so I hope you all have a happy and productive week!
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
— Audre Lorde