The colour of judgement – a poem about racism

It’s the first thing you see

It’s me

I Hope you feel silly staring as I smile

You’ve been caught.

You’ve probably forgotten

But I haven’t 

Because it’s me

You’ve proven it to be the first thing you see

And damn it I’ve just opened my mouth too

I’m officially a novelty act to you

Forever a tourist in the place I call home.

What do you think I’m going to do?

you’re scaring me more than I am you.

Willingly giving another reason to be anxious.

You’re wasting your time just like me

We’re both human

Yet something tells me you don’t agree?

I’m not going to hide

It’s driving me crazy.

I’m hoping you’ll be ashamed but most of all?

I hope one day you will have changed.

Hi everyone! I wrote this poem thinking about all the times I have felt upset about people staring at me or saying something uncomfortable about my skin colour. Where I live in Ireland you can probably count on one hand the people in the area who have coloured skin that you see and on two those you rarely do. For a long time I haven’t been able to get out because of my health and alongside this it has for sure contributed to the social anxiety I overcame the most part of. 

It is obvious that we are not from around here and we are always asked if we’re tourists despite the fact we have lived here for 13 years and recognize some of the people who ask. I have been asked why my skin is this colour; If my dad works or in fact lives with my family at all (this was included in a series of questions that nearly drove me to tears), Once upon hearing the news of my sister getting a job I was told we’re lucky we have our British accents looking the way we do and it hurt to be looked at like that. It made me think that I’m being scrutinized and judged until I speak and then I’m some kind of novelty. I am constantly on edge when I’m out and about and this has only just started getting easier. Although one day I would love to move back to the UK to be closer to the family who don’t live here (and I loved the diversity there), Ireland is the only home I’ve ever known as my mind won’t take me back far enough to living in England I was so little 😂 here is what I’m used to.

We once heard some “information” that had been given to someone when they asked for directions to our home by people we’ve never met and described my family as “the white lady who lives with the black man”…can some people see no wrong in the words they use? What about saying the lady and man who have been married for 25 years and live with their daughters? No mention of the fact we are a family because you don’t know us. The other day when I got my ears pierced the assistant asked me “would you like to hold your mum’s hand whilst I do it?” (Of course I did! 😂) and it was so nice to be asked because everyone just assumes my mum is my friend and not my mum even though we do look the same (my mum was almost in tears with happiness because it was a beautiful thing to happen 💗). All of these things may be little to some but they are big to us.

How I look can’t be hidden and I wouldn’t want it to be. Similar to how the people who stare or ask intrusive questions wouldn’t want to be treated the way they treat others. Of course in the long run it only makes us stronger as a family but that doesn’t mean its easy to overlook and block out of our minds. Of course I am more conscious of it happening compared to it happening as much as it used to and what keeps us going is knowing that everyone is out getting on with their own lives and you have to remember that the majority don’t care about yours so shouldn’t be nervous of a small stare that cannot always be interpreted in this way or you’ll drive yourself mad with worry. 

I love me and you should love you (because this can happen to anybody. I think it depends on your surroundings and is not something you should label yourself as the problem about). I’m not going to let anyone make me see those I love and myself any differently. I love internally and externally. There may be things I don’t like about myself (for example my health and a number of things depending on what eyes my brain let’s me see life through each day 😂) but there is nothing I don’t love. I wouldn’t change for the world (unless it was something that I could improve upon like stroppiness 😂) I have my dads grin that breaks my face and my mum’s long non piano playing fingers (that we would both love to learn how to play one day! 😂). I wouldn’t change any of that, especially not when people who don’t know me at all show their true colours. 

The colour of judgement shows itself in wandering eyes, harsh comments, bullying and worse. It hates to be identified as racism because it knows no truth and it’s pain can be inflicted upon anyone. It is a mask that can be removed but is left on by the weak. Threatened by those they feel threatened by and it’s not OK. Whereas many of us can take that mask off after this post as we are allowed to feel anger towards them we have the ability to forgive, these people will most likely not remove/question their views and for that I can only pity them. We must all remember to treat others how we would wish to be treated ourselves.

Before I go I would like to say that the art I used for this post is not completely random! 😂 The crayons laid out are all the colours of the rainbow but are each covered in gold (I thought that could signify that we’re all human and united).

Thank you for reading! 😉💗 I was incredibly nervous to write this but I feel like I can’t act like it doesn’t happen and isn’t something that I think of everytime I’m out because it is and I like to think sharing it could be of some comfort to anyone reading this! Have a lovely day!

30 Comments

  1. Dear Elsie,

    I loved your post. It was quite a personal experience for me as well. I wish I could say it is comforting to know that there are others such as me who go through racism too but it actually is the most discomforting feeling and a very piercing reality for some of us. Thank you for your post. Have a nice day…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! You’re right it’s not even comforting to know that others can relate as it shouldnt happen at all but at the same time it is nice to know it’s not a personal thing as the people who hate don’t even know me. Hope you have a lovely day too 🙂

      Like

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