I met a young talented African sports man who just won his fourth world championship in his field. He had come back home to renew his foreign visa.
After a while talking in a group he suddenly turned to me saying: “Can I ask for advice?”
Certainly I agreed and he went on: “Can you help me with racism?
Because I often don’t eat lunch at school for the others don’t like me.”
I tried replying: “You know in sports as well in life there are always people to buu for you but the more you score the more silet they will be and when you win they are silenced. So every time you hear this ‘buu’, take it as couragement towards the success.”
He started shaking his head and body for excitement and noted that “WoW I have had it all wrong till now!! Thank you! You couldn’t have explained it better.”
Later on he returned to me asking “Why don’t they want to eat lunch with me?! I don’t understand it!”
“They are not staying away from you as they don’t know you. They are staying away from their own prejudices and fears.”
Was my answer. Again he was overwhelmed with turning his thoughts inside out and hugged me firmly for thank you.
I often think that what am I to give advice for others. Especially on matters that I don’t have personal experience. But this time I got a strong reminder that sometimes it is more than important to speak up!
Later the same night I was in places where I noticed to be the only representative of my skin color. I stopped to think that should I feel something now? I didn’t feel anything, it was only a observation for me. Non the less nobody around me made me feel different or unwelcome.
I know I am lucky not to ever had to question my skin color. That it why it is incomprehensible to me to understand why people like me feel the right to question others?!
Pictures are from historical Stonetown in Zanzibar which was a active slave trading place in East Africa.