We could all take a moment to reflect on what is being said by this author

 

Whenever I read articles on colourism, it is always posed as a problem stemming from lighter skinned people towards those with darker skin. But does this mean that the converse of this form of prejudice does not happen?

As someone who has experienced a lot of mental illness, people have often perceived me as stupid. And I for my part, see the way people reveal their true selves around those they believe they can hurt without reciprocation — they are no small group.

For anyone who feels they are being silenced because they are mistakenly perceived ‘to have it better’, I just want to say this:

What you are experiencing and seeing is still real and it is not racism. It is prejudice. It is ignorance based on appearances. It’s the world’s obsession with placing people into categories based on skin colour, hair texture, hair length, eye colour, foot size, genitalia measurements, muscle size … the list goes on. It is the result of people’s inability to think for themselves. It is others’ opportunistic exploitation of these stereotypes that allows people to be hurt unjustly. Stereotypes allow for an easy ride that disregards the importance of feelings and reflective thinking.

Please do not turn to extremist views or groups in a desperate effort to understand what you are experiencing and to protect yourself; these will exploit you just as mercilessly. No single thing accounts for this world. We may all need food, but food is not the answer to everything in life. Neither is targeting one group of people.

What I do believe, is that we should start talking honestly about how people manipulate common stereotypes. Stereotypes based on race, sex, gender and social standing, and which affect us all.

You may think that categories provide safety; that they help you identify people like yourself. But how does that protect you? Thinking that because someone is different they cannot possibly understand or help you, is the wrong attitude to have. If you allow people into your life just because they fit a stereotype, you may be letting all sorts of individuals in who are not helpful at all but who end up influencing your way of thinking.

Everyone grows in different ways. We have all met elderly people who question what the purpose of life is. Some individuals do not mature in a way that is beneficial. And whilst attempting to change them will usually prove disappointing, doing nothing can be just as problematic. Only by identifying who they are and what they are about, will shine a light on the shadow they are hiding behind.

A free society can only be free if we ourselves are free. There is no way around it.

The writer of this piece wishes to remain anonymous.

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