on being racially profiled

Racism is something that I’ve quite honestly never really given a second thought to. Yes, I am very aware that it exists, and that there are extremists still out there, but in my own little world, all was fine. That was naive of me. I know that now.

My mom and I had a pretty awful experience on Sunday afternoon, in that we were racially profiled. We were verbally assaulted because of the colour of our skin. We were not allowed to open a case at the police station, because of the colour of our skin. And it hurt. It still hurts.

I don’t understand how one can be judged, based on their race, their “colour”. I find it despicable. The last time I checked, we were all human beings, all inhabiting this place called earth.

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Simon Kneebone – 2014

I think what has upset me the most, is that if the shoe was on the other foot; if I was the person of colour and had the white people shouting racial slurs at me, it would have been a totally different story. Just Google Vicky Momberg, Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart. Why is it not the same when it’s the other way around? And believe me, there are cases of black on white racism (reverse racism), but they’re just not as “freely” reported on.

Yesterday, a popular radio DJ was fired because he referred to the South African president as a zombie. He has even been reported to the Human Rights Commission. But I was not allowed to open a case at the police station after my mom and I were racially profiled and sworn at, and called false names. The police officer told me that “these racism cases are he said/she said, and that it would be very difficult to prove.” I was also told that I had to bring my own witnesses, and that because there was no physical damage, nothing would be done. I asked the officer if he was a member of the South African Police Force, and he said yes. I then said surely as a police officer, armed with the information that I provided, he would then go and do his job as a police officer and investigate, locate the witnesses, interview them and determine from an impartial view, what transpired on Sunday afternoon. He just looked at me, and said that no case was going to be opened. You know, even if the case was thrown out due to a lack of evidence, I just wanted the 4 people that were involved in this matter to realise how serious what they did and said was. That it was a crime to throw racial slurs at us, and to also physically grab me. That’s all I wanted. But I’m the minority. Apparently, I don’t matter.

This now makes me think of the majority of the inhabitants of my home, South Africa. How they lived in fear because of the colour of their skin. They weren’t just racially profiled and sworn at. They were beaten, tortured, imprisoned, murdered. I know that what I experienced on Sunday was minuscule compared to what so many of my fellow countrymen have gone through, but that doesn’t make it right, or make it hurt any less.

So my rose-tinted glasses have been cracked, and that’s probably a good thing. My children see colour, and I encourage it daily. But they do not, will not and never will racially profile someone because of the colour of their skin. Actually, they will not racially profile full-stop. I was brought up to accept each and every person for who they are, flaws and all. You are not flawed because you’re white, non-white, yellow, pink, purple. You are a human being, I am a human being. We both bleed red blood, require compassion and love to thrive, and we need to learn to love one another.

We are going to destroy the foundations that were fought so hard for if we do not learn to look past the colour, respect our fellow countrymen, and work together.

I for one, am never going to stop learning and pushing forward.

G

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