24 Jan The Consequences of Discrimination
I’ve been fortunate enough not to have been discriminated in a professional environment because of my gender. There may have been a few minor cases where I had been in a general environment but I hadn’t noticed or it wasn’t significant enough; which is still definitely not acceptable but I guess it comes down to how I feel at the end of the day, in this case, I was fine. But on the other hand, I have had a life time of discrimination of my skin colour, ethnicity and height.
Really…? Height? Yes… because I am 152cm at 19 years of age, I get discriminated. Not so much nowadays as my body has developed
and fitted into a ‘woman’s’ body, but as a child, I was always the size smaller than my actual age; and would face bullying in school mostly. Comparing my height to my skin colour and ethnicity, is a whole different level. I had learnt to accept my height, and I now look back and think, there was nothing to accept. I never had an issue with my height, but was led to believe so.
I am not black. I am brown. This is something that has always disturbed me as people have chosen to put me in the same category as other skin types. I am proud of my skin colour and I would still be proud if I were darker. The reason I raise this point is to demonstrate the level of ignorance that I have experienced. It is not just about the colour, it’s also about my identity. There are different tones of dark skin which helps identify someones ethnicity. For example, my ethnicity is Indian, my type of colour is significantly different compared to someone from Africa. Often, I have witnessed individuals labelling people of darker skin colours as one group. This perspective can lead to dangerous generalisations and stereotypes about particular communities.
Throughout school I was bullied horrendously. I understand that it’s a norm in an environment like school, nothing is perfect and there will always be cases where there’s some sort of bulling; even outside of school, in workplaces or just your personal social environment. But with things that an individual has no control of? Such as skin colour and where you come from? Even if it was possible to change these two things, why should we? You are who you are and you should NEVER let another individual who is (lets not forget) just like you…. make you feel like you should change. It seemed that I had become immune to the bulling at some stage where I just didn’t care what they said. Not in the sense of thinking ‘just ignore them and don’t care what they think’. It was more, ‘why bother?’ I gave up; I DID care what they thought and said. The thought to stand up for myself was always terrifying as I’d get shut down straight away. I had accepted the lies they told me and started to believe the negativity. I resented my skin colour and had always wished I had white skin through most of childhood and sometimes even to this day. At times I still even feel ashamed to be Indian because of the words that were said towards Indians and the unreasonable expectations they thought I would and should have.
It used to hurt in the beginning. But thankfully for age, maturity and the support from people that did care and accept me, I eventually could feel that I really just did NOT care what others thought and said; I could accept who I was and I still can today.
It has been a journey that I shouldn’t have had to go through.