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My Mom is Racist

My Mom is Racist

The doorbell rings. It’s late in the afternoon and my mother is washing the dishes while the rhythmic sound of our doorbell echoes.
She tenses a bit.
I ask her, “Mami, why don’t you see who it is?” I’m confused. Why won’t she get the door?

“Don’t open it. It’s a Black man. He looks scary.”

She stares at me for a while, nods her head, and walks quietly to the main entrance. She peeps through the door’s viewing hole, and her breath reaches a standstill. My little sister comes running while my mom hisses, her eyes strictly averted on my sister’s and she stammers in a whisper, “Don’t you dare. Go back inside the living room.”
Now, I’m even more confused. Why are we whispering? Why is my mother so frightened? She enters the kitchen, and says, “Don’t open it. It’s a Black man. He looks scary.”
He looks scary. Seriously? Anger inches inside my every bone. I feel as if I’m about to explode, but I somehow manage to keep it together. Appalled, I make eye contact with my mother, and see nothing but pure confusion in her naive brown eyes.
She just doesn’t understand.

As we head into the car she looks at me and says, “Anjali must be smart.” I am confused. I ask her why. She simply responds, “Indians are smart, my dear.”

I am in the third grade, playing tic tac toe with my classmate, Anjali. We laugh as I groan since she is winning. I shake my head. My mother enters through the classroom door, “It is time to go!”
As we head into the car she looks at me and says, “Anjali must be smart.” I am confused. I ask her why. She simply responds, “Indians are smart, my dear.”
She does not understand.
I sit in the passenger seat in my car as we make our way to Target to grab some groceries. As we are stopped at a stoplight, the light immediately turns green but the car in front of us will not budge. We wait a few seconds. Aggravated drivers find it best to keep honking. My mother now full of rage blurts, “She must be Chinese!”
I can tell that she is frustrated, but I don’t understand how my mother instinctively knows the drivers race, and why she assumes he or she is Chinese. I remain quiet, confused.
She does not understand.
Growing up, I never realized how racist my mother was until I reached middle school. Whenever I asked her if I could hang out with my friends, she would always ask for their race, and based upon it, she would let me go out.

My mother was racist. I didn’t like to admit it at first, but it’s true. She judged people by how they look and what race they are. Over time, I began to accept that it doesn’t make her a horrible person.

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She used to make offensive comments all the time on how “all White people drink alcohol and smoke and party excessively.” How “Black people cant be trusted.” How “Mexicans only work as waiters or waitresses” and how “they are always doing drugs.” How “Indians were always smarter and ahead of everyone else.” How “Chinese don’t know how to drive” and sometimes “talked funny.”
And as the years went on, I got even more and more confused until I was introduced to the concept of racism.
My mother was racist. I didn’t like to admit it at first, but it’s true. She judged people by how they look and what race they are. Over time, I began to accept that it doesn’t make her a horrible person.
She grew up in another land. She was raised with mostly Pakistanis, so she was taught a foreign mindset. I think sometimes we can be too hard on our mothers who come from another land. We constantly argue with valid points, but the conversation goes nowhere because they refuse to accept the facts. And who blames them?
If you’ve lived your entire life in a different country, being taught another way for years, it’s difficult to adjust. Unless your parents are trying to become the next Donald Trump, we should go easy on them. We should explain to them why this is wrong with the kindness of our words and with patience.
Their mothers have probably had the same type of mindset and they probably don’t know it can be offensive since their families used to make the same comments or remarks.

But, instead of lashing out every time they say something crazy, we must take a deep breath and explain why their thought process on racism is wrong…patiently.

Trust me, it’s hard to bear with these comments. I have to grit my teeth when my mom makes a racist remark.
But, instead of lashing out every time they say something crazy, we must take a deep breath and explain why their thought process on racism is wrong…patiently.
The more you remind your parents what they’re saying is wrong, the more they will think about it.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but at least you’re doing something. This world is full of stereotypes and off-the-map logic that is wrong. We must step up and provide knowledge to those who have the wrong idea. No one should be able to guard their opinions just because it doesn’t go with “what everyone else is saying,” especially your parents.
Listen, words are powerful – so we must take advantage of them and speak up and out against racism…even if it’s your mom who’s being racist.

Written By Anne S.

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