Ingrained

Looking back on past assumptions, I truly cringe. The racism of low expectations, or the low expectations of racism. How pervasive the narrative about the worth of our migrant neighbours, that even one raised in a supposedly enlightened milieu had a low opinion of those he once encountered.

I recognise the racism and classism within, as I contemplate my own reactions to the great success of old acquaintances. The discovery that people I had once judged to be losers like me have achieved so much in their lives. First: surprise… shock. Then that subtle envy which poisons every human interaction.

So pervasive the colonial discourse weaved into our image of ourselves, that even the enlightened are infected with this disease. Our racism is deeply ingrained, cemented by five-hundred years pillaging and subjugating others in pursuit of our own sense of self-worth.

The wealth of my nation was forged in the exploitation of others, their own self-image undermined by the racism of the invader, whose own self-esteem is founded on opposition. We have been taught that we prevail by virtue of a cultural supremacy. Rarely do we learn that we prevail because we take by force, dehumanising those we incessantly steal from.

We have imbibed the notion that we are special, supreme, and that all others stand beneath us. Why else the surprise that our neighbours have done so well for themselves, while we languish in our envy and bitter jealousies? How ashamed I feel today for my unconscious biases, which fly in the face of the truth: the truth that nobility is founded on conduct alone.

“O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct. Lo! God is Knowing, Aware.”

Quran 49:13

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