A new hope
I am trying to process all these unprocessed digs and the thousand cuts resulting from privilege, unconscious bias, and my own heightened sensitivity to all things race, diversity, and inequality over the years.
I find myself envying the ability to forgive as I find that I cannot anymore. My youngest just smiles points out the ignorance to the person in question and moves on. I carry a grudge. I hate that I swapped anything ethnic in my closet for modern office wear in order to make a career. Cutting my long hair and taking out my nose stud to fit in. It is second nature now, only wear a sari on special occasions. That is how I spend the last three decades of my life.
I am desi but not desi, I am European but not English. I am an immigrant and always in the minority. I now find myself low on energy and whilst I stopped being quiet when I see an injustice, I miss the fire for a fight and can’t shake the fear of repercussion. It is getting me down.
I have not written for months and months now trying to get to grips with life after Covid. I am an empty nester now. The youngest started university and for the last year, I found myself teaching him how to cook and having conversations about how to keep safe. To my own horror, I found myself telling him how to fit in. Telling him to be less ‘him.’ How disgusting is that?
I am proud of him; he is very much his own person. I still do not know how he found the strength to leave the house after being assaulted simply because of the colour of his skin. But he did. Somewhere he has found the strength to be unapologetically himself wearing what he wants without distinguishing between male and female. Not selecting a pronoun as it does not matter. I fear for his well-being, and I told him that I did not expect tolerance, acceptance, and kindness from his fellow students.
He is who he is. There is freedom in being far away from the existing support system of family and friends. He can shape his own image without expectations dragging him down. No loved ones telling him what to do or how to be. No obligations, a clean slate.
Brave? For sure. Naïve? Maybe. He went to university months ago and all is well. He is having the time of his life, meeting new people, and making new friends from all walks of life. He is transforming into a confident outgoing, kind, supportive human being without fear or anger. Very much the opposite of his mother.
Whilst there is still a lot of ignorance, the youth of today possesses energy, an unapologetic self-belief that inspires. They are carving a new path where there is no fear in calling out what they see as wrong. There is an outspoken solidarity that inspires and a strong drive to combat ignorance. I was close to giving up, but now as an empty nester, thanks to my children I have hope. The next generation is committed and will not give up the fight. To them, equality is not just a right but a lifestyle.