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Shaded White, Shaded Life… Are We Back to the Days of Racism?

Every so often, racism comes back to shake the foundations of the comfortable existence that we have carved for ourselves. It is a rude awakening from the notion that we have grown as a society and managed to shed the archaic notions we have held so dear for centuries. Sadly, some instances show us how some of the basic values that should unite us, such as the welfare of our children, take a back seat to the ugly reality of racist discrimination that still plagues some of us.

This is a story of one of those instances. A father of Sudanese origins decided to register his young son in a summer activities camp. The woman in charge accepted his money and welcomed his son into the fold only to call him again the following day to return the money and ask him to take his son away. And what was the reason? It was not because the boy was disruptive or disobedient; it was simply because he is black. One of the mothers lodged a complaint or threat as it was, that unless the black boy was kicked out, she would remove her children and urge others to do so.

Did that mother ever stop to consider her actions? What was so objectionable about the skin color? Does she think that makes the boy a threat to her children? Is his blackness a herald of pestilence and doom? Will he contaminate the other children with his disgusting melanin? Was the boy dressed in rags and flea-ridden? That woman never once stopped to consider where her fears originate because only irrational baseless fear would drive a person to condemn another simply based on their skin color.

That woman is a hypocritical racist that does not belong in our society. She is a hypocrite because she doubtless has a black house cleaner that cleans her house, cooks her food and takes care of her children. She is delinquent enough to foist her children on a black house cleaner to pursue her pleasures, but she refuses to allow them to mess around with play dough with a black child. Another glaring proof of hypocrisy is the conviction that had that child been the son of a diplomat or a rich businessperson, no one would have even dared to lodge a complaint. Instead, that child would have been awarded the VIP treatment and shown the utmost respect from everyone especially that mother who is doubtless still enamored with social climbing and imaginary status.

The head of the camp gave the father the money back, but who will restore his dignity? He is a foreigner in this country and is doubtless afraid of some sort of backlash should he voice his outrage. He fled a war-infested and poverty-stricken country to make a better life for his son. He makes minimum wage and yet wants his son to have a wholesome childhood including joyful summers. How many hours did that father spend working to save enough? How proud was he when he thought he was going to give his son beautiful memories and perhaps new friends? What pain did he feel when he had to look at the disappointment in his child’s eyes when he took him away? Is there any pain greater than feeling you have failed your child?

That mother would never understand what he feels because she does not look up from the screen of her phone enough to stare into her children’s eyes. In fact, her children are probably more comfortable with black skin since that is whom they associate tenderness and love with. Such actions should be condemned and those who do it shunned. It is her likes that should be removed from society because they poison all those around her. Remaining silent makes us just as liable as her.

The Editor: There are lot of questions and concerns about racism in Lebanon. In fact, this incident happened at a nursery located in Zouk Mkayel. More information might be delivered to authorities upon written request.

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