I wanted to write this blog post after some quite heavy reading recently. As a black woman, born and raised in South Africa during apartheid I know only too well how much hate there can be in the world. I was never sheltered from this, and I still remember days where we would be allowed to finish school early due to ANC (African National Congress) marches in Cape Town.
However I am very lucky that racism hasn’t been a regular occurance for me. Of course there has been instances where I have experienced it, but not to the level of some others. I recently read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, I am actually taking a break from it at the moment as it is a very heavy read. It is a book which I would recommend as it is raw, honest and an honest representation of discrimination.
Now this isn’t a book which I would usually read because I get so anxious about hate in the world. In fact after the Manchester Arena attack I became so anxious and questioned everything and just became quite down about hate. I realised that the media sensationalise everything and spoon-feed us into hating each other, to the point that we can’t rationalise our own thoughts and beliefs.
I have a young daughter growing up in a great multi-cultural city. She has friends who all have different ethnicities and backgrounds and it is so important to encourage and embrace that.
How do I deal with the violence hate and suffering in the world?
It sounds simple but I no longer watch the news. Nothing positive comes from it. I would watch the news in the morning and it would determine my mood for the rest of the day- anger, guilt, sadness or anxiety. I find that printed media is more digestable when looking for information on the world and it is a much more gentle way of processing what is happening around us.
I practice mindfulness and gratitude at home and I make my daughter aware of different religions and cultures and I talk to her about poverty but all in a gentle way. We celebrate Eid and Diwali at home and we talk about the importance of kindness to others. As she is mixed raced it is important for us to have a talk about racism, maybe not yet but in the very near future. Sadly it feels like we are going backwards when it comes to acceptance and it’s something which I am only too aware of.
I wanted this post to be a reminder for us all to be kind and to always be open-minded.