Talking about racism as a white European women living in America

Talking about racism as a white European women living in America

 

Today is Juneteenth. The day when African Americans celebrate their freedom in the United States! Commemoration of the ending of slavery in this country. 

And here we are more than 150 years later still fighting against racism! As protesters begin marching in the streets, people all over the world are starting to speak up against racism.

 

I’m taking this opportunity/occasion to talk about racism and about the protesting that is happening in the US, and all over the World. Protests against racism and police violence started after George Floyd’s death on May 25th. He was a black man, killed by a white police officer.

It’s been more than 3 weeks since this happened, 3 weeks since America is boiling and fighting. I’d like to take the opportunity and ask you “how are you feeling?” and “what are your thoughts about this situation?”

Our community is for multicultural couples where we talk about all kinds of cultures. And cultures come in many different colors. So I’ve always thought (assumed) that you would just know I’m not racist. But then you hear people talking about how we should educate ourselves, realize what’s happening around us, look into ourselves and take actions to end racism. 

So I did. I’ve been listening. News, stories, horrible videos, passionate black people’s speeches,… and I have to say there are so many things I didn’t realize. 

 

I’m a white European woman, living in American for 12 years

Yes, I do have white privilege. And yes, that’s probably why I didn’t know much about what’s going on. You hear stories here and there, but there are bad people and violence everywhere in the World. So I didn’t think why and how this is affecting Black people so much. Racist people are everywhere, but I wanted to believe that in today’s day and age there is more good in the World. And call me naive, but I haven’t witnessed anybody being racist. I haven’t witnessed any Black american being treated badly. OR did these situations happen, they just didn’t want to share them with me?!

For those of you who doesn’t live in America or understands why is this happening now:

Because of the COVID-19, Coronavirus pandemic we have been quarantined for weeks and months. Locked in our homes lots of people started to get frustrated and angry. People have lost their jobs. Many of them got sick, lost family members or died. 

 
 

But what are really these protesters speaking up for?

They are protesting against racism, but more specifically they want to end systematic racism and police brutality. Systematic Racism means: “The systems in place create and maintain racial inequality for people of color.” It’s harder for them to get a good education, be successful in their career, live in a good neighborhood and many other things. Racism is something every person with color has to deal with (as you are being judged by just the way you look), but in American it’s a bit more complicated and brings up deeper issues. 

So let me share my personal experience, because whenever we hear something, we try to dig into our memories and think if we can resonate with that. Empathize with it. Or sometimes we have a completely different opinion and want to argue. There is nothing wrong with arguing and disagreeing, I should say! That’s what makes us learn and understand each other better.

 

In the country I was born and raised I was a minority.

And for those of you who are saying “That’s not the same!”, I know! It’s not the same! But as somebody who has the privilege to be white, there are still feelings and pain buried in me that I can empathize with African Americans or people of color. 

As a minority I had to fight for my right. I felt like it’s not fair how I’m being treated just because my culture, nationality or language is different. And yes, they wouldn’t know I’m not “one of them” until I open my mouth. Until they hear my accent or that I speak in a language whose culture they hate. It’s not racism, I know, let me say this again! But the pain is the same. Why can’t I own who I am and where I come from? I didn’t choose this!

At the same time I’m proud to be …………….. (insert your identity here) Hungarian… Black… Or women even! That’s something I can’t hide! Because I’m worried that I’m going to be attacked, killed or judged because I’m a woman.

 
 

We all want to be accepted for who we are! Want to be treated and seen as equal

I don’t want to change the subject and take the spotlight off of Black people’s injustice in America. All I’m saying is, don’t be upset when people are trying to find similarity or empathy as they talk about fighting against gender inequality or marriage equality and many other discrimination! We all fight for something in our life and we all want peace! Want to be accepted for who we are! We all want to be treated and seen as equal. And when people share their stories that feel “not the same ” to you, just listen. They are sharing a feeling that helps them bring you closer. Or helps you bring them closer. 🙂 Because those who have a different skin color then you will never fully understand what you’ve been going through.  

Now, systematic or institiutional racism and discrimination is something more complex and difficult to change. At least for us, simple people. But we can fight with you against it. And encourage each other to include people with all colors in our circle, in our little life bubble. 

 

And what about us who have chosen somebody from a different country, culture or race? 

In my marriage, for example when we are in the USA, I’m the “different”, the foreigner. But when we are in Hungary, my husband is the “outsider”. I obviously don’t have any experience with interracial relationships, but I love listening your stories! 

When we feel like the world is against us, our relationship just becomes stronger. Right?! So I would love to know how do you guys navigate race in your intercultural or interracial relationship? How do you deal with racism in the States as a Black couple, as an interracial couple, or even as a non-African American person with color? Not just in the US. I think Black people in America can learn something about your experience as a Black person who never lived in the States. Also, let me acknowledge – there are many other races! Not just white and black. All races/interracial couples are welcome!:) 

So! If you want your voice to be heard, or have a story to share, please come and be my guest on the Getting Married Multiculturally Podcast!

 
 

What I’ve done and have been doing for a while is giving people a place and opportunity to share their story, to speak up and to educate others. My promise is to share and feature more African Americans and Interracial couples during this difficult time and continue being open minded to understand you better.

 

African Americans, Black people all over the world!

I’m here listening to your pain and struggles. I feel hope for you! That change and justice is coming to this country. And that is coming to everybody in the World! Keep fighting!

My goal and hope is to build a community where we can all feel safe to share our opinions and our feelings. Happy or sad. No matter where you are in the World, what your skin color, culture, ethnicity or gender is. Come and join us!

 
 

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