Racial Discrimination


"KAFFIR". When you see or hear this word, what runs through your mind? Do you
picture a man with skin the color of the midnight sky, do you see him bending
his muscular body down to the dry earth to pick cotton from thorn-ridden plants?
Can you feel the heat of the sun beating down on his charred back? Perhaps you
can even taste the beads of sweat swelling from his forehead and arms. Or maybe
you are more inclined to visualize a dark-skinned woman with creases in her
forehead made by many years of hard work and endless worrying. You watch her as
she puts the breakfast dishes on the table and addresses her owners with a "yes
sah" or "yes ma'am".

There is nobody to cater to her needs. She spends each day taking care of
everyone but herself. Pain. Sorrow. Anguish. Agony. Is this what comes to your
mind when you hear the word "KAFFIR"? Well, it shouldn't because the word
"kaffir" has nothing to do with the color of your skin. The word "kaffir" is
just that; a word. It is a term that sprouted out of ignorance and continues to
be used to this day exclusively by ignorant people. A kaffir isn't a slang term
for an African; it is a word that describes the person that uses it. This type
of person is one who feeds his ego by dehumanizing those around him when he
feels they are not equal to him. He may regard those of different races or
nationalities as "bad" or "dirty" because they do not have the same skin color
as he does or they may cherish beliefs that are contrary to the ones by which he
lives his life.

These qualities describe the man who tells his son that it is okay to make fun
of people who are different because differences are bad. A child who is
repeatedly told such things will believe them because "mom and dad never lie".
This idea, inculcated in them as children, is like a grain of sand caught in the
clutches of an oyster. It eats away at their minds until it becomes part of them.
Instead of forming into a pearl, it creates a whole new individual that is as
ignorant as the parents who raised him. And so this vicious cycle of ignorance
continues.

Children need to be taught from infancy that people of other races and
nationalities are human too. They think like the rest of us. They have feelings,
hopes, and aspirations. They are intelligent. Sometimes they forget to put the
cap on the toothpaste or they might leave the toilet seat up. We are all human
and we are lucky to have such diversity in the world. Diversity does not exist
to enable us to learn tolerance. It exists for the same reason we have such a
wide variety of fruits and vegetables. If the only thing you eat is apples, you
will get tired of them. Try pears they are just as good. If our world consisted
of white-skinned, blond- haired, blue-eyed people, our eyes would get bored.
Differences are inviting and intriguing - a spice of life.

It is a tragedy that so many people are too ignorant to experience these finer
fruits in life. We learn so much from each other. Yes, we are now making
progress but at such an insubstantial pace, the damage is done and will take
decades to repair. We can only hope and pray that we will rise up and overcome
all discrimination, and the only instrument we can use is that of love. Without
love, we are divided. Love is a perfect bond of union. With it, we can
accomplish all things, but - we must be willing to give up the hate before we
can cultivate the love.