First and foremost, I offer my condolences and thoughts to all the families of lives lost and affected by this tragedy.
My job, for a large part of it, requires that I listen to the public. Yesterday, when the suspected terrorist attack happened, I was in the middle of monitoring negative sentiment for a brand that I work with. The only thing more tragic than the events that occurred today and the lives lost because of them, is how people used it as an excuse to validate their hatred and ignorance.
I have experienced (in my own home country, sadly) stereotyping, profiling, but nothing close to the scale of real, raw racism. However, yesterday as I read my way through social media’s comment sections – I was slapped by a reality that we dare not face as members of a more diverse community. The “dark side” of the internet is not that dark. It is rife and glowing with hostility and stupidity. We just don’t like looking at the unpleasantness of it all. The truth is, they are loud and strong and there, and shocking.
While reading through these comments, I have absorbed a furious voice of racism and felt what it is like to be at both the giving and the receiving end of hatred towards colour and race. It was like being thrown into a pit of blind, angry, rabid dogs. They were vicious and senseless. I looked on, knowing I have no chance of taming them, scared that if I make a move they will attack me, but also so wrapped up in fear – thinking that the only way to deal with them is to strike back.
Fear and grief can cause anger. These emotions will want us to build up walls and point fingers. I’m writing this to remind myself that in a situation like this, the only sides to consider are good and evil. There are no other sides to it– there is no question of colour, race, religion or immigration status. A generalised and senseless hatred towards any single ethnicity will not do any good.
We can’t do much else but to start with ourselves. At a time like this, I hope that we come together as what we are and should be – human beings.