So what Colour are You?

I have been trying to write a blog for a few weeks now, but have felt paralysed from the pain, compassion, anger, shock and incredulousness of the ne

I have been trying to write a blog for a few weeks now, but have felt paralysed from the pain, compassion, anger, shock and incredulousness of the news of George Floyd. I am not one for getting into political conversations, but when the very issue of one’s skin colour is a political statement, it is rather difficult to sit on the fence. Absolutely black lives matter, and all lives matter.

My own racial trauma from childhood experience feels very small in comparison to the suffering of Afro-Americans, Indigenous tribes, Ethnic Minorities and all races who have been and still are persecuted, but it affectedly me deeply for many years. For a long time growing up I experienced constant bullying for being Chinese, and I became afraid to enter into new environments for fear of not being accepted. It felt difficult to trust. At some points it made me question my very self-worth.

And I still get it today. Except today it is more insidious and subtle; when I experience the icy hostility of someone I first meet who does not know me and where it makes no sense, yet there is a clear knowing in my body for the reason, which makes my flesh singe. Fortunately it has been rare, but all the more stark when it does appear.

More recently my parents had been afraid to leave their home, not for fear of contracting Covid-19 but rather fearing the racist attitude from passers by. Nevermind that they have lived in the UK for over 50 years and have not been back to China for more than 5, none the less they are Chinese - where the disease “appeared”. When the virus first broke out it was reported in some French press as a second wave of the ‘yellow peril’.

And then there has been the racism experienced by English friends who managed to leave India just before flights stopped during their lockdown. They had already been there for several months but restaurants were refusing to serve them. After all, the virus was prolific in Europe by then.

Yes there is racial trauma in the collective human psyche, conscious or otherwise. Yet if we could simply take a pause before we think, speak and act in any given moment, there is the potential for situations to change form and transform.

When we pause and cultivate awareness this allows for regulation of our nervous system. Our bodies create a biological response that can alter the frequency of our brain waves, and thus our conditioned thoughts. When we take time to pause and reflect we really have time to make changes. Gosh my life could have taken many different trajectories had I have embraced this realisation in my youth, although of course everything that happens is a great lesson!

When the very ground beneath us feels shaky, then our bodies are all that we have. On this earthly level our bodies are our foundation and scaffolding, our home and hearth, our fire of inspiration and action and our refuge. However if we cannot feel comfortable in our own skin, then how can we trust our bodies to help us move forward in the world and be proactive? And we may despise our bodies for other reasons not skin colour related - too fat, too thin, too stiff, too weak..the list is endless.

By finding our inner anchor, the inner compass within our bodies that give us physical and spiritual connection; and also by making peace with our history and our ancestors, perhaps we can find healing and even celebrate our diversity. It has taken the best part of half a century for me to be proud of my roots and my heritage. But loud and proud I am.