FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE: My husband is African, my daughter of mixed descent... About life and racism in Paris
In recent days, shocking news has flown around the world. An American police officer murdered the African-American George Floyd, which provoked demonstrations not only in America but also in Europe. A few years ago, I would have just shook my head in disbelief, just like many of you. Today it affects me much more than you can imagine. I am a Slovak living in Paris and my husband is French of African origin.
I have the privilege of being white and I've never experienced racism first hand. I will never have the chance to find out what it's like when people treat you differently just because of the color of your skin. My daughter is an African-European and, unfortunately, she can become a victim of racism. That's why I feel obliged to express my support for the idea of fight against racism. Can you imagine that a police officer would attack or murder your child on the street just because he or she is black, white, yellow or red? I guess you can't, right?
The fact that people treat me differently, especially better than my black family, breaks my heart.
I'll give you one example from real life that we've witnessed. A white citizen is walking his dog without a leash in a Paris park, where the free movement of dogs is prohibited. A colored citizen walks past and asks the white citizen to put the dog on a leash. The white citizen calls the police, saying that he was attacked by a black man.
More than 10 years ago, my husband was selected to audition for a senior position in a bank based on his education. Once they found out that he was black, he was eliminated from the autidition. In the end, he chose a different path to success and walked it alone. It took him years to convince the public of his qualities and currently, he promotes his unique educational method, DEUTOUISM. And now imagine you've been saving up so that your child can study at Harvard or British University, helping him or her deepen their knowledge, supporting them in their studies, and in the end... They can't find a job because they're black!
When black people travel on vacation, they usually learn what the level of racism is in a given country. We white people don't have any idea about that, because we are welcome almost everywhere.
My sister-in-law is a model and she was almost beaten to death in Italy; she even wrote a book about it. You know, I'm convinced that if each of us were lucky enough to see at least a bit of the world and experience a situation where a black person, an Asian or an Arab comes to our aid, there would be no racists among us. As it is, I often hear, especially from dark-skinned women, that they're afraid to go out on the street. They fear for the lives of their partners and children. Inequality and murders of African Americans are still going on daily, not only in America. We just don't hear enough about it!
It seems unreal to me that in 2020, we still have to deal with racism, especially on such a massive scale!
Yesterday there were protests in the streets of Paris and I kept getting messages from home, asking if we're safe. Yes, we are! The protest was in honor of the African-American George Floyd, who was brutally murdered by a white police officer. It was led by people who, when they were young, used to dream of living in a world where racism would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the reality is that just like in 1968, in 2020 it's still only a dream. When will it change?
I believe that one day, racism will really become a thing of the past and I will no longer have to worry about my children - and neither will you!
I want my daughter, as well as your children, to live a full life without fear and inequality, I want them to be loved and respected by society equally, never to feel different because of their color, culture or language. After all, people are like apples. Apples can be yellow, green, red, but if you cut them, they all look the same.