I did not know racism and discrimination until I was 18.
I was born a Sinhala-Buddhist female to a Kandyan mother. This gave me the equivalent of ‘white privilege’ in Sri Lanka where Buddhists make up an astounding 70.2% of the population. Kandy is the ‘royal blood’ of Sri Lankan, and saying your family is from Kandy comes with a little pride in your voice.
I was raised in Buddhist temples, catholic churches, and Hindu kovils. If my mother could have taken me to a mosque, she probably would have. The long Civil War which panned for 26 years between the Tamil terrorists and the rest of the country was considered a ‘war between bad terrorists and Sri Lankans’ in our household. So, of course I didn’t know racism and discrimination until I moved to New Zealand when I was 18, and heard the derogatory comments made at ‘other’ Asians. I say ‘other’ because I wasn’t called anything by anyone.
Now, being older and more aware, I can see racism and discrimination based on the colour of your skin, the amount of money in my bank, my sexual organs, who I love, and whether I have ADHD or not. However, my ‘brainwashing’ that happened from my birth to 18 years of my life is too strong. I appreciate colour in a way that I wish I had lighter skin so I could get pastel tattoos, and I wish I had darker skin so that gold and silver eyeliner would look insane on me. This does not mean I don’t see the discrimination people go through. This doesn’t mean that I don’t see how ‘some’ voices are silenced, how the corporate ladder seems to slip on high heels, and how we are all measured by our ability to fish.
This just mean that I don’t discriminate. I hate everyone, equally.