Ever since the racist incident that led to the death of George Floyd, activists, and celebrities from different parts of the globe have strongly condemned the act and used their platforms to speak against racism in the spirit of justice.
Other celebrities have even gone further to narrate their personal experiences as a way of expressing solidarity with all blacks who are victims of racism.
Among those who have been vocal about the issue are Kenyan media personalities Julie Gichuru and recently Larry Madowo who have quite a lot in common including the fact that they both studied abroad and have a clear perception of what it is like to live in a foreign country.
Through her social media platform, Julie Gichuru narrated an encounter that made her realize how racism is deeply rooted in some countries. A story that mirrors the misconceptions around people of color.
The media personality who was then a student at the University of Wales College of Cardiff, now called Cardiff University was in the company of her friends when she interacted with a white man who had the perception that blacks are dirty and criminals.
According to Gichuru, the man viewed blacks differently after getting to interact with her and her friends.
In his words, the white man confessed that spending time with Gichuru and her friends made him have a positive view of blacks.
” I am really happy to have met you all and spent time with you. This was an eye-opener for me… I was brought up to believe that black people are dirty, lazy criminals, but I was so stunned when I heard you talking. You are so different from what I expected. Thank you for letting me spend time with you. You have forever changed my perspective.” he said
Even though this confession was quite shocking, she says she was impressed by the fact that together with her friends they were able to ‘fight-off’ the negative perception. In her post, she also encourages others to spread love and fuel the spirit of unity.
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It was the first week of University, we were in the Games Room (the snooker/pool room and gaming area) at Students Union on Park Place. It was a Sunday afternoon and the busy entertainment spot started to empty out at about 2pm, we played on. We were having a ball. There were 4 to 5 of us I believe. We had all moved from pre-University at Warwick University to our respective graduate degree courses at University of Wales College of Cardiff, now called Cardiff University. Michelle had been my housemate in pre-Uni law for one year, we were good friends. With us also were our friends & classmates, Terence who was from Singapore (Michelle too). Ibrahima from Senegal and John O. from Nigeria. There we were talking, laughing and enjoying a few epic games of pool. A tall white guy who had been playing with friends at the next table was eventually left on his own. He seemed to be watching us. Maybe I was imagining it, I thought to myself. Eventually he came up and asked if he could join us. We happily welcomed him to the group and had a few games together. After about an hour the room was closing and we all had to leave. We headed out of the Students Union, down the union steps and on to Park Place laughing and in great spirits. Then he said, ” I am really happy to have met you all and spent time with you. This was an eye opener for me… I was brought up to believe that black people are dirty, lazy criminals, but I was so stunned when I heard you talking. You are so different from what I expected. Thank you for letting me spend time with you. You have forever changed my perspective.” We all went quiet. It was rather shocking. I felt uncomfortable yet thankful that at least one mind had been opened. But how many others were out there? We bumped into him now and again over the next few years and always shared a smile and a word or two… he was a good guy… but it was a painful reminder that this is a very prejudiced world. Spread some love today. Smile. Reach out and bridge a divide. We all need it. 🙏❤
In an almost related incident, Larry Madowo who recently graduated from Columbia University narrated how his white friend invited him for dinner only for the doorman to assume that he was a delivery guy.
Even though his friend apologized, he reveals that this incident made him realize that even though America is a land of opportunities, many people of color are still considered unworthy.