Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 12.5.18
Stanstead, Quebec

Stanstead College ~ Stanstead, Quebec

Don't Feel Powerless in the Face of Racism

I would like to talk about something I feel very strongly about. There is one thing in this world that I dislike very much, and that is racism. Whenever I see someone being treated differently or badly just because of the colour of their skin or their culture or religion, I automatically get triggered.

We are in the 21st century and still racism walks the earth. Yes, it is much better than it was in the past, but racism still exists today in less obvious ways, and some people don't even see it -- though some people do see and do nothing about it, and that is the problem. We need to do something or else it will never stop.

I work at the Haskell Free Library. It is built right on the Canada-US border, so there are lots of cameras and border agents, both Canadian and American. One day, while I was working, two Mexican families came to visit each other, one from Canada, the other from the US. Since they couldn't cross the border, they came to the library just to talk for a couple of hours.

They were the sweetest families. They didn't disturb anyone, and they didn't talk loudly. But a couple hours later, an American Border Patrol agent walked in the library. He started asking me a bunch of questions: "Are they exchanging things to each other?" "Are they disturbing you?" And other questions like that.

I told him no. But the officer, without talking to my boss, the one he should be talking to, kicked both families out of the library -- just because they were Mexican. Even though I told the officer that they weren't doing anything wrong, he still kicked them out.

I felt so powerless, and all I wanted to do was yell at the man but I couldn't. I am just a tour guide. But that's my biggest regret. I should have fought harder for the two families. I wouldn't care if I lost my job. What he did was wrong.

There were and there are many other situations just like this where I've witnessed racism. The first thing I think is that this is so wrong and needs to end.

I am a privileged white human being. I don't know what racism feels like. But I do know what it looks like, and just looking at it makes me angry. I do know this: racism is basically bullying, and I do know what that feels like. Look around you. We are in an international school. We have friends from all around the world. Now imagine your friend being bullied. Think about how that would affect them. You would be angry and would want to stand up for them. That is what a major majority of the world goes through, and we need to stand up to the bullies/racists.

If you take a brown egg and a white egg, they look different. But when you crack them open, you realize that they are exactly the same. This is what people need to understand; whether you're black, Asian, white, and so on, we all deserve to be treated equally. Where you come from, what you look like is what makes you unique and different from everyone else and we shouldn't hate on that, we should celebrate it.

If you ever see someone being hated on because of the colour of their skin, don't just nervously avoid the problem. Stand up for them, say something and do something, because change doesn't come with silence.