It was heartbreaking to observe 16-year-old Aoki Lee Simmons describe the racist interactions she’s experiencing at college. High college is tough for any teenager, however Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons’ youngest youngster lately cried whereas on Instagram reside as she described a boy in her class who referred to as her the n-word. Having well-known rich, multiracial mother and father would not excuse anybody from enduring racism; if something, it could actually introduce new difficulties.
“I’m so over folks at my college being racist and nobody doing something about it,” Aoki lamented. “Like, I am going to high school to work. I don’t even speak to those folks as a result of I’m busy. I’m attempting to go to Yale, I’m attempting to go to Harvard, I don’t have time for you. And this explicit child, I swear all day lengthy — he’s white and he can’t cease saying the n-word,” she continued. “It’s like his favourite factor to say. I don’t even use it like that, however he simply loves to make use of it. And see how far he can push it and see how many individuals he can offend and all of his pals don’t care. They all assume they’re good, woke, good folks however they don’t cease him.”
Russell Simmons is a caring, devoted father to each of his daughters, in addition to an activist who has spoken overtly about points plaguing each hip hop, black tradition, and marginalized communities for many years. Simmons, together with the remainder of the web world, watched as his daughter’s tearful video circulated on-line and took it as a chance to publicly attain out to Aoki’s classmates by penning a lengthy open letter.
“After seeing my daughter Aoki Lee’s expertise with a fellow pupil go viral on-line, I felt compelled to put in writing this open letter to the scholars at her unnamed college. For people who missed the reside video that went viral, the lengthy story brief is a white pupil addressed her utilizing the ‘N-word.’ It was, as she understood it, normalized conduct for him and little doubt for some others.
Here is what he and different college students should understand, the dehumanizing of individuals of colour world wide has gone on for a lot of centuries and for our whole existence in America. Beginning with the Transatlantic slave commerce, which is documented (however not taught effectively by Western Civilization and even in our faculties), the struggling of African-Americans is part of human historical past that’s one in all — if not the worst — examples of mankind’s unconscious conduct.
This a part of historical past is probably going a extra brutal interval than most individuals may even think about. It lasted 430 plus years. The unofficial slavery of Jim Crow the place blacks had been pressured to work on land owned by whites grew to become an ongoing phenomenon that lasted one other 75 years. The truth is, this dehumanizing course of has lasted all through African-American’s whole historical past in America. You might say that the pressured segregation and hateful authorized practices inflicted upon African-Americans by no means formally ended, chances are you’ll know that blacks couldn’t even vote in lots of locations till 1965 and racism is alive and effectively and rising in lots of points of our lives at this time.
It’s protected to say that so long as black folks have lived on this nation we’ve got, as a collective, by no means been made to really feel equal and we proceed to really feel the burden of the illness referred to as ‘white supremacy.’ My daughter is, in some ways, lucky to reside in a bubble the place, till this incident, I assumed most of her pals in Beverly Hills had been form of shielded and, in some methods, ignorant and subsequently believed and acted as if that struggling was by some means restricted or gone fully.
I encourage them to look deeper the place within the ‘actual world’ they’ll nonetheless see clearly the results of the dehumanizing of individuals of colour all around the world. A large number of folks of colour nonetheless endure from discrimination and emotions of inferiority. It is value mentioning the primary means of retaining a slave has all the time been to advertise their pores and skin colour as proof that she or he was by some means lower than his or her slave grasp or colonizer. Make no mistake, the illness of white supremacy is alive and effectively all around the world as illustrated within the precise practices of whites —both deliberately or unintentionally — we’re seeing this all around the media. We are witnessing the rising tide of polarization and hate in America.
I want to consider this rapper made a horrible selection — a misstep — and for that, he must be educated, not made right into a villain. The language he used is unacceptable, after all, however what I favor to consider, on this case (and plenty of others prefer it) is that it’s principally simply inconsiderate conduct that must be corrected. In truth, I consider that the younger man is best than his phrases and these motion and actions of his ancestors.
Yes, I helped launched the mainstream to rap, however I additionally promoted the primary white rap band [Beastie Boys] and none of them ever used that language. They revered the tradition and their black colleagues. I select to consider this younger man in query is already a greater human being due to this expertise. I’ll ask the scholars and college of Aoki’s unnamed college to sensitize themselves and to make use of this expertise as a teachable second.
Together as a gaggle of ahead pondering lecturers and younger leaders, they’ll go ahead ever conscious of their phrases and reject inconsiderate selections that trigger ache to one another. Students, you’re a part of a brand new era that desires to provide the identical degree of freedom and happiness to all folks that you just want to declare for yourselves. Let’s — as a group — break the archaic apply of utilizing phrases that lower and as an alternative, be a lightweight and residing, respiration examples of doing higher.
You are the era or already the people poised to interrupt the chain of negativity. Together by way of this type of open and trustworthy dialogue, I consider we will be the change the world wants. Blessings to all the scholars all around the world who maintain the long run in your palms. Be light with it and one another.”