How Racism Relates to Child Trafficking
In light of recent events, beLydia would like to address current issues and explain how racism relates to child trafficking. My name is Christina and I am the Chief Operating Officer at beLydia. I also happen to be a Hispanic woman.
My grandparents are Mexican, Spanish, and Native American. My parents were born in the United States. I have only ever lived in America and can speak very little Spanish.
I'd like to offer some clarity and understanding as to the issues that are taking place right now. I do not wish to offend anyone but rather help those who want to know more to understand how racism feels and how it relates to child trafficking.
First off, what is racism? I think that is the problem because everyone views it differently.
I see it as simply this: If you do not see me as your equal because of the color of my skin, you are racist.
Some people feel they are not racist because they tolerate us in their circles but tolerating us does not mean a lack of racism.
If you do not think I am as good as you or do not belong among you then you are racist.
Whether you want to believe that about yourself or not, you are.
It may surprise many of you to know that in my time working with our founder Terri and for beLydia, I have met MANY racist people.
They walk among you in your circles and you would probably say they are not racist.
I have encountered people who would not touch me to shake my hand, people who ignore me the moment Terri walks away, and people who just refuse to acknowledge me.
I know it can be difficult for most of you to hear as most of the people we encounter are genuinely beautiful, wonderful, and loving.
The thing is, that even then, you may be considered racist for the things you say. I know plenty of amazing people who I am positive do not have a racist bone in their body then say something completely racist.
To someone like me who is not white saying a sentence like “Wow, this must be nice for you to get to come to an event like this”, is racist.
Would you say that to another white person?
Would you be surprised to learn that another white person has a college degree, is cultured or travels often? Probably not.
We have to be more mindful of the things we say and not be afraid to ask someone if something is racist.
The point I am trying to make is that any sentence or question that you would say/ask ANYONE can sound racist.
You may ask how racism could cause a child to be trafficked?
It is quite simple: We know that the best way to prevent child trafficking is to help them be confident.
When you grow up with people berating you, talking down to you, discouraging you, and telling you that you will never amount to anything, confidence is not easy to find.
When you grow up in a world that tells you that you do not deserve to dream because of the color of your skin, you will find other ways to feel good.
This makes our children the perfect prey for a predator.
When you believe that you are nothing, it is easy for someone else to define who you are.
My father never went to college. He wanted to but because he had one white teacher tell him he was a loser who would never amount to anything, he gave up on that dream.
He has worked hard his entire life (sometimes with multiple jobs) to provide for us. He made sure that we never let someone take that away from us and as a result, I went to college and honored that dream.
The issue and connection to child trafficking is that most children will not break out of that cycle. This is why our words matter and everyone should be intentional with what they say.
The other thing I want to say is that racism works in all communities. While I am a Hispanic woman, I happen to be married to a white man. 100% German citizen.
We met while he was stationed in Texas with the German Air Force and we married a few years later.
This affords me the unique perspective to say that I know that white people can be discriminated against too.
It also puts me in a place to say that I do not want this to get so far that my husband is afraid to speak in fear of offending anyone.
That is the point of education.
We need to ask each other questions and get informed on the ways we can be united.
I feel so blessed to walk among everyone I do because they are mostly sweet, God-fearing people.
The problem is that those few thorns in your rose bush tend to hurt deeply.
That is why it is so important for us to learn and speak out against this type of hate.
The call on everyone should be to denounce this and become sensitive to the things those around you say.
In conclusion, I would ask everyone to be willing to be educated and give grace as change comes about.