“I’m Creole, from the Reunion Island. I arrived in France when I was 10 years old, and I quickly understood certain basic mainland behaviours. Racism was very strong in south of France. We were one of the first coloured families, and I wasn’t considered French at all, eventhough I came from a French island. People would laugh about my skin colour, my accent, “Look, he’s weird”. It lasted for more than 2 years. So I stopped speaking. I shut my mouth until I was 12 years old. Nothing, not one word. There wasn’t any point to speak anymore.
Until one day, I student came to see me during lunch and said to me : “Go wash your hands, you’re dirty!”. And I don’t know why, my blood made a U-turn, and I jumped towards his nose and blew it up (laughs)! It was my first and only act of violence in my whole life, mais it was… truly thrilling. It had been too much, I had been suffering this stuff for years while shutting up. I couldn’t take it anymore.
His parents came to my house on that same day, asking their child to apologize. His family was from Tunisia, his parents had struggled to arrive here and to allow their children to go to school. They had suffered this kind of racism, and he was reproducing the same thing they had suffered!
And after that story, I started to speak (laughs)! I had this strength to say: you’re the one who has to tell them to stop, because they won’t stop. And that completely changed their relationship with me. On the following day, Kevin invited me to his house for the first time, and a few weeks alter I was invited to Alicia’s birthday. So, yeah, nastiness doesn’t prevent kindness. It’s crazy! And yes, most children are mean… we have to realize that. I worked in the school system for over 2 years, and I saw it. But they are capable of even greater kindness. But when we allow them, when we teach them how to.” (translated from French)
(Carouge | translated from French)
Note: He had already shared a history about his family that had been published on January 18 2021. During our conversation, he recalled this other story, which I decided to published separately.