Future of Good issued a call for personal essay submissions about racism in social impact work — this piece was submitted in response.
One year for my birthday, my dad bought me a flowering cactus as a gift and I brought it into work and placed it on my desk to brighten up my grey cubicle space. A co-worker saw the cactus while passing by and asked who had gotten it for me? When I replied that it was from my dad, he seemed shocked and said “Oh, I didn’t know you had a father!” At first I was confused. Doesn’t everyone have a father? As his face went beet red and he began mumbling some sort of apology, I quickly realized why he had made that comment. Was his intention to be racist? I doubt it, but his comment was rooted in harmful bias and stereotypes that people of colour are subjected to constantly on a daily basis.
I have had many amazing opportuni
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