99 Word Flash Fiction: Our cousins

Racism is pointless. We may have different skin colours but underneath we still hurt when we are called names, bleed when cut and need love and sustenance to live. Underneath we are all the same. Fear is one of the big causes of racism. Fear of what we don’t know. What is foreign to us. When I was little people looked different. I could tell someone was from Asia, Africa even Greece and Scandinavia. They were different. These days I look at people and that is what I see. People. People the same as myself. They no longer look different (not vastly anyway.) Is it because I’ve travelled, that I truly live in an integrated mixed society (not true for I believe our government is extremely racist) or that people come into our lounge rooms via the television.  Whatever it is I know they are people, with the same needs, wants and desires as myself.

Why the hell had he come to this rally? Yves squirmed in his seat as he listen to the vitriol pour from the mouths of the speakers. They were inciting the crowd to riot, mob and maim those from the Middle East, The Sudan and other parts of Africa. He had to risk that anger being transferred to him. He stood and commanded the floor. At least they respected him. Well at least for the moment. “Brothers” he said in a loud clear voice. “Why do you wish to hurt my brothers. We share the same Granny. Mitochondrial Eve.


Yes it’s true. We are all related. If you want to know more about maternal ancestors 

This is in response to Charli’s prompt:

April 29, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that tackles racism. Think about common ground, about the things that rip us apart as humans. How we can recover our identities in a way that honors the identities of all individuals? What breaks the barrier of other-ness? Imagine a better tomorrow that doesn’t need expression in riots or taking sides on social media. As writers, think about genres, characters, tension and twists. We can rebuild.

Respond by May 5, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation.Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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19 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: Our cousins

  1. noelleg44 says:

    I read that article and was amazed it what our advancing technology is revealing about our origins. There is a company here in the US which will analyze your DNA and tell you from which of 3 secondary Eve’s (Africa, Asia, Europe) you are descended.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We all have different skin colours – white, beige, tan, brown…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills says:

    I wonder if our gaze does change as we age or as we are further exposed to a more global view. I recall being fascinated by people who were different, yet I can’t remember if I noticed physical differences or if I was drawn to personalities.

    Your flash touches on that power of anger and peer pressure, too. Yves was strong to question, resist and use the influence he felt he had to try to diffuse the growing tide of violence. A good scene that uses tension well.

    DNA is so fascinating and we all go back to Eve’s cradle. In my own DNA from Ancestry.com, most of my heritage is Ireland, West Europe and Iberian Penninsula (33%, 34% and 20%). Yet it is the trace DNA that captures my imagination because I have no genealogy to support it: Scandinavia, South Asia, Greece, Mali and the Middle East. I think that makes me cousin to globe! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed physical differences when I was a child. Children will always get along with other children and if they don’t if is for a reason other than their race. I used to love watching my nephews gravitating toward any child and managing to play despite not being able to speak the same language. For children there seems to be a universal communication system.
      Anger and peer pressure are indeed powerful motivators and I think he had a lot of courage to take on a mob. It sounds as though you have the same traces as myself – cousin. I’ve always enjoyed having olive skin – I had visions that one of my forebears suffered under the rape of the Spaniards many years ago. Now I know it is probably my African/middle Eastern heritage.


  4. Annecdotist says:

    Well put, Irene. Similarly, I think travelling has helped extend my view of what “ordinary people like you and me” means. I also think it’s good for white people to experience being in the minority and not having to feel that fear. I remember returning from my travels in South Asia thinking I spotted people from there in the street – skin colour was irrelevant in that context, I was missing at my friends

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Anne. Yes I think travelling does extend your visions. That was the other way I was thinking of going was to talk about being the minority group and the reverse racism that we encountered. It is also interesting how you feel a real affinity with strangers that share characteristics with you – you do miss home. I remember being in Edinburgh with some item of clothing that showed i was Australian and the number of Aussies that stopped and talked simply because they were missing their friends and the world they were used to.


  5. TanGental says:

    beautiful Irene and soo soo true. Our links back to ground zero of the human race should teach us all a lesson but if course it wont because we are hard wired to feel comfortable in villages of 150 people and no more. Not that that should stop us trying..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Villages of 150 – there must be no-one in the world comfortable any more. I can remember sitting with a black man in a coffee shop when he suddenly grabbed my arm, pointed and said “Look at that black man over there.” I responded that everyone was black and what was he talking about. He then explained that there are differences in the black and the closer to the equator a person comes from the blacker the pigment of skin. We also experienced reverse racism which was an interesting phenomena where white was racist toward other whites. So yes, I agree it is probably an impossible ask but you do have to try.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sherri says:

    Just lost my entire comment…grrrr… Just to say I found this utterly fascinating. I’ve read something about Mitochondrial Eve before and must read more. Great flash Irene, Yves is my new hero, I love him 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: These Racial Earthquakes « Carrot Ranch Communications

  8. Pingback: Stop 7: Noosaville Australia: Congress of Rough Writers Round the World Tour: A Book Review with a Difference | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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