Sunday, October 1, 2017

Racism – does it exist here in our beloved USA?

Racism – does it exist here in our beloved USA?

If you had asked me that question before I went to college, I would have said only with individuals.  Mind you, I had only lived in VT, where there were only white people at the time, and in AZ which is a great state to live for any color for the most part.  It wasn’t until I was visiting my sisters during my summer break after my first year of college that I realized racism still existed in the US and in AZ no less. 

The oldest of my two sisters was dating a black guy.  He was hours late, so my little sister and I started teasing him about being late.  He explained that he was pulled over by a cop on his way there.  I asked why.  He said he was only pulled over because he was a black man driving a Cadillac.  I laughed, because I thought he was joking.  He explained that that happened a lot.  My sisters agreed with him.  Well, I was shocked and appalled.  That didn’t make any sense to me.  The laws were/are completely against this.  But it still happens.  There are racist individuals who are part of the government and other organizations, so my shock was soon turned to sadness.

The first time I remember experiencing racism was when a girl, who was part black with beautiful green eyes and had a sweet little girl, befriended me when I switched schools my senior year of high school.   Her friendship soon turned to hatred toward me.  She helped spread a lie and turned many of the black girls in the school against me.  The crazy thing was, she didn’t even like black girls.  But because she was part black, they believed her lies.  Actually, many people who heard those lies believed them.  My world got turned upside down.  That year was the best and worst year of my school life all in one.  Thankfully, there were some people who ignored her and befriended me anyway. 

It hit me hard again when I found out some of my family members were racist but “only” against interracial marriages like that’s any better.  I found this out when my mom started to date a really nice guy who happened to be black.  He wasn’t allowed in a family members home for the simple reason he was dating her and he was black.  They even agreed that he was a good guy.  But that didn’t matter.  What?!  Are you kidding me?  Then I found out that feeling was found on my mother’s and father’s side.  WOW!  Talk about a RUDE awakening!  I was shocked!  I was horrified!  But I was thankful that they didn’t pass that racism down to my brother and me.  My mother protected us from so much 😊

Then, when I started dating my now husband, I wasn’t sure how a specific family member of mine was going to react.  I mentioned to that person that I was dating someone.  He asked what my boyfriend looked like.  I pulled out a photo I specifically took for this question.  Just before I handed him the photo, I told him that my boyfriend is black.  He looks at the photo.  Without skipping a beat, he says, “He’s not black.”  What?!  Yes, he is.  Then, I realized my now husband wasn’t the “black” guy this person had pictured in his head.  My now husband wasn’t a thug.  This person’s problem was making ‘black guy’ and ‘thug’ synonymous. 

Later that year, my fiancé and I had been pulled up on stage to do a little dance during a wedding show.  Well, as we walked off, I saw these two piercing, cold eyes staring at me.  I swear you would have thought I just stole her man.  My man didn’t know who she was but wasn’t surprised at it.  I on the other hand was shocked.  I didn’t understand why she looked at me like that.  He then told me that he gets that look from a lot of white guys.  I said, “no” thinking he was just kidding.  But he wasn’t. 

I also found out that there was at least one person close to my husband who didn’t want us to get married for the simple reason that I wasn’t black.  He also had a crazy uncle who didn’t like white people.  He just laughed about all of it.  That’s the way it is.  He didn’t take it personally either way. 

After we got married, we were looking for a church.  Some would say we were church hopping.  It just so happens that Michael Jackson had died recently when we checked out this one church.  This specific church was small, only one isle.  We, my husband, our new baby, and I, were a bit late but not much.  We found a spot near the back.  We sang and praised God just like everyone else.  Then, the pastor got up and started preaching.  Now, my husband and I remember this part differently…  My view:  the pastor starts saying how Michael Jackson is in hell, but he keeps repeating himself, at least five times, in different ways.  My husband’s view:  the pastor started preaching.  After he had preached for a little while, he says once or twice that Michael Jackson went to hell.  My husband “finally” looks at me and says that we are leaving.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  But as we were walking out the door, the preacher says, ‘yah, you leave.’  My husband almost turned around and told him off.  Thankfully, he didn’t.  I swore the congregation had shotguns and were going to kill us.

Yes, there is racism in our beloved USA.  But don’t think that it shines everywhere.  Don’t think that someone who doesn’t have a ‘Black Lives Matter’ bumper sticker on their car or who raises an American flag on their lawn is racist.  Yes, black lives matter but so do white, brown, red, and yellow.  Lives matter, period.  The American flag is a symbol of unity, courage, strength, liberty, and justice for ALL.  When you piss on the flag, you piss on the ALL.   We are the ALL…  you, me, the person on your left and right, the person in front of you and behind you, the person in that uniform and this, all of us are the ALL.