Monthly Archives: December 2014
Recently, our country has been so divided. Racism is alive and well. But no one is born a racist.
Racism is taught and a learned behavior. I am thankful that even though I grew up around it, I did not allow it to influence me. I touched on this in my previous post.
Children are taught to fear other races and cultures that are different from their own. But a child doesn’t know the difference.
Despite being taught to stay within my own demographic, I wasn’t able to. I was attracted and gravitated to the black community early on.
As a child, my family planned trips to Sunken Meadow Park. We would first go to the picnic area and have breakfast. Afterwards, we headed over to the beach area. I loved staying in the water for hours, to the point my hands were wrinkled, and my body, sunburned.
I remember there were a group of black kids playing in the water. They were all laughing and enjoying themselves. They were vivacious, fun and energetic. I was attracted to their vibe, and started playing with them. We all had a blast.
I remember going back to where my family was to get something to drink. I immediately got “shade” and remarks. Call it rebellion, defiance or whatever, I did not fold. I went right back and continued playing with my friends.
This was one of many scenarios I faced growing up amongst those who feared the “other”. I wouldn’t have known the difference between white, black, brown or yellow, if I wasn’t taught or subject to it.
Things went up a notch when I became a teenager, the fear and dread of my dating the black and brown boys was too much for them to handle. They tried setting me up with a boy from Spain, who was smart and had a great future. He was on his way to medical school to become a doctor on full scholarship. The dude digged me, but he wasn’t my type.
My grandmother went and bought a beautiful dress for me to wear to his prom. However, they didn’t ask me if I wanted to go to his prom in the first place. They were forcing me to be with him, to try and distract me from the other boys I liked.
It didn’t work. I refused to go to his prom. My grandmother had no choice but to return the beautiful dress she bought me. She was angry at me. She wanted me to be with this guy in the worst way. But, eventually she came around and understood that I had my own taste in men. Eventually, she embraced my boyfriends.
My heart longs for the day when racism and division ceases. My heart aches for my black brothers and sisters who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the white man. Please know I am standing with you in solidarity and protesting against the injustice.
Do you believe we are not born a racist? I would love to hear your thoughts.
I was born in the late 1960’s to European parents. My parents were pureblooded Spaniards, but for all intents and purposes, acted “white”.
I don’t recall when it was exactly that I was made to feel different, but what I do remember were these comments:
“You must be from another planet.”
“Why do you always have to play with the black kids?
“Don’t you have any friends who are white?”
The crap hit the fan as a teenager, when I decided to date the brown and black boys against my parents will. My parents happen to be like many who grew up in an era of racial ignorance. They were a product of their environment. All I knew was that I didn’t think like they did nor did I want to.
One childhood memory stands out the most. I had a best friend. She was like a sister to me. Forty something years later, we are still friends. I remember hanging out in her house a lot. Her parents loved and embraced me like if I was their own.
Yet, my parents would not permit my friend to enter our house. My girlfriend eventually figured out why and I remembered feeling embarrassed and ashamed. I wanted to bury myself in a hole somewhere. It was the worst feeling in the world and I never forgot it.
I vowed to never have my kids feel this way. My home is open to any race, religion and creed. I am not raising them to be racists or discriminatory toward anyone.
Gratefully, when friends or family come to visit, they feel comfortable, as it should be.
I am not a racist. I love and embrace the African American community. Truthfully, the African American community has always treated me better that my own demographic.
I would love to live in a world where no racism, discrimination, ignorance or injustice existed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t to seem to be happening.
I can’t change people. The only thing I can do, as a white person, is bring awareness and not go along with the status quo, but challenge it.
With the recent current events, I’ve been inclined to speak up in favor of the black community. I am finding that many people want to shut me up. But I will never be silent when it comes to injustice.
Maybe I couldn’t do anything as a child to defend my best friend, but I can now as an adult. I will always speak up and stand up for what’s right. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, feels or says.
Do you go against the grain of what was expected of you regardless of what your family or friends think?