Though it is fun to entertain conversations with those who present O.J. Simpson being acquitted, Colin Powel being selected and President Barack Obama being in office as signs that racism does not exist; one can rest assured that where there are people, there is racism.
I understand why the topic of racism and the need to deny its existence exist! It’s the same way I feel when I am assumed to be uneducated, to have all 5 of my children by different women, or that I have a baby momma and not a wife (for 17 years Nov. 29th), that I am on Government Assistance by someone who is drawing their knowledge of African Americans from Social Media, News Outlets, Movies and or Music Videos.
My wife and I once sat across from our daughters teacher (during a parent and teacher conference) who spoke to us as though we were clueless. I held my peace for a few minutes, and then explained to her our families educational pedigree (YES, BOTH SIDES!!!). Not only that, but she was speaking to a person who has a Masters Degree (me) and my wife who had 2 Master’s Degrees and was in the process of working on her Ph. D in EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (which she has since finished! Gig Em!) My wifes’ Maternal Grand Parents both had Masters Degrees and my fraternal Grand Mother had a Bachelors Degree! People, we had more degrees that this teacher could count, and she spoke to us as though we were fools. Needless to say, she straightened up (Not to mention that my father was a Trustee on the School Board!!!)
Fast forward 3 years, and we encountered a teacher who my daughter said hated her. I went to the school to meet with this teacher (unscheduled) and she completely ignored me (Not even 1 Minute of her time!)! I scheduled a meeting, she being a fellow Aggie (wife), I thought might be common ground to break the ice. She gave me a blank stare the entire time! I gave her two options 1. Treat my daughter with respect and stop the ignorance or 2. I will have my daughter removed from her class (my daughter missed 1 question other benchmark the year before and was a stellar student). Yes! You guessed it! She found some since! The anointing fell and her vocal chords which were once silent were healed by the Lord and she was no longer mute! Praise God!!! Teachers left and right were loosing their jobs and their class room averages through performances were key (my daughter and another student were her top students!)
And I can go on and on!!!! Believe me I can!!!!!
I attended Cy-Fair High School! Class of ’93! Yes!!! BFND! Say it twice and it bring a smile through pride! I am proud of my alma mater and the students I have made friends with over the years! Many of them Anglo men and women who I believe with my whole heart (despite some of the drama in 94-96) love and respect me as a human being. I am sure that when we talk, the colors of our skins do not exist because we are connected not only by Bobcat Pride, but in a relationship built through hours, days, months and years of time invested in getting to know each other.
Not all Anglo people hate African American people (And Vice Versa)! I am sure of it! I am positive that there are many people that are color blind! However, we must acknowledge that racism still exist with some! We must talk because racism is educational and systemic! It is media branded and socially accepted! It is tolerated and allowed to tuck itself under 2 blankets in the winter with footy pajamas, a lit fire place and the heating unit set to 85 degrees!
It was great to see the public outcry from everyone when the Donald Sterling conversation was leaked (Yes I know she was looking to get paid)! People rightly demanded that he was held accountable by the league (Yes, I know that was about money too!). This and other incidents show that we have made progress in racial relationships. However, we must have conversations not for those that have moved on from the ignorance of racism, but for those who are a little slow! Furthermore, we must address a system that still has the remnant of prior legislation and interpretations, and sweep out the remaining crumbs from the table that once fed us! We must insure that those in power are putting on the same glasses of justice that we wear and the conversations that are had in public match the ones had behind closed doors.
As for Ferguson; I will not go on record and say that the shooting of Mike Brown was an incident of racism. It is impossible for us to know what was in Darren Wilson’s heart or head when he discharged his weapon (12 times)! But when see moments where the shame of our past still smolders, you should join along and stomp it out or at least pick up dirt and throw it on the ashes!
We all have moments from our past and our families past that we hate to see surface, but if we always take the “Move along, nothing to see here” approach, then we do ourselves a disservice. In moments like these, we must have conversations not just across racial lines, but inside of our families and circles to make sure we state our own personal dissatisfaction with those who still think and practice racial prejudice as a way of life.