Racism – Please check “Other”

The meaning of the word racism: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races

Let’s discuss.

This morning I came across this story. A black family was dining in a South Carolina Wild Wings when the manager asked them to leave because a white customer felt threatened by their presence.

Let that sink in a minute. Someone felt threatened by the color of this family’s skin, so the manager actually asked this family to leave. In the year 2013. In the United States of America, where we actually have laws in place against this outrageous and hideous discrimination. I believe this happens much more than it is reported, and forgive my lack of eloquence, but the word that came to mind was: STUPID. S-T-U-P-I-D, stupid, followed by a WTF??

You’ve seen the pictures of me in here. For all intense and purposes, I am a white woman on the surface. But I’m not. I am a Hispanic who looks white; whose Colombian mother’s family comes from Morocco, Africa. Half my family is black. Heck, more than half of them are black! I grew up envying their beautiful dark skin; their dark eyes, gorgeous jet black hair and curvy bodies. I also grew up with snide remarks from my own family members who implied I was not Colombian enough because my Spanish accent isn’t spot on. ‘Til this day I say to new people, “Sí, hablo español, pero tengo pena porque tengo un acento,” which means I speak Spanish, but I am a little embarrassed because I have an accent. An aunt once told me men don’t like skinny girls because I didn’t have huge breasts. Hard to compete when most women in the family are naturally 38D’s or larger! HA. As if…/cue Clueless voice. All in all, I identify with my Colombian heritage much more than my European heritage. Yes, I am also proud of my Dutch/Danish roots. I just wasn’t as exposed to that side of my culture growing up.

Moving on, I’ve also encountered downright stupidity from whites who have told me Hispanics are ruining this country – unbeknownst to those people they were speaking to a Hispanic. Has it angered me? Oh yeah. Then there were instances like the one when I was a teenager in junior high school, after gym class several of us were in the locker room. A young black female yelled out, “WHITE PEOPLE SUCK!” She kept yelling it over and over. At the time, I was a 13 or 14 year old kid. It wasn’t on my register that something probably happened to have made her feel that way. I piped up, “Well white people fought for your freedom!” And she retaliated, “Did your daddy fight for it? Did your granddaddy fight for it?” I went on to tell her how my relatives fought in the civil war for the freedom of blacks because it was the right thing to do; that she should shut up because blacks might still be slaves if it weren’t for the whites who stood up for what was right. Pretty arrogant, huh? I think she was stunned. I know I was! Looking back, I botched that. In my own way I wanted her to know that “white people” don’t suck. This was at a school in a suburb of Los Angeles. Public school, actually and the first time I had gone to school off a military base. Ninety percent (or so) of the students were Mexican and black. I was just the “cute white girl” who couldn’t get it. I didn’t really belong anywhere, and I didn’t feel comfortable until I was back on base.

I’ve mentioned this before; my father couldn’t have married my mom 8 years prior to meeting her because it was still against the law for a white man to marry outside of his race. I grew up with kids of every ethnic background. We weren’t Asian, Middle Eastern, White, Black or Hispanic… we were all just military brats with parents sometimes gone for months at a time wondering if our fathers would be called to the Gulf War. Now I am not saying racism doesn’t happen on military bases. I am sure it does. It is just my personal experience it is not as prevalent as in the civilian world. Then growing into adulthood and exposure to civilian life happens.

Then Rodney King and the L.A. riots happens. Speeches like Bill Cosby’s We Cannot Blame the White People Any Longer happens. Trayvon Martin being gunned down happens. Families eating at restaurants and being asked to leave because of the color of their skin happens. Then an 88-year old war veteran being beaten to death by a young black man happens. And Chris Lane is gunned down while jogging and it’s apparently not a racial hate crime because he was white (Australian) happens. But the hate happens anyway.

When I was searching for more information on what happened at that Wild Wings in North Charleston, I came across a message board addressing this story (1). It had comments like the following:

Cacs gonna cac

Cacas will continue to shyt on us if yall don’t take a stand for something

You nikkas ain’t going to learn until you’re hanging from a tree. Keep joining with the white man if you want to.

White patronage about to skyrocket.

Yep, business is about to be booming for them. Prolly the best thing that could happen to that restaurant financially.

A black person has to be hanging from a tree with the words n*gger written on their stomach for white people to admit it’s racism (someone replied that whites would just say it’s a black on black crime)

There were many others, but this one especially makes a point:

I wish racism was a stock I could invest in. Because it is definitely on the rise.

Maybe it is out of ignorance, but I don’t agree with any of the comments above, except for the last one. Racism is on the rise. I see it everyday. Case in point, I also came across news articles (2) with comments from the readers such as this gem:

Y​eah….25 persons of color waited nice and quietly for a whole 2 hours just to be seated. As persons of color, we can rest assured that they were the epitome of “best behavior in a group setting” for the entire two hours.

I am sure they must at least garner some sense of gratitude from the mere fact that no one in their group felt the need to pop a cap in the azzzzzz of another member of their party.

BTW…Its all George Bush’s fault.

What is the point? It’s so “us against them” in this country. I am not going to sit here and write that I get it. I don’t. I can’t. I am going to call a spade a spade. My name and my appearance mean I am treated differently. People don’t worry about me in an elevator. They don’t follow me while I am shopping.

In a hoodie. What’s your adjective for me?

If I wear a hoodie, they don’t think, “Thug.”

Has a racist comment ever come from my lips? Yes. Ignorant? Yes. Do I think white people or Colombian people are better than everyone else? No. Hell no.

In all honestly, I am not even sure what the point of this entry is. Perhaps I just wonder if it will ever stop. It if CAN stop. Maybe I am naïve to be shocked by the behavior of that restaurant manager. But I am most certainly angered. I am angry for Michael Brown and his family. I am saddened by comments like those above. I think my bubble has been burst a bit today.

The beauty of life is in the differences we have, yet it’s as if we’re intent on destroying each other as humans, even in our own country.

When will we figure it out? Can we?

The check-boxes on those forms?  For a long time I’ve just checked “other” and filled in Human. Sarcasm? Not really. Truth? Oh yes.

I challenge others to start doing the same.
(1) www.thecoli.com
(2) Rawstory.com