“Here are the values I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” –Ellen Degeneres
Growing up I had plenty enough lessons where knowing why a person didn’t like me, shaped my thoughts that most times it was because of my self-induced isolation. This action, which at the time I didn’t think was an action, was off putting to others. Somehow isolation translated into – She thinks she’s too good or she thinks she’s all that, etc. I wanted to express how I felt but I felt that doing so was pointless. I didn’t understand how being quite could be taken as an insult, it’s just who I am.
How would that change their perception of me? It sounded to me like I was asking for their forgiveness for being me. I remember this turned into a desire to be more outspoken but that became futile because in the end I thought the conversation in my head was not worthy of talking about or even interesting to other people. My conscious turning over in my head about what not to do didn’t conform with what they wanted to do. For all the bad I did do, I didn’t want to talk about that either. I thought that it was best to keep to myself. I saw enough girls being blasted after running their mouth about what they did, that I decided keeping it to myself was best. Being quite paid/pays off for me most times.
This brings me to the subject of racism. I know the two may not seem like they compare but they do to me. I have encountered recently two incidences: (1) I was dog walking with my cousin and she was sharing that she believes she has experienced some weird encounters with the older white women at this particular park where she lives. She went on to say that they pull their dogs away in an aggressive “don’t even play with the black girl’s dog” kind of way. She went on to say, that it might be all in her head.
I discounted it. I didn’t want to pass judgment. I wanted to just be an ear. It wasn’t long after the conversation that an older white woman was making her way towards us. She was off the paved path, a few feet. She had her dog in a choke hold and my thought, he must be aggressive. As she got closer I heard her string of “no” commands that were reinforced with a jerk that could cause her dog to gag. The energy was tense and not at all welcoming. It was not the energy of, “I want to keep your little pooch safe from my coyote,” it was, “don’t mingle with the black women.”
(2) So this Mexican guy was contracted to work on a house in my community. It was shared that he had a black baby doll on the grill of his work truck. After hearing about it from my neighbor I went to witness this symbolic message, or at least that’s what I took it to be. The guy had earlier admitted to my neighbor that he didn’t like black people and that he was racist. To be clear, the neighbor asked again, and he confessed.
Not liking black people in the 21st century is beyond me. I would think that by now it is known that black does not rub off on your clothes. Being black isn’t a reflection of character. It isn’t a thing. It doesn’t represent negative behavior.
I think having such boldness is a rarity. Most people hide their true feelings no matter what they are. But to have a person(s), out rightly profess either through action or verbally their disdain for an entire race is hard to take in without speaking/acting out on it.
When my family moved from the city to suburban Maryland in the 80’s, I felt at grade school age that the white families were angry because now there were black people living in their community. No one ever said anything but the energy could be felt. Their children played with us not knowing that they shouldn’t. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized, through the mother’s actions, that the father hated the idea of his children playing with black children, in all her shame she couldn’t bring herself to verbalize it, so she allowed us to play together while the father was away at work.
Even at that young age, I didn’t hate them back. I could have very well grouped all white people together and decided that I was against them based off of what I experienced growing up but I didn’t.
I don’t hate the white woman from the park or the Mexican contractor but if I had super-powers I would expand their minds and broaden their vision.
I needed to get this out, racism is heavy on the soul.