Friday, September 25, 2009

The race thing

I am the descendant of West African slaves and Irish immigrants with a few rogue Scots thrown in for extra spice. There are great tragedies and triumphs in my family tree. My ancestors paid a hell of a price for me to be here today and it irks me when people try to put me in a category box. I am not an African-American. I don't do hyphens. I've traced my mother's family tree back to the 1800s. That's several generations removed from Africa. My folks have been here a long time and have a mighty stake in this country though schemers like Jesse Jackson try to claim otherwise. I am an American, thank you.

Perhaps if Thomas Jefferson had supported his son-in-law's efforts to ban slavery, perhaps if Abraham Lincoln hadn't gone to the Ford theater, perhaps if more people had only listened to Booker T. Washington my kin would've had a different fate in this country but that's not how things went down and it can't be changed.

A lot of nice, well meaning white people voted for Obama thinking that it would somehow heal the race issues of this country. I knew that it wouldn't and in fact, I think the race thing has gotten worse. Say one word against Obama's policies and you get the racist card flung in your face. That's not right.

I don't know how to say this but here goes. A lot of black people hate you. Sorry. They hate you because their parents taught them to do it and the parents learned it from their parents. It was a survival mechanism back in the Jim Crow days. So today we have people who never went to a lynching, never knocked a black child down the stairs for kicks, never practiced placage with their black maid or committed outright rape, and wouldn't even dream of or approve of such things being loathed by blacks who never experienced any of that but believe today's whites are still capable of this.

What's the answer? Prayer, honesty and love for our country, I guess. In the mean times things are going to nastier. A lot nastier.


Old Bob said...

Hi, Dymphna! You know better than I do, so thanks for writing that. My own experience is quite different, but I was called a a racist to my face in 1964 for raising questions about the Civil Rights Act, and again about 1969 just because I'm predominately white. I like to live Dr. King's speech, or St. Paul's dismissal of cultural (or race), gender, and status barriers.

Sanctus Belle said...

It is so incredibly not PC but is that why when I've (a white woman) have found myself in group of young black people, being looked at with what appears to be awful hatred? I search my soul for one thought that says anyone of another color is lesser than me, and I don't find that within myself, I truly honestly don't. But when I've found myself in a mall, on the street/etc feeling these intense looks of malice, it is truly frightening.

I used to live in south Texas, I've never for a second felt this way among hispanics, nor with native americans in my area...I try to tell myself its some deep down racism on my part but I truly don't think it is. Perhaps what you're saying Dymphna gets to the heart of it.

Dymphna said...

Hello Bob and Belle, I'm sorry you had those experiences.

Old Bob said...

Dymphna, thanks for the kind words. I've seen that same look many times on the faces of some of my black neighbors in Minneapolis, mostly young people, as Belle said. The folks about my age, 65, are generally more friendly and easy to chat with. I think that's because they remember Dr. King (not color of skin but content of character); and know (I bet from churchgoing), that St. Paul says that to a Christian, the differences of culture (or race or ethnicity), status, and gender are irrelevant. What matters is that we're all children of God, therefore brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm afraid (though I have no hard data to hand) that an unfortunately high percentage of young people of all groups are unchurched, and that is a big part of the problem.

pennyante said...

I am a woman with Black friends who naturally have been invited to my home over the years. I also have woods behind my home whose trees were once sprayed with swastikas and other things because of my friendships.

Racists come in all colors...