Trying to Understand

Last week we happened to be flicking as you do and paused for a moment on Primetime. I can’t recall now what made Bozoboy stop but as it happened the segment they were introducing was about 2 13-yr old twins, who sing songs with racial epitaphs and develop lyrics to recruit others for their white cause. The also play a video game where the sole objective is to kill blacks.

Looking back now, I am upset with myself that I even bothered to watch it. For some reason when these types of programs are on I am can’t seem to turn them off…I guess I am looking for the why? I have one friend who calls any programming like this propaganda and refuses to watch, even under the guess of a news program. I find all these shows upsetting of course, but this one was particularly disturbing. To see such young children embodying the asinine ideologies passed down by their parents. I can only guess that their exposure to a diversified society has been limited. One segment had the girls creating packages for the survivors of Katrina but to only be distributed to whites affected. As it turned out the packages were never distributed they ended up in a store that caters to people of similar persuasion because even the whites didn’t want to accept the packages simply because they were white.

I find it laughable that one of the main tenant’s for these people is to maintain their “white purity.” They are living under some massive delusion if they seriously believe that they are truly white and have NO mixed blood. These are what I like to call crazy thoughts.

Race is more on my mind these days, with the episodes and outcomes of Hurricane Katrina, William Bennett’s comments about aborting black babies to reduce crime, the beating of the man in New Orleans, and of late even celebrities get it wrong, the Joan Rivers/Darcus Howe spat.

To some extent, I do believe that some of us need to let the pain go and some of us need to stop inflicting the pain. Beyond just race, discrimination is something that should never be felt by another, whether it be religious, gender or sexual preference. I know that I am not a perfect …but I also, don’t go around judging others based solely on this surface information. And that is not say that I don’t pass judgment…I see families in the grocery store completely unable to control their wild children. I judge, under my breath, but I also give the benefit of the doubt and have never gone rushing up to the parents’ and say what horrible monsters you have, you suck as parents; because everyone has a bad day now and again. But I am not the type of person who would discriminate against someone.

I keep thinking about the future, my future and what that will mean when/if we have a baby. What will that child look like…how will the world view them…will they be accepted? Of course, these are normal questions to contemplate when thinking about parenthood, but I think of them with the eyes of a colored woman, in an interracial marriage. I think about how I will react if I drop them at school and everyone thinks I’m the nanny because we look nothing alike.

America is a cruel and ignorant place if you are a minority…the country is unforgiving, like a dog with a bone. This was never better demonstrated to me then after 9/11, with the enhanced racial profiling we had sunk too. The sad fact is that people mistake your outward appearance for something you may not even be. It is hard for minorities to fit in, to find our place, especially if we are strangers in a new country but even for those of us who have been here for generations. It’s funny that most of my racial encounter have been from other blacks…saying I am not black enough, the definition of which still eludes me. It is not easy trying to find your place, understand how you fit, it is hard work and in most ways I have given up. I don’t try to be something that I am not, particularly to satisfy someone who wasn’t interested in knowing the layers below my skin. Race is a dilemma that I know I will not solve. It is based often on the perceptions and preconceived ideas of others, their assumptions and the need to label or classify.

I find small consolation, when then I look around at other societies I had assumed were handling their issues of race better than us and realize that we are in some ways better off than other countries. Real Sports recently had a story about Europe’s struggle with discrimination of black soccer players. Some of the videos they showed of the fans throwing bananas and making monkey calls is hard for me to imagine. I would be astonished to ever see something like that here. These scenes brought back clips I had seen the initial sportsmen in this country who helped break the color barrier and the experiences they had. It is hard to imagine these barriers are still being broken in 2005, anywhere.

As time passes, I find myself thinking about a time far from now, when I am gone and my children and maybe even their children are gone. I think of the face, the face of what lies ahead? I think what will the world be like if we were the same racially? What if we all had medium tanned skin? Would we still hate so much? We would then covet or resent one another’s eye color, hair? What would be next? Ultimately, my fantasy loses it’s luster because I am forced to reconcile the daily acts of hatred I see and concede that it may never end and o how sad to admit that. So, for now I hold onto my little world. My own small fantasy where I feel a part of the diversification process…not just in changing the face of the world with children but with my daily interactions with people in my life and those I invite to be regardless of what’s on outside. I am anomaly. I don’t fit any molds and a label hasn’t been created yet to encapsulate everything I am.

And yet in the face of such doubt, I continue to hope and dream.

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