Racism runs much deeper than name calling. It is the mistreatment of or making assumptions of others based on a person's ethnic background or skin color. Its's sneaky
Yes, it happens everyday in YOUR neighborhood and families.
And Yes... it even exists in MY family.
When I began dating my white husband in 1999, we both knew that our union would be difficult for his parents. But we were willing to work through it. One of our first conversations with his parents was about calling African Americans "COLORED". When we became engaged his parents told us that they would not attend the wedding. The positive side of me felt that we just needed to educate his parents and things would change.
When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I really thought everything would change. But it didn't. After four years of marriage and 3 children, I told my husband that I was done trying to establish a relationship with them. BUT i would not interfere with him having a relationship with them. I also told him that if he wanted them to see our children that he would have to facilitate it. I hoped they could somehow have a positive influence. So my in-laws would only see my children 1-2 times per year. As my children became older they knew that their grandparents treated them differently than their cousins, but they could never give a clear example-it was more of a feeling, until recently.
It was a normal visit where the conversation didn't go any deeper than the weather. My husband’s brother was also there with his two children. After the visit my husband received a call from his mother.She informed my husband that she had cash sitting on her dining room table and now $10 of it was missing, that he needed to "check those kids". My husband became infuriated. She didn't call his brother an accuse his kids of taking the money. She insisted that her grandkids would never steal her money.
In other words...My bi-racial children were not REALLY her grandchildren, but her other son's blue eyed blond haired children were.
Later my father- in law called and said they found the $10. They had forgotten they had moved it. But the damage was already done. That was the LAST time they would ever see my children. While my in-laws never used the "N" in front of my children, their actions said EVERYTHING.
Many have a idea of what racism looks like- the "N" word, denying employment or services to people that don't look the same. Not always. Racism is sneaky. It appears with making assumptions. Like:
Two black people in the same shopping line must mean they are related.
Or telling a black person in line at Starbucks that they speak "eloquently" when you hear them order a white chocolate mocha.
Or putting your hands in a black person's hair and saying in a surprised voice "OMG! Your hair is so soft!"
Yes all of these things have happened to me.
When I have told other white people, some were horrified and others have told me I was being "OVERSENSITIVE".
No.. I am not be oversensitive. Denying it happens and blaming the person of color does no good.
So I share these stories to ask you to REALLY look. Look at yourself. Look at your families. Look at your children. Ignoring or making excuses is BULLSHIT. It is just a way for you to ignore an uncomfortable conversation. Nothing will change unless we are willing to take action. To speak up and say: THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.
As Dr. Phil says, "You can't change what you don’t acknowledge."
Let it start today. Let it start with you.