Saturday, September 19, 2009

How far have we come?

Let's talk about the elephant in the room, people.


Yep, that's what this post will be about. I'm pretty sure some won't read this because they're "sick of it" or because it's a subject that's been "run into the ground" or maybe it's because it's one of those subjects that's avoided like abortion, same sex marriage, and Obama. It's much more fun to read about the new fall trends or which new celebrity decided to interrupt some other celebrity's glory moment. I'm with you. Because you know what? I happen to know the new fall trends (animal prints, showy shoulders, and knee high boots), and I am completely up-to-date on the Kanye/Taylor drama (good. Lord.)..

But some incidents have happened recently that have made me so frustrated that YES, I am blogging about it.

I'm from a small southern town (SST) that tends to ward off anyone/anything different from them like vampires. And not the glittery kind. The believable, scary kind. (Yes. That was a potshot at Twilight. Calm yourself.)

Anyway, since I've been living in the land of beautiful diversity for awhile now, it's sometimes easy for me to forget what it was like living in SST.. It has its charms, but there are some things that I don't miss.

I recently had a conversation with someone, who we will name Tard for the time being, about his new college experience that went a little something like this:

Me: So how're you liking college?

Tard: Good..

Me: Do you have a roommate?

Tard: He never showed up.

Me: Oh, cool. You live alone. That could be good..or bad..if the M.I.A. roommate would have turned out to be your best friend.

Tard: Yeah, that wouldn't have happened. He was black..

Me: (momentary pause) He wouldn't have been your friend because he was black?

Tard: (chuckling) Yeah, I know I'm a little racist, but..

..then joking with those around us began, which involved making up what they considered "black names" etc..

Me: You know, one day you're going to learn..

Tard: Learn what?

Learn that we were all created with the same amount of love and purpose.
Learn that your entitled attitude and limited beliefs show your ignorance.
Learn that one day you're going to mouth off in the wrong place at the wrong time and your ass is going to get beat for saying crap like that.

At that point, I walked away to go sit at another table. I had the strongest urge to shake him and scream how completely wrong he was, but I knew it would fall on deaf ears.

One day, he will learn, but I know he wouldn't accept that lesson from me.

THEN a few weeks later, I am back in SST at a wedding rehearsal. There happens to be one lone black man who is a groomsman. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "Who's the black guy?" or "He seems nice." (Like that would be a real SHOCKER, if someone who isn't white is actually a good person..)

I have to tell you, racism is a constant frustration for me. I would love to live in a world that wouldn't disrespect the President of the United States because of the color of his skin. Or if I would like to set up a friend with someone of a different race, they write him or her off because of something else besides the color of their skin.

I'll leave with a few of my favorite quotes that can sum up my point better than I ever could:

"At the heart of racism is the religious assertion that God made a creative mistake when He brought some people into being."
-Friedrich Otto Hertz

"Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering that outright rejection."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.