I was going to put this blog out on Martin Luther King Day, but I didn't. I'm not sure why, but the blog is on racism. I thought I understood the effect of racism, but I don't. I mean, I was a nerd and have been bullied at one time or another, and even ostracized at a party. That's not living with racism. I didn't start to understand it until one of my co-workers suffered it.
This story is true, but I have changed the circumstances. First off let me explain that the African-American people I worked with are all college-educated, god-fearing people with children and mortgages. When you talk to me about thugs and welfare queens, I have no clue. Don't quote a sound bite from one of the 'alternative facts' new stations or blogs. If you actually work with African-American people, you understand that their concerns and problems are exactly like yours, for the most part.
I say for the most part, because of this incident. A young African-American woman who worked for me was one of the best worker's I had. We worked together in a quality assurance organization. It's a tough job, but she handled it with dignity and aplomb. She is married to her high school sweetheart and both are degreed and working for technical companies. Her son is attending a college located in the mountains.
First day of school, her son and four other freshmen meet. There are two white girls and two white boys and they all go to a specific location on campus to smoke weed as part of their introduction process. They are caught by a campus policeman. Only one person of the five gets a citation and he was not the one with the marijuana in his hand or any in his pocket. It was her son.
I walked by her cubicle and I could hear her arguing with somebody on her phone. I later asked her to come to my office. When she came in and sat down, I could tell she was angry, just by the look on her face. I offered to call the company's lawyer and get the name of a good lawyer to help her son fight the citation, but she told me to not bother. The citation is just a warning, and the other freshmen, to their credit, went to the Dean to protest, and now all five had been cited.
The person that she was so angry with was her son. She told me he had been brought up to know better than to get himself into that situation. I told her marijuana is considered just another way to relax by the current generation. She told me no, it wasn't the marijuana, it was the situation. Her question to him was what did you expect to happen?
I was shocked. She didn't actually say it, but I realized she was implying that racism was so endemic in our culture that an African-American person would always be blamed in those situations. Her solution set for her children, was never get into those situations.
Then I remembered something that bothered me when I was a freshman in high school. We had a race riot. It was a typical race riot in those days and started over an intramural basketball game between two homerooms, one whose team was white and the other African-American. People were hurt, the school was shut down and the police were called. After the fracas, they began sending us home on school buses and we passed a police checkpoint. They had pulled over all the African-American kid's cars and were making them open their trunks and doors, looking for weapons. The man driving the first car was our all-state full back. I had never seen him without a smile on his face until now. The white cops were swinging their nightsticks around him and kept saying something to him, something I couldn't hear. In the front seat was his sister. I knew Emily because she was in the advanced classes with me. She was crying and I realized later she was scared. I never saw her again. Neither of them returned to our school because they did not feel safe.
I've never been scared when a cop pulls me over for a traffic ticket. I was never concerned that he would unload his revolver into my chest. I was never hassled because I drove an expensive car. I never worried that I would be followed and harassed because I didn't 'belong' in that neighborhood.
But most of all I never had to teach my children that because of the color of your skin, you could always be the victim of a society with endemic racism. I'm not sure I am brave enough to raise a child in that environment. So I know now that I really don't understand racism and its effects.
A solution set - get to know people of all nationalities. African-American, Hispanic, and throw in a Muslim or two. And don't forget Canadians - they're very unique, too. Walk and talk with them. Make an effort.
But a nation founded on the principle of equality can't be racist or afraid, not when your vote impacts so much.
From the King James Version of the bible, Matthew 22:36-40
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
How can there possibly be any racists in Heaven?