Friday, June 28, 2013

I'll never get used to it

I've been the mother of bi-racial children for 22 years.  Since I was 16 years old, having met their father when I was 13.  That's a lot of years to get used to racism;  but I'm not.

I think I get more incensed now, after 20 years.  You would think time would mellow it a little, I'd grudgingly become accustomed to it, but oh no.  Part of it is my personality that's changed, I've grown up, I've found my voice.  And as time goes by and each and every one of my 6 bi-racial children grow and change and become amazing people that the world will be blessed to have,  it just becomes more and more personal.

We have not had to go through anything anywhere near as horrid as some other families have, but racism has touched our family, to a smaller degree, but hurtful nonetheless.  We're just regular people living regular lives in smalltown, USA, and contact with racism to any degree is a slap in the face.  These are my children; to me they have no color, just the color of beauty and love and mine.  But to others, it's different.

Last year during a middle school basketball game, a player on the opposite team called my 13 year old son a nigger.  I was not at that game, and I totally wish I was, but kinda wonder if maybe it's better that I wasn't.  When my son told me about it, I contacted the school he had played at and told them about the incident.  Thus began a 3 week process of trying to get some sort of acknowledgement/apology out of them.  When I talked to their athletic director, he acted very surprised (read didn't believe me) that that could've happened at his school.  I mean, they have minority students that go there, and one that plays basketball for heaven's sake. Surely none of his players would say such a thing.  Well, one of 'em did, buddy.  Twice in fact.  Once on the court and once on the way to the locker room. My son's friend bodily blocked my son from knocking the smart ass's teeth out.  And if my son had popped him one?  He wouldn't have gotten in trouble with me.  I don't condone violence as a way of handling things, but, be it right or wrong, in this situation I would not have blamed him.  Heck, I might've punched the little shit in the throat. (see earlier statement about maybe it's better that I wasn't there.)

Last night at basketball we had an incident with a grown man talking racist smack.  *Side note: I don't believe there's anything to the fact that these two occurrences both took place at basketball games.  I think it's just that 90% of the time that we're in public, it's at a youth sporting event :)

The man was standing on the side, watching the game while waiting for the next one to begin.  There are 3 mixed race boys on my son's summer league team and 1 Mexican boy, so this asshole had plenty to talk about.  I didn't hear him myself, but he didn't realize that the white lady standing next to him was one of the boys mother, and also my friend, who was most definitely going to tell me what she heard.  He said his brilliant bigoted bullshit to a kid with him who was no more than 16 or 17, maybe younger.  Way to be a role model, douche.  One comment he said was after one of our boys made a great play, and he said something about giving him fried chicken to reward him.  Really? Really?

I have been very interested in the George Zimmerman trial.  If you don't know the story of Trayvon Martin, you can read about it here.  It could've been my sons.  My sons are tall, and dark, and probably would've walked to the store in the rain for snacks.  All of their sweatshirts have hoods on them,  and their hoods would definitely have been up.  It could've been my sons, who got shot.  Because somebody looked at them and decided that the way they looked met his criteria for bad news. For suspicious. For wrong.  It could've been my sons who are dead.

I would never compare the racial trials I mentioned here (or any of the others my family has gone through) to something as tragic and violent and horrific as what happened to Trayvon Martin.  But here, in my little town, in my little world, in my little family, these incidents are a big deal.  This is where it starts.  These are the small things that taint my children's view of humanity, that make them question so many things (sadly, including their own worth), and that make me afraid. 

And angry.  So very, very angry. 

I have no answers, friends.  I'm just ranting.  And it's so much easier to be mad, then to feel the hurt.


 
It could've been my son
 

                                                                                                     

20 comments:

  1. I just don't understand why our nation can't move into the 21st century. Come one people, enough is enough! I live in rural Iowa where racism is much more prevalant than one would think. It's sad.

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    1. It really is sad. Just because we don't have segregated buses or water fountains doesn't mean it's not still lurking. Everywhere.

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  2. First I want to say, from one member of what I wish was a colorblind human race to another that I'm truly sorry this has happened to your son. It's inexcusable.

    And if I could speak to the people deliberately making hurtful comments about children, I'd say this:
    It's a simple choice, do you want the world to be a better place for all children, including yours, or do you not?

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    1. Thanks Karen. That's a very good way to put it, a good question to ask. I seriously don't understand what goes through people's minds, especially parents or those involved with children.

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  3. While I cannot relate to your pain (being both white and Australian) I can sympathise with it. Racism is still definitely very prevalent here in Australia too, most recently a young girl got into trouble for calling an indigenous football player an ape in the middle of a stadium packed with thousands of people. You would think with the steps both of our countries have taken to undo the mistakes of the past that we would be more forward with our thinking, but it appears some habits die hard.

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    1. Yes, and this habit isn't going down without a fight, apparently. There is this kind of sadness the whole world thru, unfortunately. Thanks for reading. :)

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  4. Boy oh boy, I know exactly what you mean. I come from a very diverse, mixed racially and culturally family. The 'N' word is derogatory in my eyes and I really don't give a monkeys whether it is used amongst friends who say 'come here my n***er' or in those awful rap songs. It's wrong. And some of those black guys really need to check out their own history as I've never ever heard anyone being called that, in a positive light unless part of my brain is missing.

    I always say to people that when racial remarks are made like this in a school setting, they should not only report the matter but follow up with a detailed letter sent by email and one sent via 'recorded delivery' post (where the recipient has to sign to get the letter and they can't pretend they didn't receive it) with all the facts of your complaint. This will help to cover your back should any further incidents take place later with the same offender. Check out all the schools rules/regs/policies and follow their complaints procedure to the 'T' leaving no stone unturned. If the school does nothing then find out who is above the school and complain to that board/organisation until something is done. Keep a full and detailed record of everything; dates, times, what was said and by whom, and what you did and what action if any, did the school take etc etc... If the school won't do anything then maybe the local papers might like to hear your story, or maybe the radio chat shows too. Let the school know. You just might see a change.

    No child should have to go through this, and neither should their parents tolerate it. We are in a society where it is high time that this sort of bullying, abusive behaviour gets stamped out. Schools should be forced to take action against it. And the offender should feel that they can't openly abuse when they feel like it.
    Now you got me going so I better shut up.

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    1. I'm sorry my comment is so long. You touched a nerve in my heart mate.

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    2. Please don't apologize for a long comment! I'm glad that what I wrote spoke to you, and got you going! And so very glad that you took the time to respond. I appreciate every line.
      It was a long battle with the school to get them to pay attention. After the first phone call, I started communicating via email so there would be a written record of my complaint. After being ignored for a while I did send one mentioning how terrible it would be if I had to contact the local news in order to get some kind of response. They didn't like that one bit! Told me that 'threatening' wasn't necessary. Oh well, it worked! In the end I was assured by the vice principal that they were going to have an assembly with all of the student athletes and discuss the seriousness of issues such as this. I do not know whether that ever happened or not. He also apologized to me. Not to my son personally. I look back and think that maybe I should've demanded a written apology directly to my son. I don't know. It was very emotionally trying and draining, and I'm not a person that likes confrontation. It still makes me angry tho, and whenever any of my kids have to play that school in any sport I am extremely alert to any inappropriateness.
      See, I just gave a long comment too! It touches a nerve in both of us, mate :)

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    3. Nice one Black Sheep Mom. Glad you didn't let it go. Some organisations like to wear people down so that they give up and go away, so it's good that you didn't let the issue slide.
      Hopefully, it won't happen again and yes, unfortunately you still have to carry on being alert with that school. But at least the vice principal is fully aware of it. :)

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  5. First of all I am so sorry that this happened to your son. I for one am so confused as to why we continue to raise the next generation to be filled with hate and ignorance. It just takes one generation to remove all the hate but we just can't seem to get there. I, my friend can promise you this...my children are being raised to love and treat everyone equally and to never judge someone by the color of their skin. I am angry and hurt for you! The bullshit has to end!

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    1. Thank you for that promise; every good heart is a blessing :) I also can't understand why this ignorance is purposely passed on to young children; they don't know hate, they learn it.

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  6. In 20 more years, it'll be weird to see an all white person. As each generation passes, a more accepting and open-minded generation comes along. And once all of the old racist assholes die off, there won't be any left.

    People are beautiful no matter what. We all look the same on the inside. I'm sorry you've had to deal with people's crap, but it's just the way society portrays things right now.

    Our world will get there in time.

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    1. The old ones have got to stop teaching the little ones their twisted views of hate. It's so not fair to little innocent minds. Let's fast forward to that better time! Thanks for reading :)

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  7. I am so glad you wrote this. It's sad that in this day and age you had to write it----I always wonder when people will come to their senses and wipe out racism, but unfortunately, there are just too many a-holes in the world, living in a bubble of hatred. It took courage to write this and I'm glad you shared your heart with us.

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    1. Thank you so much Marcia. It was a different direction than I usually go in, so it made me a little nervous to write it; but mostly, it's something that speaks so strongly to my heart that it's just a part of me as much as the funny and goofy kids posts are. Thanks for your comment :)))

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  8. Popped over to say Hi & Thanks for checking in... Wow!!!

    I totally "feel ya" and just can't understand some people. It really is a shame that these same "some people" have such a "thing" against a color of skin. So sorry your kids have to endure such knuckle-heads.

    Now... 6 kids??? Yikes!!! lol

    Have a great weekend, Slu

    Will check in more often!!!

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  9. Hey Slu! So glad you came by! Yes 6 kids with my ex husband, 1 with my husband now, and he has 2 also so grand total of 9! My first six are biracial and it's definitely been an eye opening experience, not always positive :/

    Hope you visit again!

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  10. Hey, I'm so sorry you and your kids had to go through that kind of stuff! No kid should have to go through that!
    About the Martin case, I don't know who attacked whom, but racial profiling was definitely involved and that is just outrageous!

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    1. Thanks Roshni. It is very very frustrating!

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