July 16, 2013
A Little Bit of Hope
So, I’ve been pretty upset these last few days after the Zimmerman verdict. On so many levels, the entire thing is devastating, and from a personal standpoint I’ve felt really disheartened seeing so many privileged statements from some of my friends on Facebook. I seriously, and perhaps naively was completely dumbstruck when I found out about the verdict. I felt heartbroken for this boy’s parents, defeated at the message this sends to Americans everywhere about being black in America, and. . . no seriously I’m STILL wrapping my head around the whole thing. I’m positively embarrassed that in a land we proclaim to be so forward thinking and so damn amazing, our legal system ABSOLUTELY perpetuates institutionalized racism. There is a bevy of research on this, so people trying to deny that this is a thing just baffle me.
This could be a really angry post, but honestly I don’t want to go through all of that right now.
I’ve read lots of ignorant posts about how Martin’s death, and the outcome of the trial had nothing to do with race. I’ve read things that somehow suggest a lot of the discussion has been racist against white people (which is seriously fucking insane. If you think that, you need to go read a bit). If you think race is no longer a thing in this country, you need to check your damn privilege. I remember thinking as I read these posts about that adorable Cheerios commercial that featured a biracial family. It was super cute, but Cheerios actually had to completely shut down the comments section, because so many people FLIPPED out and were making horribly racist and violent comments. So, how can people deny that we still have racism when a freaking CHEERIOS commercial that featured biracial parents had so much controversy. It IS 2013. It IS messed up that these are things people are angry about, and yet, that is obviously where we are.
Then this morning this article was posted with the video below, and honestly, this is what still gives me hope.
These kids give me hope. This is exactly how we should be raising our kids. I try to be cognizant of the fact that I am the way I am because of my parents, my experiences, my circumstances, etc. I didn’t come out of the womb, aware of some things, my parents taught me to be me.
When I was maybe six, I started hanging out with this boy Malcolm. Our moms worked together, and Malcolm was the first black person I had ever hung out with. It wasn’t on purpose, but everyone in my neighborhood was white, just like everyone at my super tiny Catholic school. I didn’t think anything of the fact that Malcolm was “black,” because I didn’t yet know that that was a thing. I was insanely pale, I had some friends who were varying degrees of tan, and I just assumed that there was a spectrum I guess. One day Malcolm and I were playing in my yard when a girl from my neighborhood rode her bike passed us. I asked her to join us and she had to go home. A few days later, she told me that she actually didn’t want to play with us because the boy I was with was black. I was really confused, and when I asked my mom about it later, she said something like, “Some people think that because people have different colored skin that they aren’t the same as everyone else, and that they don’t deserve the same things as us. It’s sad, and those people are wrong. People are people and it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
And bam. The fact is, while we are all people, it’s useless and unproductive to deny that a lot of systems we have in place aren’t prejudiced. It can definitely get better over time, but it will absolutely require work, and acknowledgment.
Anywho, seeing the video with those kids really lifted up my spirits, and I think we could all take a cue from their attitudes.