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    Posted July 26, 2013 by
    HealingMe1
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Everyday racism: Your stories

    More from HealingMe1

    "This is my brother."

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     HealingMe1 answered an ad to babysit this boy, then five years old, in 2008. He quickly became good friends with her own three children, and her son took to introducing his friend as his brother. "Those boys were best friends and they truly felt like they were brothers," HealingMe1 remembers.

    But while walking with the children around Washington, D.C., "I was not prepared for the significant amount of people who would ask me, 'Are they all yours?,'" she said. "The people who would ask this unnecessary question would almost always give me a truly bizarre look and walk away. I was truly saddened to see that racism, even in small ways, still existed."

    This story is part of CNN iReport’s Everyday Racism project, an effort to shine light on and spark discussion about racism in today’s world. Please note that CNN cannot independently verify the events described in this post.

    HealingMe1 was featured on CNN.com as part of the Everyday Racism project. Read more here and join the conversation.

    - rachel8, CNN iReport producer

    This is what my son would say when introducing his friend to others. This friend was a little boy I babysat while we lived in D.C. a few years back. He lived with his grandmother as his father was serving overseas. His grandmother was a nurse and worked long, odd hours. I homeschooled my children and he was not in school at this time. We spent many days going into the city, visiting the museums or the zoo.

    I was raised in a family where racism was not present. All people, regardless of race, age, sex, or religion, were created equal; therefore we treated everyone as such. I am raising my children with the same ideals.

    Walking around D.C. with a child from "another race" was not something that my children nor I viewed as different or unusual. What surprised me was the bizarre looks we would get from others, especially white people. I was used to the questions regarding school. "Do the kids have a day off from school today?". I would reply kindly that we homeschooled and that often was enough. Some people were more curious and ask a few questions about it. However I was not prepared for the significant amount of people who would ask me, "Are they all yours?". I never got a chance to reply. My son felt it necessary to introduce his sisters as his sisters and his friend as his brother. Those boys were best friends and they truly felt like they were brothers. The people who would ask this unnecessary question would almost always give me a truly bizarre look and walk away. I was truly saddened to see that racism, even in small ways, still existed. Don't get me wrong, I know racism exists, but I don't understand why. I never have. It's not that I am blind to it. I see it clearly. I don't pretend to know how it feels to be black or hispanic or any other race. I just don't understand why people can't understand that we are all human and are all created equal.

    The thing is if I was walking down a street and a black man wearing a hoodie was walking towards me, I would questions his motives and become defensive. But I would do the exact same thing if it was a white man in a hoodie as well. This is not a racial thing - it is stereotyping. Is it right? Not sure if it's right or wrong, but stereotyping exists because of societal ideals, media, and experiences. I personally do not wear scantily clad clothing and stilettos as I know how people would perceive me and I'm not that type of girl. People dress and act certain ways in order to be perceived as a certain type of person. This is not always right, but unfortunately society exacerbates certain stereotypes especially on television, movies, or music venues.

    All I know is racism should not exist. We as a society need to move on. Yes, slavery existed at one time in this country and it was wrong. Unequal treatment of women existed and was wrong. German concentration camps existed and were beyond wrong. But this nation will not be able to move on and become equal if we continue to glorify racial divide. Unfortunately those in power and fame continue to shout out about racism instead of trying to bring us all together.

    I pray that people like my son and his friend can help bridge those gaps in this world. I pray that people will just smile and hug one another regardless of race. This may seem impossible to some, but we have it in our power to change this focus of racism. Hollywood has gone the distance in many ways by portraying mutli-racial families and friendships as normal. Now if only we can get the president and others such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to do the same, we may be able to turn the tide of racism and become the true melting pot America is.
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