- Posted August 27, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
Learning from Racism
I am mixed race, with a black father and white mother. When I was five or six, my father took me to the park. There was a little Caucasian girl already there, and we began to play on the swings. Suddenly, her mother called her back and began scolding her. The little girl walked back to me, head bowed. "My mommy says I can't play with you anymore." I was perplexed. "Why not?" She looked ready to cry. "Because your dad's black." We both started to cry. My dad, hearing this, picked me up and left quietly. That was the first experience I had with racism, and as a child, it upset me greatly. I'm sure it also affected that little girl greatly.
The next major racist experience, among several minor ones, was with a black power group at a store, the summer before college. Two men were in line behind me, banging their cart into me and hurling insults. When I went back behind them to grab another item, one said "Oh, excuse me" and moved aside. The other one started scolding him. "Why'd you talk to her so nice? She's half cracker! She's a mutt! You don't talk to mutts! You betrayin' the cause? You know [Black Power Group] says you can't talk to mutts!" They kept hitting me with the cart and mouthing insults and threats until I ran out, afraid, trying to get to my car and drive away before they came out behind me.
Needless to say, both of those experiences left me more than a little angry. But not bitter. Never bitter. More than anything, I realized racism was not only a white problem or a black problem, but a problem for all groups of people. I was sad that people still regarded each other as enemies solely based on skin color. But rather than sit there and complain about the bad things that happened, I tried to make it better in any way I could. I began hosting international festivals and get-togethers so people from different cultures could get to know and understand one another. I went to college and studied the issues behind racism in society, then went out and tried to LIVE diversity, to bring people together both at work and in my personal life. While I know it'll be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate racism, I believe that by each of us doing our part to eliminate it in our own lives and relationships, we can make a huge, huge dent in it. Learning from racism- and making a real difference- is well within our reach.