I grew up racist. I didn’t understand why. It took me well into adulthood to figure that out. My parents were good people. They raised their children with values. They never talked badly about the black people in our town. We also had some Italians and I heard other people call them Wops and Puerto Ricans were called Spics. There were no Hispanics. No Mexican food. Not even a taco. Looking back I can see that segregation and the lack of blacks and whites mixing socially caused my racism. I was scared to death of black people and there was no one who talked to anyone about this divide.
I grew up in Pa in the 50’s thru the early 70’s then left to go to school. My town had a clear line and white families lived on one side and black families on the other. I learned many years ago that black families couldn’t secure home loans on my side of the line. I remember hearing if a black family were to move into the neighborhood property values would go down because those people don’t take care of their homes and would trash them. “Just take a look at how they live.” But they didn’t own the homes they lived in. They rented from white landlords who felt little need to keep their properties in good shape. They had approval from the government.
I read an article on Moorbay’s Blog, about the fairly recent history of the last 100 years of housing segregation that forced black families to live in substandard housing. Read this article for yourself and learn. It caused me to respond with this post.
I came from a lower income family who didn’t live in the best part of town. My parents worked hard to provide a good home. There was an empty I’ve cream factory across the street and a big park a half block away. Often in the summer black children wanted to play at the park and had to walk through white neighborhoods to get there. They walked down my street. Not my side of the street but stayed close to the factory. They were as scared of us as we were of them. We didn’t call to each or attempt to make friends. I had never touched a black person and wondered if their skin felt like mine. I wanted to feel their hair. There was no effort to bring the people together. When I say, no effort, I mean absolutely none, ever.
Today many white parents are raising their children to be racist. Maybe not overtly, but by comments inserted into conversations that put white people on a rung that black people don’t deserve, so white kids learn in subtle ways that they are better than others. These kids grow up saying things like, “I’m not a racist, but . . .” and go on to say something disparaging about that race, be it black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Guatamalen, Honduran and many more. White is superior in their minds.
Today these kids are recruited on college campuses. Kids repeat what they hear and some become violent adults, like shooting at a teenager who knocked on your door for directions, and the man was a retired firefighter who saved people. A man who lied and said his gun went off accidentally. He couldn’t take responsibility for his actions.
After all this time how can this racism be continually perpetuated and not understood it is wrong. Everyone is human. No one is a superior human. Humanity comes from inside. It doesn’t come from skin color. We all know this so why do we continue to say, “I’m not racist, but . . .”
Since Trump, the rise of hate crimes has become staggering. People can openly hate now and the President of this country has called them ‘good people’ and mocks people of color. They use his show of support at their white nationalist rallies. Any race other than white is disgusting and inferior to this deeply flawed man. White people all over America are sucking it up like babies to a breast. It is nauseating to me.
Last night my ten year old granddaughter needing a shower said, “At least I don’t smell like a Mexican.” That quickly got my attention. We had talked before about racism and racist comments but she had trouble understanding how she had slandered an entire race of people with her remark. Mexicans stink. “I didn’t mean that!” she said. I told her, “Maybe not, but that is what you said.”
My son works at a boat marina. Hot, sweaty, dirty, smelly work; a mixed race of workers. They joke among themselves calling each other names. They know they’re joking in good nature. My granddaughter overheard. She wasn’t trying to be disparaging but needed to learn if she used that among school friends how wrong it was to say that.
So many of today’s children are rude, undisciplined, smart mouthed and think they have a right to backtalk and argue and cuss at you. It is what they learn at home. Many parents are not teaching their children right from wrong. New racists of all ages are being raised thinking white people should be dominant – because their parents taught them that. I fear it will get much worse.
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