To those of you that support a man that's openly hateful toward people that aren't like him... Think of the women, disabled, Muslims, blacks, and multiracial people in your life. People you love, people you call friends; people you even call FAMILY. I'm not one to get super political, but this country does not need to take steps backwards. Steps that are further away from equality.
I'm not saying who to vote for. I'm not saying who should be president. What I am saying is that this country has taken some obvious wrong turns over racial issues recently as many people have been showing their true colors and hateful feelings toward others. It's sad, it's disgusting, and it's not right. There needs to be a change.
My little girl is not going to grow up in a world of hate and not once will I let her think for a second that her value or anyone else's value is lessened by the color of their skin, the God they pray to, or the disability that they did not choose. Life's about being a good person, a hard worker, and respecting others; that's where a person's value truly lies.
I can't say I 100% understand both "sides", but I can relate. Half of my family is white; German, Irish, French Canadian, English, etc. Half of my family is African American...well I'm assuming African... we have absolutely no idea where we originated from. When I asked my 94 year old grandmother, she said we're from North Carolina. I knew that, but I wanted to know more. Somewhere along the way our heritage, origins, and our original homeland got lost. That within itself is quite sad. Without much of a doubt, traced back far enough, someone in my family, if not multiple people in my family were stripped from their homeland against their will. Made to believe that their worth was much less because they were different, from another land, and anything but light-skinned.
To the best of my knowledge, I have never been denied a job opportunity because of the color of my skin, but my grandmother was and that hurts me to think that one of the sweetest, smartest, most hardworking women this world has ever seen was denied opportunity based on something that was completely irrelevant to her character. She worked multiple jobs to support her boys, one of those jobs she worked until she was just about 90 years old. She raised her boys up north in Newtown, CT. She knew it was safer than the segregated South. Looking through my father's old yearbooks, there were only three, maybe four black kids in town; two of which were my father and his brother.
In the 5th grade, a girl gave my father a small statue of a boy and his dog that read "black is beautiful". My grandmother did a damn good job of protecting her boys from racism in a town that accepted them. She was the den mother of the Cub Scouts and some of those boys, now men in their 60s still come to visit her. It didn't matter that they were black. It didn't matter that all their friends were white. What mattered was character; being a good person... it also didn't hurt that my grandmother was (and still is) the best cook in town. I've never seen someone get more cards in the mail than her around the holiday time. She's beloved by anyone that meets her and she steals the heart and stomach of anyone that tries her southern home cooking. She's been making a positive impact on others for almost 95 years because she's a good person, a hard worker, and she displays the epitome of respect.
This evening I was reading a blog post by Chris Boeskool entitled, "When You're Accustomed To Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression". It made more than a lot of sense. Chris wrote,
"Equality can feel like oppression. But it's not. What you're feeling is just the discomfort of losing a little bit of your privilege -- the same discomfort that an only child feels when she goes to preschool and discovers that there are other kids who want to play with the same toys as she does.
It's like an old man being used to having a community pool all to himself, having that pool actually opened up to everyone in the community, and then that old man yelling, "But what about MY right to swim in a pool all by myself?!"
And what we're seeing politically right now is a bit of anger from both sides. On one side, we see people who are angry about "those people" being let into "our" pool. They're angry about sharing their toys with the other kids in the classroom. They're angry about being labeled a "racist," just because they say racist things and have racist beliefs. They're angry about having to consider others who might be walking toward them, strangely exerting their right to exist.
On the other side, we see people who believe that pool is for everyone. We see people who realize that when our kids throw a fit in preschool, we teach them about how sharing is the right thing to do. We see people who understand being careful with their language as a way of being respectful to others. We see people who are attempting to stand in solidarity with the ones who are claiming their right to exist -- the ones who are rightfully angry about having to always move out of the way, people who are asking themselves the question, "What if I just keep walking?" Which kind of person are you?
Take a moment to think. Really think. As Chris asked, which kind of person are you? I ask, what kind of people do you want your children to be? Do you want to teach your children and the children around you love, compassion, respect, and equality? Or do you want to fuel the future of this country with hate, bigotry, and inequality?
I'm not a politician. I'm not a lawyer. But I am a woman--a multiracial woman, a mother, the sister of a man that has a disability, a daughter, a granddaughter, and depending on who you ask--many other things. Sickeningly and ignorantly, I've been told "well, you're not really black" hundreds of times, as if it's a compliment or a free pass from having to identify with half of my genetic make-up, as if some individuals still feel that "passing" is where it's at, as if it would truly change their life, my life, and our relationship if my skin was as dark as my father's. Pretty messed up if you think about it, huh?
All in all, I feel that I respect others, I work hard, and that I do my best to try to be a good person. I write for myself, to get my thoughts out of my mind and solidified. I don't know how many people will read this, but I'm hoping those who do will take a moment to remember to demonstrate respect, to work hard, and to make a valiant effort to be a good person.
To one of my aunts that refused to attend my parent's wedding because my dad is black; I know you've changed. You never hesitated to take care of my brother and I. You showed and continue to show us nothing but love.
To the elementary school classmate that angrily protested that my father "couldn't be my father because he's black"; I hope you've changed.
To my cousin's grandfather who wouldn't let his sweet wife, who has since passed, attend her grandson's birthday party because my black father and his half black children were supposed to be there; I hope you've changed.
To the boy in high school that repeatedly called me the N-word in my own backyard, in front of a group of peers, I see that you're now a state police officer... congratulations on your accomplishment; I pray to God you've changed.
To the guy in college that also repeatedly called me the N-word in front of a group of students at a party; you said you were sorry, I hope you meant it and I hope you've changed.
To the random woman that approached my mother when we were young, praising her for adopting "those two tan children with curls, especially the boy in the wheelchair"--adoption is beautiful, but my mother carried both of those swirl babies in her womb; I hope you've changed.
To my childhood self who, in an attempt to hide her naturally wild curls, continuously chemically straightened and flat-ironed her hair to "blend in" with classmates; I know you've changed.
To the Trayvon Martins of the world; there WILL be a change.
To the Donald Trumps of the world, in regard to how you treat others; you are the ones that NEED to change, nobody (with an actual heart) likes a bully.