EbonyGentleman just missed the boat on AverageNation Week™ but he's back to give his unique take on "post-racial" America. As usual, show our guest some love.]
Living as a citizen in postracial America is wonderful. People are coming together in droves. Inter-racial dinners and get togethers are the hottest things since the invention of the wheel. Churches are no longer segregated. Barbershops and Beauty Shops are no longer segregated. There are Unity parades down Main Street every Saturday, where folks of all races and ages sing "We Are Family" and hold hands.
My local Civitan and Rotary Clubs have exploded in memberships of "minorities." In fact, the term "minority" no longer exists in the context of what we once knew it.
Even taboos and stereotypes among the races have fallen into a positive embrace.
Inter-racial marriage-- once the last bastion of racism has become the norm. Now everyone wants a "Golden Child". Blacks and Whites are even having public orgies, consuming endless amounts of fried chicken and Mountain Dew while baby making on their front lawn.
Man, that Obama guy really has CHANGED a lot of things!!!
This is a grand oppurtunity for folks of different backgrounds to explore and communicate. As I live and breathe in the South today, things still seem to progress more slowly than in other places. I could be wrong about that though.
Working in the public, I'm constantly reminded about how people may perceive me. I try to live by the Golden Rule. To treat and speak to people as if my Mother was looking over my shoulder. I want to live honorably. I want to respect people no matter how they may treat me. It's tough sometimes but someone HAS to take the lead and be the kind of human being we can be if we let ourselves.
When I was a young kid, I had a pal in school named Wendy. She was a young white girl who was very friendly to me. We used to study for tests over the phone and score straight A's in class. Our friendship was kind of unusual for the time and place, but in the 80's kids were encouraged to intermingle. We would be the embodiment of Martin Luther King's "Dream". Black kids and White kids having some fun together voluntarily.
Our teachers may not have believed that mantra themselves, coming out of the Civil Rights movement, but for the majority of the kids that was the norm. However, this is the South, where social progress lags behind.
Then again, I could wrong about that.
Wendy and I continued to be pals on the phone until one day, her mother told her that she could no longer talk to me on the wire. I didn't understand why all of a sudden things had changed. I was only seven years old, and I was just getting used to mastering the use of that "Rotary" phone thingy.
Needless to say I was hurt. My mom found out about it and gave me "the speech". She knew why Wendy's mom gave me the boot. It wasn't because I was a troublemaker, far from that. It was obvious what it was about. It was my first "Negro Wake Up Call."
I don't know if anyone else has had to endure an experience like that. In spite of the sudden lack of phone access, Wendy showed some true character. She still remained a friend to me thoughout the later years of school. I now have her as a friend on MySpace. The last time I saw Wendy some years ago, I told her how much I cared for her as a friend. I even told her that I loved and respected her.
Wendy never let that experience back then affect how she felt about me. She could have caved into her Mom's pressure and cut me off completely. That experience could have molded her mind into becoming predjudiced against any and all minorities, but it didn't. She showed me that racism is a choice you make, not a normality.
So today, whenever a White person looks past me with disdain or a "redneck" refuses to acknowledge that I even exist when I greet them...I think of Wendy. She is the kind of person that Dr. King dreamed of.
Wendy was post-racial before the term even existed.
Your Friend Forever,
Question: When was your first "wake up call" on racism? Did your parents ever talk to you about the subject? How do you deal with people who act in that manner?