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Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coming to terms with my reaction (Trayvon / Zimmerman)

As I have said before, I have been flabbergasted by my own reaction to the results of the Zimmerman trial.  I never expected to feel so deeply about something that I have pretty much felt relatively unattached to.  Sure, I began purchasing a different style of jacket/sweater for my son just over a year ago, but until the verdict was dropped, I felt pretty much removed from the issue.

Today, I read an article entitled racially profiled in Palm Beach. It made me say "oooooh... that's my problem."  I guess you want me to explain.

I have never felt inferior to anyone because of the color of my skin.  I may have been aware as a child that there were people who would judge me because of it, but it never bothered me.  I always told my self that I could educate and demonstrate my way out of any preconceived notion anyone could have about me.  That presumption was proven true when in college, my while classmates, and even some well meaning teachers would point out that I was "not like the others" (black people).  It was clearly meant as a compliment, and I rarely challenged anyone on that statement, I just filed it in the back of my mind that they were pretty much just ignorant about race, or haven't met nearly enough black people in their lives.

I set about educating myself, quite well, then I set about educating my children... quite well too.  I made a lot of personal sacrifices to make sure that my kids would stand head and shoulders above the crowd, be them white, or black.  I felt pretty confident that any preconceived notions anyone made about my kids would clearly be wisked away with a few words.  After all, they are clearly bright and well spoken.  Their education and brilliance would instantly shine through and they would not be lumped with the crowd... black or white.

Then the verdict was announced and I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach.  I realize now it was the clear message that besides educating my children and making sure they were smart, all of the effort really didn't matter to anyone outside of them.  In fact, when the stuff hit the fan, no one would even give them a chance to articulate their brilliance.. it would just be ON.  That made me really sad.

Case in point, a law professor was stopped in Palm Beach for riding his bike late at night... twice, by police who pretty much harassed him.  His crime. Nothing.  There had been crimes in the area, and he looked suspicious.  It didn't matter than he had about 8 years of college level study under his belt.  They just saw... him and what they felt he stood for, not what he had accomplished.

If only you could wear your achievements on your forehead...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Is Paula Dean really a racist villain?

Four years ago, I was in Los Angeles California for a pageant activity  my daughter was in.  We decided to take one of our free days and go see "Who's smarter than a 5th grader".  It was a celebrity edition.  One celebrity was a racer.  The other was Paula Dean.

Long story short... Paula Dean was not smarter than a 5th grader.  I doubt she was smarter than a 2nd grader.  But she was charming, and self-depricating in a way that made her endearing to the crowd.  I suspect it is that personality that has propelled her through her career and made a celebrity "chef".

I am very sad about the current pickle she has found herself in.  She has been tagged as a blatant racist and many of the same people who have built her up over the years are now tearing her down.  As a black person, I am usually pretty offended by racism when it shows up in the media and in people who are supposed to be role models.  Paula Dean is a great example that you can be lower than low and pull yourself up and accomplish anything.  Now she is an example that if you make one mistake, you will find yourself back in the gutter.

My kids and I talk about racism from time to time.  I have taught them that there are people in this world who are color blind and don't even notice race.  Then there are people in this world who are racist and have no idea that they are... you know- they have black friends and all.  Then there are those who make no bones about being racist.  I believe that if Paula Dean is in fact racist, she may be the type that has no idea.  Unfortunately, she was probably raised in family that made no bones about it.

It's too bad really.  I feel really bad for her.  I pray that she can use this incident to speak out against racial bias and misconceptions.  Heck, if Martha Stewart can go to jail and come out still in full swing of her career, than hopefully Paula Dean can take a few lumps and make something good of it.