Forgive me as it has been ages since I last posted. My excuse is that I have been living life. This morning's post will definitely be a rambling and will touch on a topic that some may find uncomfortable and many may find disagreement with me. I will eventually tie it into our family as that is what I blog. Hmmm...can blog be used as a verb?
I have been on this Earth since Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States (wow); however, my first recollection of any President is of President Richard Nixon.
We have currently just entered our historical second term of the U.S. Presidency. Historic because it is the first time a black man has been elected to the office of President of the United States, not once but twice, to the dismay of many. Technically, President Obama is half white via his mother and half African via his father; and to those of us from Hawai'i, he is our local boy, who made good!
Take a moment to look at what I just said...Historic, historic because a black man has finally been elected President of the United States. Isn't that sad? Over 200 years before the people of this country could accept a black man as our leader. What does that say about us? Need I point out that many people still cannot accept this man, this black man as our President.
I have never in my life seen such hate, contempt and venom spew out of people's mouths as when referring to our current President. What has become of us, when a person feels it is completely acceptable to post on social media how disgusted they are to see Michelle Obama on the television, and then continue to degrade her by commenting on how she looks? One thing that my father (whose parents emigrated from Italy) taught me is that you respect the office of the Presidency, even if you do not like the person or his politics. Let me tell you, there have been past Presidents that I did not like, but I did not cross the line by speaking derogatorily about he or his wife...just the politics ma'am!
We are still a racist society. There I said it. And please do not tell me I am "pulling the racist card," as my ass is lily white as is the rest of me. Racism is not just burning a cross on the lawn of a black family or "separate, but equal" nor sitting at the back of the bus. I see racism in many of the comments posted everyday on Facebook (among other places) about the First Family. Racism is when you (a white person) are not comfortable in the presence of a black person, or having a black supervisor. Racism is when a white woman becomes fearful when she finds herself alone with a black man. Racism is wondering why black people cannot just act "white." Racism is thinking that black Americans have the same educational opportunities as white Americans. Racism is referring to our President as a monkey. Racism is when your Godparents move out of a neighborhood when a black family moves in. Racism is when your good friend gets upset at the site of an interracial couple holding hands walking down the street. Racism is when the Native American owner of a restaurant refuses service to a white woman. Yes, racism is equal opportunity.
Now, as promised, I will bring this back to our family.
My brother, who was in the U.S. Air Force, was stationed in Mississippi in the early 1970's. He told me that at that time when he, an 18 year old white male, was walking down the street and came upon a black male (even older black men), that black man would cross the street to the opposite side. Older black gentlemen would address my 18 year old brother as "sir!"
Unfortunately, not much has changed. We were stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi from 2001-2004. These were the three longest years of my life. For the first time in their lives, my children were confronted with prejudice and racism. Until this point, they did not even know the meaning of these words. I am not joking, nor am I lying. My children are half Asian; and for the first time, not only did they witness racism, but they personally experienced it as well. I will not go into details; but let me just say, they experienced "subtle" racism, which even they could recognize. The majority of this came from one neighbor, who incidentally, referred to black children as "little monkeys." Before I get angry email from those of you who live in Mississippi, I know that not everyone in Mississippi behaves in this manner. We met many pleasant people and made some great friends, not to mention that I have a family member who was born and raised in Mississippi, and she is definitely not racist.
Still, I also have a white friend who is married to a black man from Mississippi. For the sake of his mother, she will not go with him to visit her for fear of any repercussions to her mother-in-law.
It has been 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, 148 years since the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, 143 years since the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and 49 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Where do we go from here?