The Day That I Started To Understand Racism

IMG_8342It was a hot June day in 2011. My wife and I had been parents for just four days.

I suppose by this time I had become pretty settled with the idea that America as a whole had shifted away from the “real” experience of racism of a previous generation. Blacks were serving as CEO’s, excelling in higher education, and had even been elected POTUS. Sure. Racism reared its head from time to time in ugly episodes, but I thought that most perceived racism was just leftover from the tensions of another era.

We chose an unusual path to parenthood, in part because we took seriously the call of the Scripture to care for orphans. We became foster parents with the intent of eventually adopting. We had marked on a form that we were open to children of any race, but I don’t think we understood how significant that would be for our lives. So when they called us to receive our first child into our home, our concerns about becoming parents were much greater than our concerns about becoming a bi-racial family. (Rightfully so, parenting still seems more difficult to me than having a bi-racial family.)

Our first weekend together we were on our way to a birthday party and had to stop to get a last minute addition to our gift. We had to stop at a store that was in a town not far from our own. That town had a long and well-known history of racism. So as we got out of the car to walk into the store, I began to run scenarios through my head. What might I do if someone in this store makes a racist remark to this boy that has been given to my care? Should I just ignore it as if the comments don’t matter? Surely I cannot let that be OK for my new son. Should I confront the racist jerk and tell them how ludicrous their comments are? I couldn’t imagine what I might say. Would I just respond with violence and stand up against injustice? That didn’t seem like a Christian response and no one likes to go to jail.

It took a couple days before I realized the significance of that shopping run. For the first time in my life, I had a sense for what it was like everyday for my black friends. They regularly have to make decisions about whether they will defend their honor and stand up to racism or shrink back again from the threat of violence and its consequences.

The instances of violent responses are the only ones that we hear about in the news. But every trip to the store in “that part of town” results in our black friends wondering if today will be the day that they will face a decision about their response. It’s no surprise to me that some people respond with violence when faced with the choice of having their dignity stripped or acting out on their own behalf. That doesn’t excuse violence but it does explain it.

(The best response that I have seen to this article comes from an African woman that recounts her experiences of hatred and fear while regularly running through her white Georgia town. If you want to hear more about how one act of racism creates the fear of another, then her story is a good one.)

It’s true that racism in our country does not mean that people of color won’t be hired for any job. We no longer need bus boycotts and lunch counter sit-ins.

For those of us for whom thinking about race is an optional matter, we have to be very careful about touting the advances in racial matters. Things are better than they were even a generation ago. But the realities are still there. I don’t think we can continue to pretend that racism is only “really” racism when someone is starving, being killed, or being enslaved. My friend, Pastor Jon Robinson, said it like this:

Privilege not only causes white people to miss instances of racism but it causes them to think they get to set the terms or parameters for what constitutes racism as well. For example; situations that can universally be understood as racist like a blatant hate crime, are “in bounds.” But anything that’s not as obvious is dismissed and those who attempt to shed light on less obvious forms of racism get accused of race baiting or, my personal favorite, playing the race card. Which essentially means that if it’s not obviously racist to a white person then it’s not racist.

Race is a complicated matter. The most important thing that I can tell my white friends is that racism is different when you experience it than when you think about it. As long as your reflections upon race and its consequences come from textbooks and muted conversations over coffee, you will not know the realities of racism. Can you imagine walking in fear or anxiety every day of your life? How would it change you? How has it already changed so many young men and women?

Pastor Robinson said that these anxieties aren’t even the worst part of subtle racism. He says, “The frustration and pain of not having my perspective taken seriously or feeling like I have to defend my position all the time, is even more of a problem than living in fear and making the kinds of choices you describe. I spend almost every day feeling like I have to fight to the death to be heard, seen and respected.” I’m not surprised that these are almost the exact same words that I hear from women in the church time and again. We cannot continue to silence these voices.

If these questions cannot be resolved in a heady conversation, then it seems that there is at least one other path: the way of experience. We began to understand racism because we had a chance to experience its possibility along with our son. You too can “experience” racism. If you already have friends of color that will trust you to tell you some of their stories and experiences of racism, then ask them to share. If you don’t, then these Lenten Disciplines are a great way to start decentering your own experience for the sake of another. In the end, nothing will replace an emotional connection with the real suffering of our neighbors of color. You only get that through relationship.

This isn’t the only thing that we learned from raising our son (that we gladly adopted last year). We also have learned that parents that want the most for their children are often faced with a dilemma (even when they have the means to make educational choice) about whether they will give their kids a school environment that is supportive of their identity. Or shall we choose a school where lots of children look like him and he can learn about being black in America? Usually the schools with large African-American populations are struggling and under-resourced. Do I use the means that are within my reach to send him to a school with opportunity that will ensure that he has very few friends that look like him? Is that somehow better? The thing that I’m learning here is that racial minorities have to ask questions that majority populations get the privilege of ignoring. I still don’t know all the questions that I need to be asking.

I think that I can also straightforwardly say that African-Americans treat me differently when they see me with my son. I don’t know how to explain the boundary that exists between many (BUT NOT ALL) black and white persons. But somehow seeing me with my son helps me get past that boundary many times. This makes me think that there may be other ways to overcome this distance. And that may be what is required if white persons in America are to begin to understand racism.

I’ve written a follow up to this very popular post:
You Aren’t Racist, But You Make Racism Possible

For more about the adoption of my son, see: The Most Important Action for Pro-Life Christians: Foster and Adopt

Don’t miss the comment section below. There are some great remarks that give some different perspective. After more than 300 comments, I’ve now closed commenting on this post. While much of the dialogue was constructive, some of the comments near the end were the result of trolling and name-calling. Those have been removed. Those that cannot dialogue civilly have every right under the Constitution to say hateful and uncivil things. But they do not have a right to do so on my blog, which I hope to be a mark of civility.

I recommend Willie Jenning’s recent book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race for an account of how Christians are implicated in racial prejudice and how Christian thought provides a way forward.

Related Posts: Double Standards, Women, and the Church – Part 2
Griselda Was Raped At 13 Years Old & Her Story Is Not Unusual: #LocustEffect

Comments

  1. Shirley Onyango says

    Thank you Rev. Gibbs for being conscious to the plight of the African Americans experience, as it relates to race and racism.

    Racism in any form are obstacles that black men and boys must navigate through daily. As a black women I am concern of the stereotype that pelage our men. I believe it’s my duty to arm our children with knowledge in order for them to survive and not fall victim to the trap of racism.

    Unfortunately, the odds are stack up against them. As a result we continue to witness the Treyvon Martins stories add up. The names are different yet the stories are similar (Walking while Black, Driving while Black,Listening to music while Black).

    I am thankful to God, that you can see these obstacles and are taking the necessary steps to equip yourself with knowledge. Thanking for sharing your story it has been a blessing to me.
    I pray that God continue to bless you and your ministry.

  2. says

    Wow. This awesome. It feels good to know that some of our white brothers and sisters can understand what black people and people of color in general go through sometimes. This is how we will move past the social construct of race. By acknowledging the struggles and challenges racism presents and creating an environemnt that is equal for all. 🙂 Thanks for the post.

  3. says

    There will always be some sort of racism in this world, because of idiots that will never understand there is one Father, The Heavenly Father and one race, The Human Race.

  4. susyc says

    Garbage in, garbage out, the old computer programming term is appropriate here. Society, environment, the way we are raised, all of these and more have a way of injecting thoughts, beliefs and attitudes into human beings. We shove the thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that make us feel bad about ourselves down into our unconscious. Then we project them out into the world without awareness. Before I knew I was a racist, I couldn’t do anything about it. Before I knew I was an ageist, a sexist, a homophobic, a person who hated fat people, I couldn’t do anything about it. I don’t want to be these things, but in order to not be these things I have to acknowledge first that I am these things; I have to look at how I have allowed these thoughts, beliefs and attitudes cause harm to those around me, I have to repent and amend to put a Christian spin on it. I can’t do that unless I am willing to own my own behavior, to look at my thoughts and feelings honestly, to see myself as I truly am, not how I might wish to be.

  5. says

    Rev. Gibbs,

    Though I appreciate your post, and your subsequent beginning to understanding racism…there is one major aspect missing from your response. You mention that the store is in “a town that had a long and well-known history of racism.” That “every trip to the store in ‘that part of town’ results in our black friends wondering if today will be the day that they will face a decision about their response.” Why in the world are you still patronizing them? I wonder, if that store was known for atheism…or pornography, or owned by a registered sex-offender…would you still go there? Why would you put your black foster son into a potentially volatile environment?

    One of the greatest lessons I can offer to people trying to understand racism, is 1) Ending it often means making an economic stand toward the racist; and 2) The choices you make are crucial to determine on what side of the line you fall.

    Peace and blessings,

    M

    • says

      one problem is that most white parents and all the school systems across America are not teaching the true and complete history of blacks in America. if you ask most white people they have no clue about African American history. if most whites had there way, slavery would be swept under the rug and forgotten about and pretend it didnt happen. the young people of today…black and white… have no respect for the civil rights movement, affirmative action, black colleges, b.e.t.. and etc because nobody has taught them why these came to be. the school system teaches very little about black history especially…in the suburbs. why do we need black history month? because the other 11 months is all white history with footnotes on other races. Slavery is the root of the racism in America. Slavery didn’t form from racism but racism formed from slavery. it is in the blood of the white man to look down on the black man and see us as a “lesser being”. I believe that the “Willie Lynch Letters” should be mandatory reading prior to graduating from high school in all schools. I didn’t get to read the Lynch letters until I was 30 yrs old…but it completely changed they way I treat, think, and feel about my fellow brothers

  6. sc0ness says

    I thought your article was very insiteful. As many Americans, I consider myself an “American mutt” – one who comes from a blend of ethnic backgrounds. My mom was born and raised in Puerto Rico. My dad is from Ohio and is English, Irish, and German. I was born in PR and moved to the US with my family as a very young toddler (a very long time ago). Puerto Ricans come in about every shade of the skin tone rainbow; from paperwhite (like my mom) to piano-key-ebony and every shade in between. Back in the day, my mother had to deal with racism toward Puerto Ricans, and was determined that my brother and I would be brought up “color blind” when it came to people. We are all God’s children and Jesus died for everyone. God looks upon the heart, and that’s how we’re supposed to see each other.

    My introduction on what racism was like was when I went to college. No, it’s not what you think. It was a Christian college and I was invited by one of my hall-mates to check out a student touring choir called the Evangelistics. I ended up loving it and joined as the only white girl in the gospel choir. There were blacks and hispanics, but I am lily paper white. The sun laughs at me when I try to tan. Needless to say, I stood out like a glow worm. But I am thankful that the choir members looked at me as a child of God – just like them. I wasn’t known as “the white girl” but as a soprano. When we toured to churches in TN and GA I sometimes got double takes, but once the singing started – that’s all that mattered. We were there to glorify God.

    I’ll never know exactly what it’s like for my brothers and sisters, but I know that I made sure that I raised my own children to be color blind, too. And now I will not assume, as you did, that racism is primarily a thing of the past. God’s been using some new friends to let me know that’s not the case. We all need to keep fighting the battle for all colors and genders.

    • says

      I appreciate and respect your perspective. However, I want to add this thought from my own experience … I’ve had colleagues who would say to me that they were colorblind and <I don't see you as Black". I respect their intent, but not seeing my race means you don't see an important part of who I am.

      • Jim says

        What does that mean? No really. Do you want people to assume some stereotype about you? Yes, your skin color and your ethnicity is obviously part of who you are but beyond that what do you want people take from these characteristics? I understand what you are saying but I think there is a danger of tieing your identity too closley to your race or else don’t be surprised if someone mistakenly assumes an aspect about you that you might not want. To identify yourself in Christ is to transcend your other attributes and aspire to something greater. To identify yourself as a sinner allows you to empathize with other sinners. So answer this: to identify yourself as your race…

      • Monica says

        I understand and agree with you OpenlyBlack. I think it’s a nice sentiment of people to say “I don’t see color”, but my first thought is, are you blind. The next thought is, I want you to see my color and all that it means to the history of our great nation. “Jim Says” my “color” has a phenomenal history in this nation and not to see it, means not to acknowledge that history. And please, don’t lecture Black people or any other people, for that matter, on identity. It’s rude.

      • Glenn says

        Or understand just how significant that fact that you regard as de minimis is to how i am seen in the world and therefore how it informs my uinderstanding of who i am.

      • Martha says

        Exactly. I was raised to be color-blind. In fact this was widely taught in the era in which i was raised, that this was the way to fight racism. I embraced that as a child with all my heart because I deeply care and want to fight racism. It was only in recent years, after moving to a truly multi-cultural community where I learned abut privilege and saw how my good intentions were denying the massively different lived experience of everyone who wasn’t white.

      • Martha says

        Also, a reply to Jim above. Jim, seeing color doesn’t mean assuming any assumptions. In fact, what it means is that you do exactly the opposite – you check you own assumptions of what’s normal and natural, constantly.

      • says

        I’ve told my black friends, of course I see that you are black. How could I miss that? And to pretend that I don’t see your color is to say that I believe there is something wrong with you being black. And I don’t, so why would I deny noticing? Silly thing, that is.

      • Jim says

        @Martha I completely agree with you. We should check our assumptions i.e. we should never assume something about a person based on what they look like. What I’m arguing is to appreciate a persons culture or history means to get to know them. Just because someone is of a certain race does not mean they share the same culture or experiences as others in their race. We do live in a multicultural society. So much so that the individuals of a race do not necessarily share the same culture as their race. Where you live and or where you were raised dictate more of who you are than your ethnicity.

        @Monica If you want me to see your “color” I undoubtedly will as i agree with you but if you want me to assume things about you or your past that may or may not be true I can’t do that. I accept you for who you say you are and how you present yourself. As for Black history, absolutely, it is not just Black history but American history and explains where we are today in our culture. As for lecturing people on identity, I mean no offense but only want to stress you are whoever you want to be. Some things we can’t change about ourselves but we can choose what we believe about ourselves.

      • says

        Thanks for saying that. I have a son-in-law who is black. He doesn’t have much family so often he is the only black person in a large family. I don’t try to pretend he is not black and when I have questions about what it feels like for him, I ask. We have a good open conversation. I don’t sense any tension so I think we’re doing well. Our granddaughter is bi-racial. I do want her proud of herself and her father. So color matters bc it matters to most people. I’m glad to see the conversation and to continue the conversation with my SIL. We have had some problems when we go out to different places, he doesn’t want to go bc he thinks he may encounter problems, we (my husband and I) want to face these challenges head on but it may be as Christians he is having a lot more angst about it than just facing the problem but in HOW do we do this as a Christian family and leave with a great testimony and not hard feelings and painful encounters. Lots of things to consider here. God bless, andrea

      • says

        I understand what she means, threes a difference between saying “I don’t see race/ I’m color blind” and “the color of your skin doesn’t change my protective of you or how I treat you”. It is impossible to be color blind, to even bring it up shows you aren’t.

      • says

        Just because someone says they are color blind doesn’t mean they do not see your actual color. It’s just their way of saying that your color does not make any difference. If one is not blind then of course they can see what color you are.

      • Camille says

        Jim-since ALL of us are made in His image-I would NOT equate idenity-as a sin. African Americans have had to a more difficult time with tracking ancestry-most documentation if any)can identify one’s family-to a certain extent-once the slave had entered his/her new home. I would saybthat the ‘sin’ is the body-it encompasses……..

      • Camille says

        @Jim says, seeing a person’s ethnicity does not equal attaching assumptions and stereotypes to him or her.
        My ethnicity and heritage are important to me. I was taught my family’s history; taught to be proud of all that came together to make me. I am Irish, Black, Native American and Boriqua. When people see me, they see those parts of me. I’m happy about that. Each of my ethnicities has a negative stereotype or two; none of which reside in me.
        People can appreciate or at the very least acknowledge the cultures of others and get to know people on their own merit.
        Racism exists due to lack of knowledge, ingrained and unfounded fear as well as entitlement. Erase these things, not the rich heritages of many cultures and there can be growth in the right direction.

      • says

        Absolutely agree. Color blind to me means I willfully ignore or underappreciate the differences we may have in culture instead of embracing the rich history you may have as an ethnicity generally if you identify as black, Asian, Indian…. or your family specifically. I know it’s their way of saying I’m not a racist, but it’s not necessary to say. And it’s a bit of a micro aggression.

      • Mel says

        Jim I think the point you missed about being born black, and raised in a black family is that we are made aware of what has happened, and what could happen, as a result of someone that may not like who we are, just because of how we look. Not one time are we taught to hate, just to understand the world we live in. I have a friend that told me they don’t see color, they love me for me. Ok, well after getting to know me, and my family in particular, she understood what I meant when I said, see my color, and understand the adversity that I have to face sometimes, the hardships. Some people won’t believe just how much petty stuff goes on. I am 31 and til this day, I can walk in a store, and not one person will speak, acknowledge my presence or anything, next 2 customers, white of course, hello, welcome to wherever. I brush it off. Went to Olive Garden, the waitress was beyond, I mean nasty, just rude. I had to calm my fiancee down, even though he is a mellow black man. And I know she purposely was acting that way, because I sat there and watch her whole demeanor change each and every time she went to her other tables. And I watched her give the same attitude when she was serving the young black couple across from us. Now I could have made a big issue, but I just said I want to pay for the food and go, because the next thing someone would have said, oh she is just an angry black woman with an attitude, another stereotype. Someone must have noticed, because a manager came to our table and asked us was everything alright, I said no, I just want to go. We only had to pay for our appetizers and drinks, he already knew what her problem was. He said, I didn’t have to say a word, we have had complaints that she may have offended you all, and we are not a business that tolerates racism. I didn’t even have to say a word. I got in the car, and just wanted to cry, because we didn’t deserve that, we are nice people, hardworking, fun loving, will help anyone in this world, and for some reason the issue with race is becoming more and more blatant as the day passes. I am not sure what happened in society over these last few years, but enough is enough. I am frustrated that I can’t find any records past my Great Great Grandma, who was born in 1874. This has become a family task with my cousins and I. But we won’t stop until we get what we are looking for. I say all that to say this, see me, see a strong black woman, know we have struggles that are out of our control. Our lives are not as peachy and nice as many others. I get tired of the dumb looks, the I can’t believe she is buying that, I can’t believe she works here, I can’t believe she has that car, I can’t believe she has a Mother and a Father, I can’t believe she is here look. I was born in 1982 and I am tired of it. My parents are 65 and 55, and are so humble. I hate to hear about how they lived back in the day, but they aren’t and don’t act like victims of anything, even though the things they say make them sound like they should be. I had someone tell me one time, go back to Africa, well if you can tell me what country in Africa my family came from, maybe we would have a long time ago. But to say that is like a insult to all the slaves that built this country up. Why do people say that anyway, Africa is a continent, there are so many countries in Africa, I don’t understand why people say that. This land was occupied by nomads, indians, that only became such, because they migrated from Africa. So when people say that I wonder, do you even read books, beyond what they teach you in school? I feel for my babies, as much as I wouldn’t want them to know the ugly truth about some people here, I have to prepare them the same way my parents prepared me, and how they were too. My fiancee? Forget about it, he has no record, but has been stopped by police more times in his life than anyone I know, for no reason, its always you look suspicious, let me see your id, where are you going, who do you know around here. That is why he no longer lives in NYC. To not see color is the same thing as saying we will not admit that black people still have a hard time here in this Nation. So please see and understand the struggle, maybe you could convince someone to stop the hate and ignorance that still exist, because I am tired of it

      • says

        You make a great point. In hiring I’ve heard people say, I don’t see color and when all 500 employees are hired, 496 are white. Please see color.

      • says

        Maybe, you are taking it the wrong way or reading too much into it. My husband and I are from different races and we don’t see color, we see each other as two human beings who love each other in-spite of our different backgrounds and have the love of God in us. He created us all in the likeness of Him. I think we all make too much out of things that really don’t matter, instead of keeping our eyes on “GOD.”

      • says

        @Mel said it all!!! To say that a Black person should not embrace their racial and ethnic identity shows your privilege, @Jim. The privilege to go about your business and not have anyone second guess you simply because you are a White Man. You can go to the store and not be followed suspiciously and to be greeted warmly. You can drive a nice car and not get pulled over because you are driving a nice car. Rent an apartment or buy a home without being given a higher rent or interest rate, simply because of your race, or for that matter, your gender. You can do pretty much do any legal, and, in some instances, illegal activity and not look ‘suspicious’ in doing so or be questioned. So, please don’t go telling someone that they should not embrace their racial and ethnic identity.

    • Martha says

      Hi, Sc0ness, I appreciate the beautiful motives behind your behavior. I was taught something very similar growing up. read my comments below. I think once you begin to have these conversations and hear the remarks of people of color (like OpenlyBlack, below), you will see that you can continue to embrace not judging color while acknowledging the very different experience that people of color have which profoundly affects their lives and well-being.

      • marjokaye says

        I LOVE the fact that so many people responded to this! Yes, being black is a part of who you are. It does not mean however, that you shouldn’t be surprised when someone stereotypes you. That’s insane to even say! So if I’m black and I embrace my blackness I shouldn’t be offended when someone is shocked that I can conjugate a verb correctly? Well, it happened to me and I was shocked, because wanting someone to fully understand who I am (black and all) does not give them the right to assume I am a made up character on tv. I am an individual no matter what and I am so glad to see so many other people here that can truly understand that and appreciate it in the people they meet.

      • marjokaye says

        I forgot to say, thank you Martha for stepping outside your comfort zone and looking at something from different perspective. That takes guts.

    • Anonymous says

      Why would ethno-racially marginalized groups want their group identity to be “seen”? Why is colorblindness compatible with white supremacy and privilege? Critical race theorists have been been analyzing and publishing in responses to these questions for decades. You might look in to that.

    • says

      I am Puerto Rican and my husband is African American. I was born in the United States and so was my husband. When we started dating, mixed couples were not as common as they are now. We got stared at and talked about behind our backs and sometimes even to our faces. The looks and talking went both ways. Some were disgusted that my husband had married outside his race and some assumed I was an illegal in the United States. When our son was born he became darker than me but lighter than my husband. He has my texture hair but if he lets it grow out it curls like his dads. There was a attempted kidnapping in our area and the offender looks just like our son, according to sketches posted. We have always told our son to be careful because we don’t want him mistaken for someone else. Thankfully he has proof of where he was at the time of the incident. We face racial slurs and odd looks where ever we go. We have used these incidents to teach our children (we have 2 girls who are older also) how to react and handle these situations. I always pray that some day we can all look upon each other as human beings and GOD’S children, instead of black, white, hispanic, indian, ect.

      • La Toya says

        I live Trinidad and I am always surprised to hear about the problems mixed couples face elsewhere. Here it’s no big deal really, very commonplace. Sometimes even celebrated, because many see the mixing of the races as a way of ending the racism that does still exist in our society today. I myself am descended from African, Indian, Chinese and White ancestry, and though I identify generally as black I am proud of my diverse heritage.

    • Anna Stephens says

      As a minister wife in the United Methodist Church I must say and agree with you that racism is well alive and kicking. My husband and I are African American’s, my husband was raised in Los Angelos California, and I was raised in Germany by way of Jamaica my native country. I learned about race when I first moved to Germany in the Early 80s’, but I really learned about race when I married my husband and moved to the United States of America. Long story short race only exsist when a hate crime or for example the Donalad Sterling case, however if you want to really to experience and hear about racism put appoint and African American senior pastor to and all white church and hear the back-door comments whooooweee!…. Having been raised in a very diverse culture I am very tolerance racism because I was being told to my face I was a nigger, but the racism here in America is something that i cannot wrap my head around……

    • Anisha says

      First off…I enjoyed the article. Second I couldn’t find how to post my comment except under someone else’s comment…I guess my smartphone isn’t that smart…

      I think we as people forget that we all are imperfect beings. We forget that we are by nature flawed.

      I don’t mind you looking at me and forming a general opinion… we are human we make assessments… it’s our nature…it’s when we act on the assessments without basis we encounter problems. It’s OK to think you know…or have an idea…it’s when you Know you know we start to have problems.

      I loved the quote from the Pastor. If people (in particular the group of people not being offended ) do not deem it obvious than it doesn’t exist…I think that quote summarized it all for me.

      As long as people are different or the same we will have some form of social distinction…once again we are humans that’s our nature… (in general)…the real danger is when we don’t acknowledge and address our human nature.

      I’ve also enjoyed the comments. Good discussions!

  7. says

    This was a very good article. I appreciate the thought that was put in it. Because what people of color see is that the white Christians are some of the most racist people. It’s amazing to me and other. You wonder what Bible are they reading, where do they go church and who is their Pastors. I learn more a bout racism toward Black Men, mot from my Husband, he never talked about it. But learn from my son, and how he was treated and how we had tell how to conduct if he was stopped by the police. He couldn’t understand because he was raise well, an Honor student etc. but that life in American. Now he’s an Engineer married with his own son. I hope we don’t to tell our grandson, no matter how good you are , you not good enough because you’re a little Black Boy

    • Martha says

      Not only people of color see that, many white people also see that. I believe if the church was taking the lead on true social justice awareness and compassion, (like the new Pope, for instance), religion would not be declining as it is. What thoughtful, loving person wants to be associated with judgment, pride and bigotry?

    • S Paris says

      Being white is not a privilege. That comment in and of itself says volumes about why racial interactions are as they are.

      • JoAnn says

        Thank you for pointing that out. The only privilege of a human being, is to be Christ like. Now this my friends is a privilege and honor.

  8. says

    one problem is that most white parents and all the school systems across America are not teaching the true and complete history of blacks in America. if you ask most white people they have no clue about African American history. if most whites had there way, slavery would be swept under the rug and forgotten about and pretend it didnt happen. the young people of today…black and white… have no respect for the civil rights movement, affirmative action, black colleges, b.e.t.. and etc because nobody has taught them why these came to be. the school system teaches very little about black history especially…in the suburbs. why do we need black history month? because the other 11 months is all white history with footnotes on other races. Slavery is the root of the racism in America. Slavery didn’t form from racism but racism formed from slavery. it is in the blood of the white man to look down on the black man and see us as a “lesser being”. I believe that the “Willie Lynch Letters” should be mandatory reading prior to graduating from high school in all schools. I didn’t get to read the Lynch letters until I was 30 yrs old…but it completely changed they way I treat, think, and feel about my fellow brothers

    • Justice says

      Why do you demand so much? If you want them to go into depth about History then let’s start by talking about my race, one of which is Native American Indian. I mean, c’mon, there is only so much that can be taught in school and I am not saying to leave slavery out, because that was a very important part of History, but they only have so much time in their classes and there is so much History to cover. And let’s not forget that Racism goes both ways. Examples: My husband is French and Native American Indian but when people look at him they only see a White man, he works in the food industry so he works closely with a lot of Black men and Mexican men, who are always either talking in Spanish about him (hello, you don’t have to speak the language to know when someone is talking about you) or they are making him the odd man out. And with this whole Sterling case on TV, this man is definitely an Idiot and everyone is coming out saying he should lose his job, and rightfully so, but then you get Snoop Dog coming out and saying “You red necked, white trash racist” ummm, hello, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?
      I agree that racism is still here all around us, but it affects everyone of all colors and until we realize that it is not just toward the black man, then it will never be resolved. As for me and my family, we are Mexican, Native American Indian, French, Irish, Black, Filipino and Guamanian, and since I am so white looking, it was very difficult on my Mexican/Native American Indian mother to go shopping with me in tow and not have someone think she was my babysitter. My Father was even sent a letter to join the KKK, I guess they didn’t know that his wife and kids were of mixed race.

      • LaShawnda S. says

        Justice, I can truly appreciate your comments. I do understand that school can only teach our kids but so much in the time allotted. That’s why it has always been my philosophy that teaching starts at home. If we want our kids to know more about our history, teach them! Don’t rely so heavily on a imperfect school system. Start teaching them at home.

      • Martha says

        Justice, there is a lot of stuff taught in schools that is a lot less important than teaching the lessons about slavery and the genocide of Native American people. These things don’t need to be “taught” only in the sense of what happened, teaching awareness is a whole different way of framing everything, one that comes from humility, and it is desperately needed and way overdue. Look at all the bullying that happens? This is fed from a sense of unquestioned superiority in one’s own self or group….learning the danger of this point of view before it tears our country apart is one of the most important things our country needs to do, if you ask me.

      • Jennifer says

        I said the exact same thing when I saw Snoop ranting and raving. What? It’s ok for him to call someone red neck and white bread because he is mad at what Sterling said! No, it makes him no better than Sterling. People kill me with the foolishness. And yes I am African American. It is okay for us to disrespect our race by using the N word but no one else better use that word. It’s okay for us to say racist words to others but cry injustice when others say racist remarks. Racism is racism no matter who is spewing it!!!!

      • Catherine says

        We look for our young people to care. Unfortunately most of them won’t care or understand it well into their adult years. It’s kind of listening to that old grandpa that used to walk miles in the snow to get to a one room school. We are so far above that it’s just stories. My belief is all history is important. So many of our ancestors were part of this. We how ever (most of us) belong to a new generation. We have many multi racial family members from all over I know I do. We now have many family members that have come out also. We are evolving into one melting pot but there are still very many ignorant people who want their blood lines to stay within their race. All races are racist when thinking like this not jus whites. Growing up as a white girl in a prodminantly black neighbor hood I’ve seen my share. But it’s made me who I am today. My mother even married a white man from the south who was racist. I had to move I couldn’t deal with it. From this my kids are not racist and we have mexican, Tongon, Philipno, Samoans, Nicaraguan, salvadoranin, Portuguese, German, you should see our family gatherings. Yes there are people who don’t accept it. But we carry our heads high and have fun as a family. That’s how you beat racism.

        We can all help end racism. Since we have so many nationalities in America how about two weeks on every history to continue to get it out to our children. Not just what we did to the Indians but how we’ve made it up to them and how we fund them currently. Sprinkle some current events in with that history to see how far we’ve come and how far we need to go. Schools get set with one curriculum and seem to stay on that time period. History is always changing.

    • S. W. says

      Mr. Greene,
      You lost me at “it is in the blood of the white man to look down on the black man and see us as a ‘lesser being.'” The racial superiority complex is not a genetic predisposition but rather one that is learned from home. This kind of thinking, in which you incorrectly assume that white people think less of their black peers because of their genes, is just one of many things that perpetuates the cycle of racism. By judging white people because of their skin color, you yourself are a practicing racist and therefore cannot claim to be any better than the very people you have accused of looking down on their black peers.

    • says

      I agree with there needing to be more appropriate education (NOT just stereotypes on daytime TV), especially within the school system.
      However, I disagree with slavery being the root of racism. Racism exists all over the world, and not just between black and white peoples. Of course, slavery is worldwide and has been around since as long as humankind, so I may stand corrected. Still, logic dictates– to me at least– that while hand-in-hand, slavery (of any kind) cannot explain ALL of racism, everywhere in the world and for every time period.
      Also, I disagree with the genetic predisposition theory you offer. People have free will. We are made up of both “Nurture” AND “Nature”.
      Have a good day, sir.

    • Diane Greene says

      “it is in the blood of the white man to look down on the black man and see us as a “lesser being”” I’m sorry but I completely disagree with this statement. There is nothing “in the blood” about it. I, as a child of nine, would get into shouting matches with my racist uncle about his language and attitude. I, as a child, knew that skin color is just another part of a person. He, as a grown man, had been taught and believed otherwise. We have the same blood in our veins and we see things very differently. Limiting anyone by saying that beliefs and prejudices are in the blood is choosing to see the world as unchangeable. And it is not. We are not there yet, but we’re getting closer with every generation. Racism isn’t just about skin color either. I’m the descendant of gypsies and carnies and Irish folk. Maybe that is all seen as “white” now, but go a little ways back in American history, and it was “Don’t let them set up camp,” and “Irish need not apply.” It’s better now, at least in America, but overseas there is still a lot of discord and mistrust. I started to ramble a bit, but my point is that it is about individuals making choices. Even those taught wrong can educate themselves and recognize their faults and begin to make right choices. We cannot just dismiss personal responsibility to make ourselves better by saying that it’s in the blood. End rant.

  9. William Powell says

    Really enjoyed reading this. A great deal has been said about race over the last few days. I know good triumphs over evil, but it’s startling to see how racism is so strongly financed, and so strongly supported. These last few days have proven that even in 2014, people are still willing to fight and die for it (Bundy), and protect and finance its culture no matter what (Sterling).

  10. Danielle Mann says

    I was pleasantly surprised to find the school consideration addressed here. My children are in gifted classes but have attended under-resourced, under-supported majority black schools in our area. They are bused to flourishing schools across town for gifted/advanced technology-led classes. I could have them removed from the home school that they attend and place them in the more flourishing schools, as they would receive a waiver and be eagerly welcomed, but I am mindful of how my eldest daughter was treated in the past as one of three brown faces in her whole school. “Why is your skin the color of poo poo? Do you smell like poo poo? I don’t want to touch you, you look dirty.” I am reluctant to subject my other children to being the only brown faces so soon, to being ostracized. That experience will come soon enough in their lives. I also know that they are being taught well where they are, even though teachers scrounge for resources and parents have little extra money and know virtually zero business contacts who would partner with the school. Many of the academically advanced children in zone have been wooed away to other, out of zone schools, and I do not fault the parents at all; you want the best for your children at all times. And yet, I cannot help but to think, if all the smart children are concentrated at one or two schools, who is left to help bring the testing scores up at other schools? Those schools soon have failing grades and are shuttered.
    Thank you for bringing the subject up. The article is one that makes us think. Well done.

  11. Go Lucky Ducky says

    The school thing is very relevant. Predominately black schools are severely underfunded. For one year, I attended an predominately black school. The struggle was real! The books where very old, some donated from other schools out of town. And there where so few, we couldn’t take them home with us. There was only enough for a classroom where some of us had to share a book with a partner.
    There where NO field trips. Field trips where unheard of at that school. The computer labs consisted of 10 really old computers that no student was actually allowed to use. Teachers would have to request the TV in Advance if they wanted their class to watch an education tape.
    The teachers gave up on us. The classes where rowdy, when the teacher turned their backs, they would get objects thrown at them. Teachers where cussed at, spat on, beat on. I will never forget about a teacher who had severe asthma. One day before class, the class clown poured his cologne all over her desk. When the Teacher walked in, she just broke down and cried. Left the classroom wheezing. The entire class hysterically laughing at her pain. She never returned to the school.
    And then, I moved back to a military neighborhood, where the neighborhood, located within the district of a predominately black school that was only 5 minutes away, would get bused 30+ minutes away to the best school in the districts and was predominately white.
    I could once again bring home my assigned study material. If I lost my $100 text book or my $125 Texas Calculator (which I did multiple times) They would give me a replacement, and only asked for me to return the lost material if they where ever found. There was 3 computer labs, the main one being massive, and student could go in as they please to them for studying or for goofing off.
    There was at least 4 field trips that I could attend every year, and to beautiful places. I will never forget how my class got to ride a patoon boat out into the ocean and caught several puffer fish.
    And of coarse we had big beautiful basket ball gyms, gymnastic area. Huge football field, several soccer fields, baseball fields. An actual Gym open to all students after school. (this is highschool by the way)
    In just two consecutive years, I experienced night and day. It really opened my eyes to a real issue for the African American community that I never knew existed, Being an African American who always lived in military neighborhoods, I would have never known.
    My advice to this family, I know there is a broken system with how funds get distributed in public schools. But if you simply want the best for your adopted son, send him to the best school you can afford to live near. No one will blame you if you do. You may think you are doing him good by sending him to a school where every student looks like him, but he will still be very different. Kids in underfunded schools come from rough, broken backgrounds, and will eat your son alive because he comes from a family who has a mommy and daddy who loves him. He will sound different, walk different, and smile differently. They will accuse him of being better than them, and will make it their daily mission to strip away any morsel of happiness you son brings to school with him.
    So while you enroll your son into a school that will most likely be predominately white, we can still fight to change how schools are funded on the grand scale.

    • Sunny says

      So insightful. Thanks for sharing. I hope they’re listening, because you’re 100% correct.

    • A Student says

      I REALLY do hope that the parents read your comment and truly consider it. Your message is exactly what I was thinking of when I read the original post. I am black and go to a major university and I know for a fact that if my parents had sent me to a school that was not funded as well as the one I went to, I most likely would not have made it here. No matter where they send their son, he will be seen as different for sure; however, education is important and if he gets older and decides he’d rather go to a school where the children look like him, then maybe they should enroll him, but by enrolling him to a school that has less funding and may have children from more rough backgrounds than he will ever know, may hurt him and your whole family on a deeper level.

      • says

        Thanks for all the comments about school. We have made a decision now. We went with the best school that we could put him in (we technically make enough money to put him in a top private school, but decided that was not consistent with the “simple” life that we feel called to). He will be going to a liberal arts based charter school that we feel pretty confident about. He will be part of a school that is about 13% black with about 23% minorities of all ethnicities. We are going to make sure he gets the best shot at success and do our best through our own teaching and joining black friends to help him with awareness of his own racial identity.

    • Jennifer says

      Bravo!!! The statement you are a priduct of your environment” is very real people. My child has told me that she absolutely does not want to go to the high school we are zoned for because in her words, “it is ghetto!” Her class took a class trip to the high school and she said students were loud, roudy, smoking, cursing, and the young ladies wore clothes that should never be worn in school. And yes we are African American. So we are considering moving from our subdivision so she doesn’t have to go to that school. I want her to have the best chances in life.

  12. marjokaye says

    I’m doing this on my phone, so forgive my auto correct errors. This is an interesting article that says one thing that really stood out to me. Ask your neighbor! If you don’t feel comfortable about speaking of race it is usually because you aren’t really friends with the person or because you ate uncomfortable with your own prejudice thoughts. Be real with yourself. We all have them. As for the school question, I think it’s interesting no one mentions the flip side of things. I went to one of the best high schools in Michigan. Yes it was predominately white and yes, I got ignorant comments made here and there, but very few. What blew my mind was coming home to my neighborhood and having other black people tell me “you talk like a white girl” … really? I speak well. So did my grandmother that was also black, born in 1910 in Mississippi. I would follow with “why are you believing your own stereotype? ” Strange enough the bad experiences I had at my school just made me ready for a world that isn’t 98% black (I’m from Detroit) and that is an experience every black person needs to be exposed to. I’ve learned a lot from those experiences and would not trade them in for anything! Send your children where they will get the best chance possible, but arm them with the knowledge of who they are. As for the comment saying being color blind is like saying you don’t see part of me (paraphrasing) I completely agree. Being black in America means you will most likely have an entirely different set of experiences that shape who you are. Saying you don’t see color can stop a very necessary conversation. For example, I don’t know what is like to be a man, but I could ask my dad for his insights and vice versa. If I didn’t see sex, maybe I wouldn’t ask the conversion. Furthermore, not seeing color is not an option unless you’re blind. I hate it when people say they don’t see color because it simply sounds silly. It is more valuable and more powerful to admit that you do see it and decide what that means for you. I just wish when it came to race EVERYONE would be more honest with themselves. Getting of my soapbox now…

  13. Lori says

    Love the idea of de-centering our experience. Intentionally moving to the margins is important justice work.

  14. Danette says

    I’ve not read all the comments so I may be repeating something that’s already been said. I think that blacks may treat you differently when they see you with your son because they know you’re okay. Not that we assume that every white person is racist, but that we know there’s that possibility.

    One of my former classmates is similar to you. He’s a man of God that is Caucasian and he and his wife adopted inter-racially. He says his son has been a bridge as well.

  15. says

    I want to thank you for THESE powerful. You have renewed my faith. I was giving up on God I mean after all I live in a Poverty stricken community where Poly Traumautic Stress Disorders are normalcy and it is like we are forgotten. God Bless Your Words and shedding light on injustice, hatred, education malpractice, and prejudices that are ALL unwarranted!

  16. says

    Your son is adorable!
    You summed the dilemma faced by people of color having to choose between well-funded schools with little diversity vs. underfunded schools with more support of their identity in a succinct, easy-to-understand, and truthful manner. This is why I support school choice that is NOT dependent on geographic location. School choice via public charter schools may not be a perfect system, but it beats what we have now! My children (of color) attend a charter school that is high in academics and high in diversity.

  17. Frank says

    I would like to suggest to all of you to please go to youtube ands look-up Dr. Claud Anderson. I think that Dr. Anderson could really shed some light on what racism is and is not!!!!

  18. says

    Great article. Great comments.
    I adopted a wonderful child from Ethiopia six years ago. I am African American and must admit that I am grateful that I do not face the same scrutiny, questions and sometimes disdain as the trans-racial families I am friends with.

    Toni

  19. says

    I lived in public housing and attended a school in a white neighborhood. We dealt with being bused home while white children were allowed to finish the school day in class. One of my best teachers was a white lady, two of my worst were a black lady and also another white female. Today as a 55 year old mother, I have learned that although we encounter various personalities, we must make choices about who we will be for ourselves. Revenge belongs to God, and kindness can change a heart that is ignorant. Each day is a chance to make my world better, and so I try to do that, for myself and my family. Ignorance comes in all colors and it can be most devestating when it’s closer to home.

  20. Pastor John says

    There will always be racism as long as we call friends “black friends” and not just “friends”.

    • Cynthia Sheffield says

      Pastor John, thanks for the insight. I was thinking the same thing. It’s amazing how we as people are so fast to attack someone of a different race regarding racism but turn our heads when we attack our own with racism. I really enjoyed reading this article. I also want to applaud you and your husband for adopting a child that needed parents. Yes, we all come from different backgrounds and races but if we are truly Christlike none of that matters. I attended a private Christian school that had people from all races and backgrounds and no one race was celebrated over another. We were all equally the same. I am not saying to forget your history but I am saying that my history isn’t any more important than someone else history; which means that I should take the time to learn about other cultures and backgrounds as well. There is a song that I learned as a child, and I am very sure that many know it. “Jesus loves the little children of the world”. Please pay attention to those words. As a child I was taught that we are all the same in God’s eyes; he doesn’t care if we are red, yellow, black or white and that is the concept that we should be teaching our children today. Just food for thought.

  21. says

    Thanks for earnestly sharing your “Experience”. I totally respect the way you approached this very delicate subject, racism. This article is an excellent way to start a meaningful conversation about healing hearts and minds from the ills of racism. I totally agree with your statement in which you wrote . . . “In the end, nothing will replace an emotional connection with the real suffering of our neighbors of color. You only get that through relationship.” . . . We all live here together, wether we like it or not. So, we have to ” … learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ~ MLK

    My point to ponder is base on Rev. Jon Robinson’s statement which rarely gets attention regarding privilege. “Privilege not only causes white people to miss instances of racism but it causes them to think they get to set the terms or parameters for what constitutes racism as well.” I’ve read a variety of dictionaries regarding racism, all have different definitions for “color blind” and “racial prejudice”. This variance in definitions shows the fragmented views on how we as a country think about race relations, furthering the divide. I happen to like Webster’s online version of these definitions:

    color blind: treating people of different skin colors equally : not affected by racial prejudice
    racial prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

    Our various racial and cultural experiences are the source of our country’s greatness, giving us the ability to rise and overcome difficult problems. America has some of the most difficult and subtle social issues in the world.

  22. Ron McGee says

    All I can say is God bless you and your family, thanks for bringing light to this subject. My family has biracial tries as well, have dealt with people looking and wondering, if and how are they related. The 21st century has brought some changes, but not enough. Again thank you and my God continue to bless all of you.

  23. says

    On people seeing my race, Seeing me as a Black man:
    I say yes! see my color! I’m Black and there is a rich and dynamic history to my background, but don’t see as a group, I’m an individual. My life experiences are unique to me, which makes me function a combination of what I think about, how pain, and racism affects me. These things affect indiviuals differently, I have been picked by the police for doing nothing wrong, just waiting on the bus to go home. There was a robbery near by committed by two black men, so my friend and I found ourselves in the back of a patty wagon in Pittsburgh. My belief was that I did nothing wrong, my friend began to cry and assume we were going to jail. We did not go to jail. I shrugged it off as a bad experience. My friend was deeply affected, he became nervous every time police came around and sometimes suggested we should run. I refuse to be shaken, I refuse to run or hide for no reason. Yes, Black people are picked up fro being in the wrong place (Bus Stop) at the wrong time. I have other instances that I have been harassed, but I’m a fighter, head up, working hard concentrating on the good. Yes, I expect to be harassed again, but I will keep believing that the just will be declared innocent!

  24. Kayla Baltazar says

    I agree and disagree with several comments. I would first like to say that I am color blind as a Product of My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The world is deeply rooted in color/racism because we are of the world and in the world; however we as a civilized people who need to move on. I am Creole: African American whose complexion is Latte, my hair is natural and curly, I grew up in southwestern Louisiana and was raised Catholic, and lastly, I speak French and Spanish. I just say when God created me, he took the time and blessed me to be very diverse. When people see me, the are confused because they want to classify me. All you need to know is that I am a child of God, but if you want to know what box I check its Black/African American. Oh, by the way, I am college educated, talented, trilingual, and most importantly I will pray you get over your racism before your day of judgement. Racism is alive, but we need to take the high road. These are just my thoughts.

  25. Andrea says

    I enjoyed the story, especially the comment concerning understanding racism from reading about it and experiencing it not being the same. My history, as an Black Afrikan American is important to me and with it my self esteem and the self esteem of “every” Black Afrikan person I come in contact with. I shared something with several 8th graders on Friday about Fairy Tales and what they do to the self esteem of Black Afrikan American children. The author is Fred Crump, and before you put your foot in it, I bought my youngest child, I have two, the whole series of his Fairy Tales, “Afrotina and the three Bears,” is our favorite. I combat racism by building self-esteem and while you may not think that children’s stories have any bearing, tell me who are the heroes of Black Afrikan children starting at 2 years old? I have friends who are angry because they had no idea of the true history of our people and found out at 30, 40 or 50, that things are not, what we’ve been fed. If you knew how difficult it is to get boys to read imagine how that is for Black Afrikan boys, on Friday I had 7 searching the internet for an hour, engrossed in Fred Crump, I walk the classroom, I could see it.

  26. says

    As a white male in America I know that I do come from a position of power. My great grandfather could have owned slaves. Another person’s great grandfather could have been a slave. My grandfather owned and worked a farm. Another person’s grandfather may not have been legally own land. My parents went to the best public schools in the county. Other people’s parents went to the other public schools that were separate and definitely not equal. I got new text books, new playgrounds, and new schools. I have a friend who never got a new text book until she went to college. We drove our station wagons wherever we could afford for family vacations. My friends routed their vacations around black colleges so they would be sure to have usable restrooms, restaurants, and hotels.

    Maybe in another 50 years if we keep listening to each other we can have a society where people are treated simply as people.

    • Joan says

      “Maybe in another 50 years if we keep listening to each other we can have a society where people are treated simply as people. “. I have enjoyed reading all the respectful and insightful posts here, but I think that is the wisest and best statement of all. It certainly is my wish.
      I am European-American, my ex-husband is African-American, and our son is a beautiful mix of ethnicities and races. Ironically, he has classic Autism so he demonstrates no understanding of color, race, nationality, class, etc. If anyone is colorblind, he is! I know where my ancestors came from, and I know what people see when they see the outside of me. But when they see the inside of me, I hope they see the race with which I identify. When I am required to check a box, I check “Other”, and write in “Human”.

  27. gigglesnkisses says

    Thanks for this insightful post. Racism is alive and running rampant in this country, so nice to see someone from another race who can now relate. I placed a post on my blog on racism a few days ago, please stop by: http://bit.ly/1n8sogJ

  28. Will says

    If you want to make a positive and productive contribution to eliminate racism report those that would poison people of color, by increasing the toxins, viruses and bacteria with which we are being bombarded in an attempt to sicken and kill us off. Thanks
    And by the way I didn’t get the impression the writer really understands racism. He is more aware but understand? No.

  29. Delanda says

    Nice to read an intelligent exchange of ideas without a bunch of personal attacks!

  30. Karen Stanton says

    I understand the term racism, but even that term, i don’t like. As far as i am concerned, are all part of the same race…the HUMAN RACE!!

  31. Sterling says

    This was a great read. This article displayed a great deal of empathy; and honestly more people should do that. This is the greatest country on earth, imagine how much better we would be if everyone put yourself in the shoes of someone else preferably someone of another race. The fact that you felt compelled to let the world in on your experience shows that you are a true Christian. We are all equal in God’s eyes so we should act as such. This has been going on for too long and something has to give. I am an African American and day by day I have to take that in consideration. Because of my upbringing in the Christian community I choose not to act in violence this is a heavy cross to bare but when I read stuff like this it gives me hope.

  32. Mrs.G.P.Poole says

    So glad to hear J.Gibbs perspective and hope that more people in the majority culture here in the USA could understand and accept these facts of life in America. My hope for our future American society is to stop classifying our citizens by race and identity us all as Americans of the human race with cultures we can all celebrate 🌍

  33. jamerahsdad@yahoo.com says

    it`s ok for people to say they don’t see color. put you have to see color to know who a person is you just have to choice not to respond to there color in a negative way.

  34. Theron says

    A tiger with out his teeth is still a tiger and a racist is still a racist regardless of their race. Reading these post have made me aware of my imperfections as a man I am or have been guilty of racism myself and hadn’t even noticed it. I’ve used phrases such as my white friends, Mexican cousin’, my native american relatives etc… etc… and had not once thought about how it sounds because that has been a part of every day society. We as a whole need to look at our own reflections and see the finger we point at others. I’ve walked into Asian and Arab ran convenient marts with disdain for them no real reason why just things that I’ve over heard my elders and my peers say and I’ve never given myself a chance to know them. As for me this day fourth I set a goal to embrace my brothers and sisters regardless of what race nation creed or religion they practice. To get to know the individual that is before me without stereotyping them or classifying them on a whole you are either going to be family or friends period. Thanks

  35. valeree Robertson says

    I have been trying to say what was said in this article all my life to people and have been met not too warmly. Race Card an Race Baiting is often used when I try to explain how said it is to call black people lazy and don’t want to work. I wish this people could come with me to try to apply for a job and see after the interview what happens, if you get that far. How they are treated on the job, if lucky enough to get one (discounted and undermined) and how less is offered because less is specter in the job setting. Or the opposite, overbear one with work to show one as incompetent. I won’t count those that move their purses, white kids stare when in a restaurant and a black person is there, being turned down for housing, jobs, bank loans. Having to go to check cashing places to cash checks because of an overdraft that is forgiven in white america with a clause in the banking system. APR is advertised on television as zero percent for those who buy, but we know that does not mean black people. They pay 16 to 25 percent.This has been proven through numerous reports written and funded by the govt and white america. Ahhh and the prison system, (I refer you to a book called the New Jim Crow) written by a wonderful author. The prison is the 21st system slavery for profit business. When you get out, there is no vote, housing, job, etc., even more intentional bigotry than before. You may say “stay out of jail.” It’s set up that blacks be stopped, arrested, convicted and put in jails and prisons for profit. This has also been proven. One judge for sure has been accused of sending black men to jail for kickbacks. The prisons need to stay full right? It’s a job trying to be black in america. One that doesn’t pay. And it’s all day, every day.

    So before you judge, get a black family to talk to and walk in their shoes for a couple days and see if you come back with the same thoughts that I see on some of these other blogs.

    Thank you for saying what you said Jeremiah Gibbs. And thank you for hearing and seeing for yourself.

  36. Janice says

    My 3 y.o.son and I live in a duplex at the beginning of the block in MA.
    While getting ready to leave out one afternoon, an old white man had his driver pull over so he could get out the car and yell to us to “go to another neighborhood”. He assumed that we were coming from an open house since there was a real estate sign posted at the beginning of the block (but it was for a house down the street).
    We’re basically the only black family around.
    I fear for my sons future.

  37. says

    So many comments and I have not read them all; although I hope that someone has already made the same or similar comment. The reason we do not have boycotts and other forms of protest at the level of the ”So-Called’ Civil Rights Movement is due to many reasons. Corporate America now uses the internet and Staffing agencies to determine or filter their approach to their sentiments in their biased hiring practices. The applicant provides the direct reference of their race or the internet provides instant background checks to reveal the demographic information that is used to exclude an applicant. The ugly head of racism is still thriving in education due to the VERY few corrections and/or revelations of the facts of the indigenous people (Indians), African Americans, Polynesian (Hawaiians), Asian, Mid East, Latino, etc., influences and contributions in what we call The USA. That knowledge gap in the arena of great ideological influence, helps to embolden the ignorance that Racism thrives on. SATANIC/SUBTLE!! There are numerous variations the old horrendous laws supported in the past of blatant expressions of discrimination. They now have craftily developed laws and statutes that were specifically designed to MASK the horrid practices, while giving the offenders an opportunity to have a clean record and face to present to the world. ANGEL OF LIGHT!! As much as I am thankful for the level of understanding you have shared; I cannot allow you to wallow in your delusion either. SATAN is STILL working his work and the work of God can only overcome from the individuals perspective as a Born Again Believer. Each and EVERY individual has to submit to the will and rule of God in order to protect themselves from His WRATH (Rom 1:18 et al) It is further an important TRUTH that the author of confusion has worked his greatest work within the ‘So-Called’ Christian Community. The numerous divisions of faith are NOT of GOD and should ALSO bear their share of responsibility. Indeed Jesus did NOT SAY that the COMFORTER would bring VARIATION!! I’ll stop here. I could spend hours writing intricate detail on just this subject. So I will let The Word sum it up ~~ “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Jhn 5:39-40

  38. Rachel says

    First let me say, this was a great article. I am naive when it comes to racism, but I know it exists. I am white, married to a black man and we have 4 bi-racial children. We have experienced racism from both black and white people. Our families, thank God, have been very loving and accepting to each of us. But I do have to agree with the going to a public place and worrying if there is going to be an issue with the color of our skin. Whether it be a white crowd or black crowd, because we are an interracial couple people do not want to see us together. My children go to a school system that is about 25-30% black. My husband went to a school where he and his sister were the only black children in the whole school (grades K-8). He went to a more versatile high school. He is very knowledgeable about black history. His family taught him a lot and he continues to read books to educate himself. We also encourage our children to do the same. We made the decision to live where we do because it is a better school system and they offer several programs in the high school for post-secondary studies. They have a lot of friends, black and white. The only problems they have run into is in sports from other teams, people yelling racial slurs at them because most of the schools they play against are “white schools”. But as my son says it doesn’t bother him and they beat those teams, so that makes him feel better too. We know that we are a “different” family but we embrace that. In everyday life we don’t see each other’s skin color, not the way society does. Obviously we are aware of our color and we have discussions about race occasionally. He’s just my husband and I’m his wife and we have 4 beautiful children…we just happen to all be different colors!

  39. Lisa says

    I’m black, and myself among others don’t get the whole “see me as black” mantra I read in the first few comments. See me as the beautiful black woman I am, yes, but treat me with the respect every person with blood ruining through their veins should be given. Race has nothing to do with that. I don’t live in the past and it’s unfortunate that many people still do, by saying, “Look at my color and remember my history” that’s stupid, move forward. Those voices don’t speak for me.

  40. Cecily says

    Like many African Americans I am a woman born with a mixture of many ethnicities that is a result of slavery and immigration to the U.S. (i.e. Anglo-Saxon (European), Hispanic, American Indian) none of which I am ashamed. I want to say that I appreciate your perspective and am thankful for your honesty and insightfulness. We still live in a world that is numerically dominated by people of color but only honors and upholds those persons who hold the majority of economic wealth and power with dignity, which often are not people of color. Thus, in my opinion, is the reason why racism is still prevalently exists. Even though I was born in the late 60’s after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed I still have endured more than my share of personal experiences with racism beginning in primary school and still continue to this day. Racism is not always done in overt fashion and not germane simply to my Anglo-Saxon brothers and sisters. With the influx of various ethnicities and cultures to our Northern American society many have adopted these same ignorant ideologies of arrogance, superiority and dominance particularly over African Americans without understanding and acquiring the knowledge of racism and slavery endured by the Black man/woman. Often actions of racism are covertly done by a side smirk or glance, a person who crosses the street when they see you coming down the same pathway, silly remarks such as “You’re not like other black people.” or “I am surprised you are so articulate.” As a young child, barely five years old, in the early 70’s I remember fearing for my life as rocks were thrown at my head by a group of White preteen boys on my way home from school. At the time I lived in Northern California where it is difficult to believe racism was even existent. I was hurled with insults such as “N!&&@” all the while fearing for my life. All I could hold onto was my desire to return to the comforts of my home where I was totally accepted and appreciated for just being me. Imagine an innocent five year old girl being chased down the street under these circumstances. It was my first formal introduction to racism and shaped my perspective of the nice, kind world that I assumed I lived into one that I then believed was scary and hateful. Racism, in my opinion, whether in the U.S. or abroad is based on feelings of insecurity and fear. It is a disease caused by ignorance that is cultivated in the home of those who feel truly have deep rooted feelings of inferiority, and, it is so dangerously and unfortunately passed down from generation to generation recklessly. Until the U.S. and others stop pretending that we have reached a level of true acceptance of all others of different nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures and have an open dialogue of its origin and create proactive steps to eradicate these toxic views it will remain blind and never truly rise to the prominence and greatness that it so often boasts of in its Articles and Declaration of one Nation for all.

  41. Trying to be a better person says

    I read the article and read most of these comments. I just want to say that it is not only “colored races” that experience racism. Whites are not the only people that are racist. In fact I know several blacks that are racists against whites and against fellow blacks. I am white and have experienced racism because of it. And not all blacks have to live in constant fear of racism. There are some who have never experienced it. It saddens me that there are places and people that still deal with racism. It hurts me when I deal with it and hurts me for them. Our history does have a past of racism. But do not leave out all of history if you want to look at history. Think about the reasons this country was formed, most were folks that were prosecuted for their religious beliefs or social status, thus fleeing to the “new” country. We cannot forget the past, but instead must move from it, making sure we are better people, all races, to do better than those before us. Same as with your children, my hope would be you want your children to have more and better opportunities than you did, whether because your parents were poor, lacked education, etc. Best we can do it NOT play the race card, see our fellow man as PEOPLE, teach our children better. God bless you all.

  42. says

    Thank you for writing from the spirit. Your experience definitely opens the dialogue between whites and blacks that is long over-due. God bless you and your family

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