Thursday, September 11, 2014

More ranting about white privilege

I rarely discuss anything of substance on Facebook.  It really has not been my experience that this is a forum for anything other than sort of brief connections.  Sharing a favorite photo--yup, share a micro re-cap of a book or experience--yup.  Air out that one is a liberal who is heavily invested in a variety of social action issues?  Um, not so much!

But this week my brother in law posted something awful about the situation in Ferguson MO.  I rarely respond to his posts as he is so narrow minded  conservative that we see eye to eye on nothing except our mutual love of family.

I will be quiet about many things, But I can't be quiet when someone I love says that this is all blown out of proportion and that the person who was shot was a bad person, ergo they should die.  I wrote that my children have been followed in stores when they were separated from me. I wrote about a memorable incident when Rob was about 9 and Chet was about 19 when they were accused to stealing from a gift shop.  They left the store because I was holding the items they had wanted to buy.  Instead of cashing me out, she had run after them screaming that they needed to "pay for their things." It was my first racism in the open type of experience.  Up here in the Northeast I find people tend to be less open about it. It exists, it is just usually less blatent.

BIL responded that he was sorry that happened but that didn't mean my kids were going to be targeted as adults and killed.  No. It doesn't. but it is a symptom of a pattern of injustice and inequality.  The white kids who left the gift shop were not run after and hollered at.  Only the 2 kids of color. 

The thing is, if one has not experienced it, I guess it is easy to dismiss. To see it as an isolated instance, not a symptom of something that is wrong. Something we need to fix,because I very much believe that this is fixable. But we need to understand that cute little black boys who love to skateboard grow up into handsome black men. Who still like to skateboard incidently, but are now suddenly kicked out of the area you let them skate at when they were little and cute.   The area in question is not posted for no skateboarding. The kids were not making noise or destroying anything.  I truly believe it was that suddenly, they were not "little" and there is a cultural perception of threat when kids of color become young men. 

We need to understand that hoodies don't mean thugs. And just as my BIL would want me to believe that all drummers in heavy metal bands are not druggie losers (which he most definately is not) we need to see people not stereotypes.  When we do that, more mamas may worry less about their sons coming home at night.

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