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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Guest post by C. Brenon Day

To whoever is reading this and thinking about knocking on my door:

I go to work at 4 a.m. and need to sleep, or I am working on a painting that needs my full attention.

In the interest of time management, please see the warning category that might apply to you.

Family or friends: Bring sweet tea, chocolate and/or french fries. Call me on my cell.

Republican: Isn’t there a group you need to be suppressing or a book burning that needs organizing?

Democrat: Shouldn’t you be out trying to organize a protest or applying for a job?

Independent: You have Republicans and Democrats knocking on your own door, so why are you on my porch?

Green: You must be high. There is a gas station just down the street. They have Cheetos and Cheerwine. I don’t.

Tea Bag Party: There is a woman thinking about voting on something. Don’t y’all have rules in your manifesto against that? Go check your copy at home.

Religion representatives: Yes, I have found him. We are discussing your future outcome right now, in fact.

Alarm companies: Don’t mind that click; it’s just me turning the safety off. Oh, and if you see the large dog muzzle laying in the yard just leave it. I’ll pick it up on the way to my court-ordered anger-management meeting.

Yard care services: Question for you: If I bury a dismembered body in the yard, do I need to fertilize next year or will that be enough?

Cleaning supply or housekeeping care services: I know how to get blood out of carpet and get rid of DNA and fingerprints off of most surfaces, so I’m good, thanks!

All others: Just don’t.

Have a great day!


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Dear White People,

I have something to say and I hope you will listen to me as I am (mostly) one of you:

We have to stop thinking that our experience as white people is the same experience that people of other colors have.

Let me tell you a little about myself beyond my skin shade:

I once tried to make a fellow I was dating jealous by stating that Eddie (yes, the Eddie to whom I am now married) had asked me out. He said, “I don’t know what you want with that spic.”

I was shocked. I was shocked for the obvious reason (“What did you say?!?”) but also shocked because I realized for the first time that Eddie is Hispanic.

You may roll your eyes, but it is true. I never noticed. The last name should have been a dead giveaway, but he was just Eddie to me.

I went to a public elementary school in a mostly black neighborhood. My public high school was racially mixed. My parents taught me, in the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr., to judge someone not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

So, to me, if someone is a complete ass, it is because he/she is an ass, not because his/her skin is brown, black, white, red, light brown, taupe, ecru or whatever.

However, that does not mean I spent my life as an understanding, evolved, enlightened (mostly) white person. I thought, as many of you do and as this writer did, that the world is a fair, equal place. That hard work will get you where you want and need to go. That people are inherently decent.

I was wrong.

So wrong.

I was a broadcast journalist for many years. One of my news friends, a beautiful black woman, told me once that clerks watched her in stores because they were afraid she was going to shoplift. I sighed and said, “Oh, it isn’t at all because you are gorgeous and they’ve seen you on TV or anything!”

I did not understand that this was not a new phenomenon. It didn’t start happening after she started her news career.

She also said clerks wouldn’t touch her hand when they were giving back change. Even though I thought that couldn’t possibly be true, I changed my own behavior just in case. I now put my hands all over people when I give them my money.

These were real experiences for her. Truth be told, I had a hard time believing her simply because I had never had similar experiences. I didn’t have a frame of reference. I didn’t freakin’ get it. White people don’t get it.

Understand this: We white people don’t usually live in fear of the cops. (Unless we have done some Forensic-Files-worthy stuff, that is.) Guess what: Many black people do.

racial-profiling

Along with most of America, I watched in horror as events unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri. The Justice Department now plans to investigate the Ferguson police department. Good.

White people, we do not know what it is like to be black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. We do not understand the experience of non-whites. So we have to stop pretending that our experience is universal. It’s not.

This has to stop. We cannot maintain the status quo. What it has been cannot be what it is or will be.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar makes an interesting point that some of the biggest tensions in America are not about race as much as they are about class.

Maybe he is right.

All I know is that it is impossible not to see difference in color. We just can’t attach judgement to that difference.

Please, fellow white people, understand that we’ve had it made for 400 years. Understand that we need to listen — really listen — when people of other shades talk about their experiences. Understand that we need to make a change.

All men (and women) are created equal, right?

Yours in enlightenment,
Beth

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