DebbieDoesLife

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Taking A Hard Look

You know I can go from talking about my aunt on her deathbed (she died yesterday - I will blog about that tomorrow), to birds' getting it on, to now a touchy subject.

While I was peddling away on the recumbent bike at the work out room yesterday, I was flipping through my Newsweek. I love the bike, I am able to sweat AND read at the same time. Oh, and listen to my MP3 player and my new download of Motley Crue's Home Sweet Home. Tommy Lee is hot, hot, hot, but I digress.

  • THIS ARTICLE caught my attention. Then I had to ask myself. Had I ever done this before?? Hey, I saw the movie Crash, so I know we are ALL racist to a certain extent. We can't help ourselves. I think its human nature to categorize things. This can include people.

  • For those of you who are too lazy to click and read let me summarize: Black woman doctor is asked repeatedly by people of all races where the "real" doctor is or they don't believe she is the doctor.

    I grew up in a home where the N-word was not allowed. In fact, the one time I tried it out (I was little and I didn't really understand what it meant, cut me some slack dammit!) my mother slapped me across the face. And no, she wasn't taken away by CPS, back then you could do that and it was called discipline. I don't hold a grudge. My fingers itch many times when my children smart off....again, I digress.

    I grew up in a school that had no racial problems. There was only one race in it. White. I decided this whole race issue thing was "made up" by the media. We were all too sophisticated and enlightened for this to occur anymore. Then my husband and I moved to a mid-size town in Louisiana. When we saw the KKK on the open access channel (the dorks were wearing purple cone hats) we thought it was a joke. We laughed. Then we put our house up for sale to buy a newer, bigger one (with a pool).

    Our next door neighbors were our best friends. They hated to see us leave the neighborhood since we did so much together. But, we weren't going to move that far away and really wanted that pool. To save some money, we listed by owner. A lady called to see the house. She was an attorney and a judge in town. She came over with her son. She made an offer. We accepted. We became persona non grata. Our "best friend" next door called my husband OUT. Tried to actually pick a fight with him. A fist fight. Told him we had lowered his house value by $10K. Told my husband that we weren't his "fucking friends" any longer. Oh, did I tell you? The lady was black.

    We tried logic. "Its against the law to not sell your house to someone based on their skin color". They didn't care.

    "The lady is a judge, an attorney, very professional and nice!" So what. We were very upset and couldn't believe that our friends stopped being our friends and NEVER SPOKE TO US AGAIN after that incident.

    I hope I have never unwittingly been sucked into being even a little racist. I hope I approach ANY person with fresh eyes and an open mind. Okay, I guess I am a little racist but its only to people who are trash. And, trash comes in all colors.

    16 Comments:

    • Wow. I'd like to say that story is unbelievable, but unfortunately, having spent a good chunk of my life in the deep south,(not to mention growing up with a father who is an unapologetic bigot) I know where you're coming from. Hearing people use the word "nigger" as if it were perfectly normal language, seeing people blatantly discriminated against, it makes you believe that racism is alive and well in America.
      It's an eye opening experience and it makes me sick to think that we as a society have not outgrown this kind of behavior. I don't think we ever will.

      By Anonymous TB, at 3/30/2006 3:31 PM  

    • Also, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am to hear about your aunt. It's never easy, even when you're expecting it. I'm thinking of you.

      By Anonymous TB, at 3/30/2006 3:32 PM  

    • I'm so sorry about your aunt, Debbie.

      As for the racism thing, I grew up in a rural/small town. I knew people who were racist, but didn't feel like it was ever a problem where I lived. Not so coincidentally, there just weren't any black people living there. As an adult, I found out that real estate people in our town used that as a marketing tool. It made me feel sick to my stomach...

      By Blogger Crazy MomCat, at 3/30/2006 4:22 PM  

    • I'm so sorry to hear of your Aunt's passing, Debbie. You're in my thoughts.

      I was blown away by your story about your neighbours. Wow. I'm sorry there are people out there who are still so close-minded.

      By Blogger mama_tulip, at 3/30/2006 4:31 PM  

    • May I scream.

      I always look at their nametag. Lots of reasons- I want to see what their name actually IS (it's always weird), I want to see if they are MD, PA-C, or NP, and yesterday I was wondering if the nice black lady making a cast had a neat title. Nope. It just said 'ER tech'. On top of that, if you look at that article, that doctor looks like she's 18. Most people think of doctors as OLDer. Give me a break. It has nothing to do with skin color in my opinion, not for me. Of course, there ARE tons of racists people out there.

      By Anonymous Sharla, at 3/30/2006 5:14 PM  

    • Sorry to hear about your aunt.

      Someone I know well and love...okay it's my mother...still says "black lady lawyer".

      Drives me out of my skull.

      By Blogger wordgirl, at 3/30/2006 8:06 PM  

    • So sorry about your aunt.

      People always make assumptions about strangers. It's human nature to try to impose some sort of order on the world, even if it isn't always fair. I think the best defense is being aware of it and trying to keep that open mind.

      By Blogger Annie, The Evil Queen, at 3/30/2006 10:32 PM  

    • I'm really sorry about your aunt, Debbie. Do you have a picture? Should I save all my nosy questions for tomorrrow?

      (Good post, though!)

      By Blogger Mignon, at 3/30/2006 11:07 PM  

    • So sorry to hear about your aunt.

      I really should see Crash, shouldn't I?

      By Blogger Arabella, at 3/31/2006 8:08 AM  

    • My thoughts (and hugs) are with you on the loss of your aunt!

      As for the racism issue. It's really a two way street. Back when I was young enough to have a large group of friends (hehe) at least half of them were black. They called me "cracker" all the time. They would also tell me how much they hated "whites" even if I was an exception to their rule.

      By Blogger Tink, at 3/31/2006 10:41 AM  

    • You're definitely MUCH better off without friends like that. I grew up in a small town, which wasn't very diverse, but we always went to Toronto when I was a kid, which I think is one of THE most culturally diverse cities in the world. I really love multiculturalism (even if the city I live in right now is pretty white bread), and not just for the amazing array of world cuisine it brings. Racism of any sort was never tolerated in my family.

      I used to live in Windsor and I was really shocked when my then boyfriend (who was from a downriver suburb of Detroit) told me not to get back to I-75 along certain streets because it would involve "going through a black area," or would tell me that his town was a white town but the one right next to it had way lower property values (but the same homes) because it was a "black area." It was a complete shock to me at 24 years old that those things existed, and I still find it pretty frightening.

      By Blogger Heather, at 3/31/2006 10:44 AM  

    • Amen.........trash does come in many colors. Well put. For those who insist on beleiving that the black race is somewhat 'inferior' to the caucasion race...nothing short of ignorance. I wonder how they feel about all the new evidence that proves that we ALL (red, black, white, yellow, brown) decend from a group of black people living in Africa! Hmmm....that should mess with their minds, but being ignorant, they will chose to stay ignorant and ignore the science.

      Ignorance, too, comes in many colors.

      By Anonymous Carol, at 3/31/2006 11:16 AM  

    • I grew up in a pretty diverse, blue-collar town; probably a third of my high-school were black. Thankfully, none of my family were racist, and I had a few black friends, but there was still very much of an "us and them" attitude in my school, among both the blacks and whites. I'm hoping there will be less of that with my daughter's generation.

      By Blogger The Gradual Gardener, at 4/01/2006 3:24 PM  

    • I'm fortunate to live in a pretty mixed neighborhood, which is one of the reasons I chose it when I was house hunting. After I moved in, one of my neighbors told me that I had arrived too late; the neighborhood was "changing," and his implication was clear. I fired back that that was the reason why I moved there and we didn't speak of it again. He moved away about a year later.

      I do have one neighbor who dropped the n-word once to me in conversation, and intimated that he suspected a black person had stolen his bike in the past. I was thunderstruck and said not a word, and now I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't call him out on what he said.

      So sorry to hear about your aunt. I hope going to the funeral is helpful.

      By Blogger Mrs. Harridan, at 4/01/2006 7:39 PM  

    • I'm fortunate to live in a pretty mixed neighborhood, which is one of the reasons I chose it when I was house hunting. After I moved in, one of my neighbors told me that I had arrived too late; the neighborhood was "changing," and his implication was clear. I fired back that that was the reason why I moved there and we didn't speak of it again. He moved away about a year later.

      I do have one neighbor who dropped the n-word once to me in conversation, and intimated that he suspected a black person had stolen his bike in the past. I was thunderstruck and said not a word, and now I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't call him out on what he said.

      So sorry to hear about your aunt. I hope going to the funeral is helpful.

      By Blogger Mrs. Harridan, at 4/01/2006 7:39 PM  

    • I'm fortunate to live in a pretty mixed neighborhood, which is one of the reasons I chose it when I was house hunting. After I moved in, one of my neighbors told me that I had arrived too late; the neighborhood was "changing," and his implication was clear. I fired back that that was the reason why I moved there and we didn't speak of it again. He moved away about a year later.

      I do have one neighbor who dropped the n-word once to me in conversation, and intimated that he suspected a black person had stolen his bike in the past. I was thunderstruck and said not a word, and now I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't call him out on what he said.

      So sorry to hear about your aunt. I hope going to the funeral is helpful.

      By Blogger Mrs. Harridan, at 4/01/2006 7:39 PM  

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