Race relationships are better, though there is still plenty of room for improvement.
I don’t live in fear of being lynched, as did many before me, because their courage and deaths changed the law.
But I still live in fear for my boys because racism is alive and well. It has morphed and is now nuanced. What does that mean?
I never receive the benefit of the doubt like my white colleagues. If I did some of the things my white colleagues have done, I would lose my license. People choose to think the worst of me. I don’t get invited to many parties. I constantly have to prove that I have a functioning brain—let alone an intelligent one. At any moment, some uneducated low-life could call my children nigger, and they could end up falsely imprisoned. Sounds trivial, but imagine having those experiences on a chronic basis. How would you feel then?
Now, let’s add the daily, nuanced reminders of my inferior status. I can handle myself, but it takes a toll, in the form of chronic toxic stress, and it hurts deeply. It has just occurred to me that it is taking a toll on my children! (I need to go easier on them.)
Did you know the infant mortality rate for Michelle Obama’s daughters’ children (or rather successful black women) will be more than twice the infant mortality rate for poor, uneducated white females living on welfare (unless our culture of intolerance changes)? That is stunning and speaks to the deleterious effects of the racism on black women.
In our society, there is a common theme: Everything associated with the black culture is bad, and everything associated with the white culture is good and classy. This is victimization of the black culture, stripping us of social capital. Gaining social capital requires not being black!
“Everything bad is black and everything white is right.” BLACK-WHITE23
I hope my friends do not think they are included in this segment about race. I am simply verbalizing the thoughts and feelings of many racist white people, many of whom are very Liberal. Racism is a systemic, institutionalized problem. For many people of color, success and acceptance mean donning a mask that denigrates their culture.
Wearing that mask made me feel guilty speaking to another black person in public (how crazy is that?). If there were three or more of us, the stares made me feel dirty, as if we were planning some criminal activity.
Why do white people feel uncomfortable when three or more black people are in their midst, but at ease with a rowdy bunch of profane, white teenagers? White teenagers don’t get the stares or the clenching of handbags, nor do I see fear in the eyes of white passerbys. I guess that is white privilege!