Of course I have to talk about this. Race is such a hot button issue that often times it gets difficult to even get through a conversation about it. Luckily for me, I have my own blog and I get to say whatever I want without being interrupted or talked over. Many people, if not all, should know by now that I am mixed. My mother is Italian and Irish and my father is fully Jamaican. Growing up, race was not talked about or as controversial as it has grown to become. I had a few instances where I noticed people acting odd towards me but as a child you don’t pay that kind of behavior any mind. However, the older I get the more I find myself needing to “check” some of the ignorance that exists among my peers, and sometimes elders.
My mother is white and my father is black. Simply put, I believe I have the best of both worlds. I was not raised in the most ideal households or family, but being from both of these racially segregated groups causes me to have a very rich outlook on life. My family is not the “typical” stereotype that people normally have about blacks and whites. My white family does not own a home, in a gated community, have college degrees and hold a membership at the country club. My white family lives in the hood, they may or may not participate in illegal things, and the only club they’ve been in are the ones downtown. My black family goes to church every Sunday, enrolls their children in private elementary schools, and have a lineage of college graduates. The stereotypes for whites and blacks are so reversed in my family. I don’t see my family as stereotypes, I literally just see them as my family.
I love both sides equally, and I appreciate them even more because they defy what it means to be white/black in America today. Society has forced themselves to think only one way: Everyone is against African Americans. Whites are the privileged class of society. End of story. Sorry to break it to you, but that is NOT true. Yes, many cases have supported this theory, but I have witnessed and played roles in cases where this just doesn’t hold true.
Last semester I met this one guy at school through mutual friends and the first day I met him he left a bad taste in my mouth. We were having an open discussion and he said, “All white people are racist and I don’t care who you are, that’s what I know.” Instantly my mood changed. What started as an open, intellectual conversation ended almost in an argument. I felt completely disrespected. I am white. I approached him and let him know I didn’t appreciate that comment and that he was wrong. My entire family is white and they’re not racist so I know that your statement is false. I never let these kinds of things agitate me, but this time was different. I could not just let it go. He said to me, “Well then your white family is racist except the ones that have kids by black men.” You know when you get so mad you can feel your skin getting hot and the tears forming? I felt like I was going to explode in that dorm room. I gathered myself, and left. My first resolve when placed in situations like these is to just remove myself. I’ve learned that may be the best idea for me, but not so much for the other person. If I leave and don’t give my argument, my side of the story will never be heard. Being heard is more important to me than being calm. Over the years, I have decided to stay and speak up. I don’t like to tell people what to think, but I like to change the way they think. You shouldn’t categorize all of a race because of one bad experience. Or, don’t categorize all men because one of your boyfriends did you dirty. General statements really kill me stg.
Speaking of changing the way you think, I like to pick people’s brains and figure out the reasoning behind the things they do. It’s not a malicious thing, it’s honestly just me being nosey but sometimes I genuinely care. I have this friend who decided to change his lifestyle and eating habits this year. He is practicing veganism and of course, I had to ask him why. We had this super long discussion about why he chose to become a vegan, what it means to him, and how he thinks it’s going. What started out as a simple conversation turned into a heated debate. It became a race thing if you haven’t guessed already. I get into those details in another post because that conversation actually did spark a few things in my mind. It wasn’t all bad.
As I was talking to my friend, he had a girl with him. She decided to come in the room where I was and hop into the discussion for whatever reason. And yes, I am being shady because she was not invited and even when she added her 2 cents, I was not enthused. I was explaining how my background gives me an advantage when it comes to addressing racial issues and she cut me off and said to me that doesn’t mean anything. God must’ve sat down beside her because like really sis?
When I say I have a rich outlook on life, I mean that I have personal experiences that not many people get to have. My mother is white, therefore her entire family is white. My father is black and I also get that perspective as well. Most people come from all one race and are raised and swayed to think a certain way. There are some of my very own family members who hate black people. To this day I will never know why. Maybe they were just raised to think that, or maybe they’ve gone through things and this is how they truly feel. Either way, they are my family and regardless if I agree or not, I still love them the same. I have family members who look down on my mother for having children with non-white men and having these mixed kids. I hear stories about my mother’s grandmother and how great she was and a joy to be around but the only memories I have of her are not pleasant. I don’t remember her speaking to me or hugging me. I remember her playing with my white cousins but there was almost no interaction between her and my siblings. My own blood. Yes, it used to make me feel bad, as if I was different from everybody else. Growing up, my parents raised me to see color, but not to judge based on color. Yes, I was different than my white cousins, but I loved them the same. And this is what I mean by rich outlook.
Fast forward a few years. I have an uncle who went through a rough time a few years back. He was cheating, surprise surprise, and he and my aunt ended up splitting up. The same woman he was cheating with is the woman he is with today. Yall have to excuse me, I’m not trying to be shady but I have to paint the entire picture for you guys. Anyway, turns out she is a strong believer and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. That’s great, I don’t discredit her or anything for that. Well, she rubbed off on my uncle and overnight, my uncle has turned into this “Pro-black, anti-white” activist. I am an avid believer in standing up for what you believe no matter the cost, however, there are instances when I just don’t understand. For example, at least once a day they both make post on Facebook talking about how much they hate all white people, how they would never date outside of their race, how they just can’t stand to be around white people. I have to stop and check my skin color every time I read their posts. Like, excuse me did you forget your nieces and nephews fall into the categories you are bashing?? I think people really are so dumb that they don’t even take into account all the different interpretations their words will get. I will never understand why you have to be anti something in order to be pro another. Like I love steak but I’m not going to downplay chicken. That’s corny to me. If your argument can’t stand on it’s own, get a new one.
A friend once told me, “It’s not about what you mean, it’s about how they take it.” I’ve lived by this since the day I heard it. You may feel however you want to feel, you are given that right. And I’m not the type of person to tell you what to think and I won’t even try. You shouldn’t bite your tongue necessarily, but you should be mindful of how those who you “love” are going to react. It’s just common courtesy, at least that’s what I thought. You may not have intended to hurt me, but you did so now what?
It’s almost funny how growing up I never seen clear signs of racism and blatant disrespect in regards to my skin color. The older I get, the more and more I am exposed to ignorance and it just blows my mind especially because it comes from so close within.
People need to start thinking more and changing the way they think. Be open minded and think for yourself. Don’t just take the first thing you hear and run with it. If I listened to everything my mother has ever told me in life, I wouldn’t be as far as I am. I value her opinion but what works for her may not work for me. What another person thinks may not be what I think and I am okay with it.